Katherine Ahrens, PhD, MPH

Entered 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 completed her post-doctoral fellowship in summer 2014 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. Dr. Ahrens is currently a Senior Service Fellow with the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC.

Kate’s CV

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 (2015-present)

  • Ahrens KA, Rossen LM, Branum AM. Pregnancy loss history at first parity and risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Annals of Epidemiology, in press.
  • Schisterman EF, Perkins NJ, Mumford SL, Ahrens KA, Mitchell E. Collinearity—a lesson on the importance of model specification. Epidemiology, in press.
  • Ahrens KA, Silver RM, Perkins NJ, Wong L, Galai N, Lesher LL, Faraggi D, Wactawski-Wende J, Townsend JM, Lynch AM, Mumford SL, Schisterman EF. Complications and safety of preconception low-dose aspirin among women with prior pregnancy losses. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2016 Apr: 127(4): 689-698.
  • Ahrens KA, Rossen LM, Simon AE. The relationship between mean leukocyte telomere length and measures of allostatic load in US reproductive aged women, NHANES 1999–2002. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. Epub ahead of print.
  • Simon AE, Ahrens KA, Akinbami LJ. Influenza vaccination among US children with asthma, 2005-2013. Academic Pediatrics. 2016 Jan-Feb;16(1):68-74.
  • Ahrens KA, Rossen LM, Simon AE. Adherence to vitamin D recommendations among U.S. infants aged 0–11 months, NHANES 2009–2012. Clinical Pediatrics. Epub ahead of print.
  • Shimony MK, Mumford SL, Schliep KC, Ahrens KA, Sjaarda LA, Rotman Y, Perkins JN, Pollack AZ, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. The relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and liver enzymes among healthy premenopausal women: a prospective cohort study. European Journal of Nutrition. 2016 Mar; 55(2):569-576
  • Matyas RA, Mumford SL, Schliep KC, Ahrens KA, Sjaarda LA, Perkins NJ, Filiberto AC, Mattison D, Zarek SM, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. Effects of over-the-counter analgesic use on reproductive hormones and ovulation in healthy, premenopausal women. Human Reproduction. 2015 Jul; 30(7):1714-1723.
  • Silver RM, Ahrens KA, Perkins NJ, Wong L, Galai N, Lesher LL, Faraggi D, Wactawski-Wende J, Townsend JM, Lynch AM, Mumford SL, Schisterman EF. Preconception low dose aspirin and pregnancy outcomes: findings from the EAGeR (Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction) randomized trial. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2015 Apr; 124 (4):876-884.
  • Ahrens KA, Cole SR, Westreich D, Platt RW, Schisterman EF. A cautionary note about estimating effect of secondary exposures in cohort studies. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2015 Feb 1; 181 (3):198-203.
  • Schliep KC, Mumford SL, Vladutiu CJ, Ahrens KA, Perkins NJ, Prasad A, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. Perceived stress, reproductive hormones, and ovulatory function among premenopausal women in the BioCycle Study. Epidemiology, 2015 Mar; 26 (2):177-184.
  • Schliep KC, Mumford SL, Ahrens KA, Hotaling JM, Carrell DT, Link M, Hinkle SN, Kissell KA, Porucznik, CA, Peterson CM, Hammoud AO. The effect of male and female body mass index on pregnancy and live birth success after in vitro Fertility and Sterility, 2015 Feb; 103 (2):388-395.

Invited Presentations

  • Ahrens K. Straight from the source: pregnancy data from the National Survey of Family Growth. National Institutes of Health, Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology Research in Progress Conference Series. April, 2016. Bethesda, MD
  • Ahrens K. Using the pregnancy file from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG): opportunities and pitfalls. George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Departmental Seminar. January 2016, Washington DC
  • Ahrens K. Plurality and infant mortality due to external causes in the United States, 2000-2010.  Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research in Progress Seminar.  January 2016, Atlanta, GA
  • Ahrens K. Plurality and infant mortality due to external causes in the United States, 2000-2010. National Center for Health Statistics, Health Disparities Workgroup Seminar. December 2015, Hyattsville, MD
  • Ahrens K. Preconception low dose aspirin and adverse events: findings from the EAGeR (Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction) randomized trial. National Institutes of Health, Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology Research in Progress Conference Series. April 2014, Bethesda, MD
  • Ahrens K. The effect of serum leptin levels on reproductive function. National Institutes of Health, Program in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology Research in Progress Conference Series. July 2013, Bethesda, MD
  • 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 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/Talks Presented at the Following Conferences

  • Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research.  June 2015.  Denver, CO.
  • Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. February 2014. New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research.  June 2013.  Boston, MA
  • Society for Epidemiologic Research.  June 2013.  Boston, MA
  • Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research, June 2012. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research.  June 2011.  Montreal, Quebec.
  • National Institutes of Health National Graduate Student Research Conference.  October 2011.  Bethesda, Maryland.
  • Society for Epidemiologic Research.  June 2011.  Montreal, Quebec.
  • Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research.  June 2010.  Seattle, WA.
  • 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