News Bulletin

February 2019

Director's Message

Mark Cullen, PHS Faculty Director and Senior Associate Vice Provost for Research, updates PHS members and friends with a review of this past quarter and an exciting look ahead, highlighting a new working group focused on Air Quality and Health, global partnerships, ongoing research endeavours and our new Center in India! 
Read more here.

Research Highlights

Opioid-related mortality, driven by the use of synthetic opioids, has rapidly increased in all of the eastern states

To answer "how has opioid-related mortality changed over time across the United States, and how have the types of opioids associated with these deaths changed", PHS postdoctoral research fellow, Matt Kiang, lead a cross-sectional study of 351 564 US residents who died from opioid-related causes. They found the age-standardized mortality rate from opioids increased more than 2-fold every 2 years in 24 eastern states, reflecting an expansion from lower- income, rural states. The life expectancy lost at age 15 years from opioids is now greater than that lost from deaths due to firearms or car accidents in most of the United States. These findings have been published in JAMA Network Open (full article here).  See CNN coverage of the study here.

Stress Disorders and Dementia in the Danish Population

Previous research has shown an association between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dementia, but few studies have examined associations between dementia and other stress disorders, or looked at these associations by sex.  A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that a stress disorder diagnosis was associated with as much as a nearly three-fold increase in the rate of developing dementia.  The team, including collaborators from Stanford and Aarhus University, used data from several of Denmark’s nationwide registries of social and medical information to create a cohort of 47,047 Danish residents over 40 years old who received stress disorder diagnoses between 1995 and 2011 and did not have dementia in 1995. To learn more about the Danish data and ongoing research collaborations with Aarhus University, email Erika Tribett at 

Why are so many women nearly dying in childbirth? Cross off a few leading theories

A new Stanford study, published recently in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, uses California-wide data to try to explain why the rate of severe maternal morbidity — the technical name for life-threatening pregnancy complications — has jumped. The reasons for the rise in severe maternal morbidity have not been well studied. PHS postdoctoral research fellow Stephanie Leonard, PhD, the study’s lead author, worked on the research with obstetrician Elliott Main, MD, who directs the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, and PHS Faculty Fellow and epidemiologist Suzan Carmichael, PhD. The full article can be found here.

Discover PHS datasets in Lane + search  

Lane Library now includes datasets offered by PHS and powered by Redivis in their Lane + search tool. This effort improves data discoverability at Stanford by increasing the visibility and user experience. Visit [link here] to explore datasets in addition to journal articles, books, video, audio and much more.

News and Announcements

Funding Opportunities

Looking for  internal university funding that supports the critical early stage work of Stanford faculty?  Visit the Stanford Seed Funding website to view open and upcoming opportunities today!
New Team Members
PHS is excited to welcome three new researchers to the team: 

Chen Chen, MA 
Data Analyst

Chen Chen recently joined the PHS team as a Data Analyst focused on research questions to understand the relationship between work-life exposures and later health outcomes in a cohort of manufacturing workers. Specifically, she is investigating antecedents of dementia as well as linkages with Social Security data to understand disability patterns after health shocks. Chen received her MA in Economics from San Francisco State University in 2017 and recently published a paper about the impact of solid fuel use on acute respiratory infections in children in China. She brings experience in data documentation, visualization, and analytic skills for improving overall data quality.

Tome Eftimov, PhD 
Postdoctoral Scholar

Tome Eftimov was awarded his PhD degree from the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School, Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2018. During his PhD studies, he received a scholarship from the project “Era-Chair ISO-FOOD”. His main areas of research include statistics, heuristic optimization, natural language processing, machine learning, and semantic web. Specific topics of research include information extraction of food- and nutrition-related concepts from textual data, food matching, and knowledge management for food- and nutrition-related data. 

Bibek Paudel, PhD 
Postdoctoral Scholar

Bibek Paudel joins PHS from the Department of Informatics at the University of Zürich. His PhD research focused on developing a novel method for drug-target interaction prediction using latent factor models and heterogenous data sources (textured and structured).  He is interested in applying machine learning models to bio-informatics problems with the ultimate goal of improving the health and well-being of populations.

PHS Seminar Series: David Rehkopf
 An Introduction to Population Based Data for Studies of DNA Methylation
Friday, March 22, 2019

Li Ka Shing Center, Room 320
11AM - 12PM
Learn more and register here.

Upcoming Save-The-Dates
Sonalde Desai, University of Maryland
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Karthik Muralidharan, University of California San Diego
Thursday, May 30, 2019

Philipp Koellinger, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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