Katherine Ahrens, MPH, PhD

KAhrensEntered BURPPE program September 2008
Graduated May 2012

“As a BURPPE trainee, I have been able to collaborate with investigators at the Slone Epidemiology Center using their long-standing case-control study data for my thesis, which has been incredible!”

Brief Biography

Kate graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Harvard University in 1999. After working as a research assistant in various fields, such as marine conservation, climate change ecology, and substance abuse, she received an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She then worked as an epidemiologist for four years for the State of California in the Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Branch and in STD Prevention and Control for the City and County of San Francisco.  She began her doctoral studies in the fall of 2008 and was employed as an analyst for the Slone Epidemiology Center with Dr. Martha Werler during that time.  She graduated in May 2012 and began her post-doctoral fellowship in summer 2012 with Dr. Enrique Schisterman, Epidemiology branch chief and senior investigator at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Division of Epidemiology Statistics and Prevention Research.

Research Interests

Kate’s interests are perinatal and reproductive epidemiology. For her dissertation, she analyzed data from both Slone’s Birth Defects Study (BDS) and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS).  The title of her thesis is:  “Consequences of controlling viral diseases during pregnancy:  antiherpetic medication and influenza vaccination.”

Competitive Awards and Honors

  • Member of the Delta Omega Society, an honorary society for graduate students in public health.
  • Accepted to the National Institutes of Health National Graduate Student Research Conference (NGSRC) in Bethesda, MD, October 2011.
  • Selected for participation at the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)’s Summer Institute in Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology, Val-David, Quebec, Canada, July 2009.

Selected Publications

  • Ahrens K, Lash TL, Louik C, Mitchell AA, Werler MM. Correcting for exposure misclassification using survival analysis with a time-varying exposure. Ann Epidemiol 2012;22:799-806.
  • Werler MM, Ahrens KA, Bosco JLF, Mitchell AA, Anderka MT, Gilboa SM, Holmes LB, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Use of antiepileptic medications in pregnancy in relation to risks of birth defects. Ann Epidemiol 2011;22(11):842-50.
  • Ahrens K, Yazdy M, Mitchell AA, Werler MM.  Folic acid intake and spina bifida in the era of dietary folic acid fortification.  Epidemiology 2011;22(5):731-7.
  • Klausner JD, Ahrens KA.  Health Communication and Surveillance Case Study:  A Healthy Response to Increases in Syphilis—The San Francisco Healthy Penis Campaign. In: M’ikanatha NM, Lynfield R, Van Beneden CA, de Valk H, eds. Infectious Disease Surveillance. 1st ed 2007; 2nd ed 2011.  Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Katz KA, Pillay A, Ahrens K, Kohn RP, Hermanstyne K, Bernstein KT, Ballard RC, Klausner JD. Molecular epidemiology of syphilis—San Francisco, 2004-2007. Sex Transm Dis 2010 Oct; 37(10): 660-3.
  • Gertler S, Ahrens K, Klausner JD. Increased knowledge of safe and appropriate penicillin injection after viewing brief instructional video titled “How to Inject Bicillin LA”. Sex Transm Dis 2009 Mar; 36(3). 9.
  • Zetola NM, Bernstein K, Ahrens K, Marcus JL, Philip S, Nieri G, Jones D, Hare CB, Hsu L, Scheer S, Klausner JD. Using surveillance data to monitor entry into care of newly diagnosed HIV-infected persons: San Francisco, 2006-2007. BMC Public Health 2009 Jan 14;9:17.
  • Scott KC, Philip S, Ahrens K, Kent CK, Klausner JD. High prevalence of gonococcal and chlamydial infection in men who have sex with men with newly diagnosed HIV infection: An opportunity for same-day presumptive treatment. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2008 May 1; 48 (1):109-12.
  • Philip SS, Ahrens K, Shayevich C, de la Roca R, Williams M, Wilson D, Bernstein K,  Klausner JD. Evaluation of a new point-of-care serologic assay for herpes simplex virus type 2 infection. Clin Infect Dis 2008 Nov 15; 47(10):e79-82.
  • Liu AY, Kittredge PV,  Vittinghoff E, Raymond HF, Ahrens K, Matheson T, Hecht J, Klausner JD,  Buchbinder SP. Limited knowledge and use of HIV post- and pre-exposure prophylaxis among gay and bisexual men. J Acqui Immune Defic Syndr 2008 Feb 1; 47(2):241-7.
  • Ahrens K, Kent CK, Kohn RP, Nieri G, Reynolds A, Philip S, Klausner JD.  HIV partner notification outcomes for HIV-infected patients by duration of infection, San Francisco, 2004 to 2006.  J Acqui Immune Defic Syndr 2007 Dec 1; 46(4):479-84
  • Moss N, Harper C, Ahrens K, Scott K, Padian N, Raine T, Klausner JD. Predictors of incident herpes simplex virus type 2 infections in young women at risk for unintended pregnancy in San Francisco.  BioMed Central Infectious Diseases 2007 Sep 26;7:113.
  • Papp J, Ahrens K, Phillips C, Kent CK, Philip S, Klausner JD.  The use and performance of oral-throat rinses to detect pharyngeal Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis infections.  Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis 2007 Nov; 59(3):259-64.
  • Vaudrey J, Raymond H.F., Chen S, Hecht J, Ahrens K, McFarland W. Indicators of use of methamphetamine and other substances among men who have sex with men, San Francisco, 2003-2006.  Drug Alcohol Depend 2007 Sep 6; 90(1):97-100.
  • Strona FV, McCright J, Hjord H, Ahrens K, Tierney S, Shoptaw S, Klausner JD. The acceptability and feasibility of the Positive Reinforcement Opportunity Project, a community-based contingency management methamphetamine treatment program for gay and bisexual men in San Francisco. J Psychoactive Drugs 2006 November; SARC Suppl 3: 377-81.
  • Ahrens K, Kent CK, Montoya JA , Rotblatt H, McCright J, Kerndt P, Klausner JD.  Healthy Penis: San Francisco’s social marketing campaign to increase syphilis testing among gay and bisexual men. PLoS Medicine 2006; 3(12): e474.
  • Ahrens K, Bradbury KJ, Bauer HM, Samuel MC, Gould G, Donatoni G, Higgins C, Kerndt P, Bolan G. Trends in the use of sexually transmitted disease diagnostic technologies in California, 1996-2003.  Sex Transm Dis 2007 July; 34(7):513-8.

Invited Presentations

  • Ahrens K.  Consequences of controlling viral diseases during pregnancy:  antiherpetic medication and influenza vaccination.  Slone Epidemiology Center Brown Bag Seminar Series. May 17, 2012. Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Ahrens K.  Influenza vaccination before and during pregnancy and the risk of preterm birth.  Advanced methods student workshop on bias analysis with Dr. Timothy Lash.  Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research Annual Meeting. June 2011. Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
  • Ahrens K.  Influenza vaccination before and during pregnancy and the risk of preterm birth.  Colby College Mathematics and Statistics Department Spring Colloquium Series.  March 14, 2011.  Waterville, Maine.
  • Ahrens K, Yazdy M, Mitchell AA, Werler MM.  Folic acid intake and spina bifida in the era of dietary folic acid fortification. Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research Annual Meeting. June 2010. Seattle, Washington.
  • Ahrens KA, Werler MM.  Use of antiepileptic medications in pregnancy in relation to risks of birth defects.  National Birth Defects Prevention Study Webinar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. November 13, 2009.

Posters Presented at the Following Conferences

  • Society for Pediatric Perinatal Epidemiologic Research.  June 2012.  Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • National Institutes of Health National Graduate Student Research Conference.  October 2011.  Bethesda, Maryland.
  • International Society for Sexually Transmitted Disease Research.  July 2007.  Seattle, Washington.
  • National Sexually Transmitted Diseases Prevention Conference.  May 2006.  Jacksonville, Florida.

Coursework

  • Modern Epidemiology, Fall 2008
  • Categorical Data Analysis, Fall 2008
  • Logistic Regression and Survival Analysis, Spring 2009
  • Advanced Epidemiology Seminar, Spring 2009
  • Statistical Methods in Epidemiology, Fall 2009
  • Perinatal Epidemiology, Fall 2009
  • Reproductive Epidemiology, Spring 2010
  • Guided Epidemiology Study, Spring 2010