School of Medicine

Life Course Epidemiology

Karen Schliep, PhD, MSPH
Principle Investigator

Life course epidemiology, coined in 1997, has been defined as "the study of long-term biological, behavioural and psychosocial processes that link adult health and disease risk to physical or social exposures acting during gestation, childhood, adolescence, earlier in adult life or across generations."

The University of Utah is a unique and rich place to conduct life course epidemiology research due to its access to The Utah Population Database. Multiple data contributors have amassed unparalleled family genealogies, comprehensive electronic medical records, Utah birth and death certificates as well as other records. This data enables research from “birth certificate to death certificate” for citizens of Utah. The Department of Family and Preventive Medicine is the home for several life course epidemiologic research projects including the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) and Women’s Reproductive, Heart, and Brain Health (WOMB).

(1.) Kuh D, Ben-Shlomo Y. A Life Course Approach to Chronic Disease Epidemiology: Tracing the Origins of Ill-Health from Early to Adult Life. 1st edn. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1997.