Heidi A. Hanson, PhD, MS

Research Interests

  • Aging
  • Demographic patterns - Aging
  • Demography
  • Life Course and Health Outcome
  • Air Pollution
  • Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
  • Cancer


  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Family & Preventive Medicine - Adjunct Assistant Professor, Population Health Sciences - Adjunct Assistant Professor, Surgery - Assistant Professor
  • Divisions: Administration, DFPM Administration, Health System Innovation and Research

Academic Office Information

  • 801-585-6794
  • Pedigree and Population Resource
    675 Arapeen Drive, Room: 204
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Academic Bio

Dr. Hanson is an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, the Assistant Director of Research at the Utah Population Database, an Affiliate Member of the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute (SCI Institute), and a research scientist at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She is a demographer and has expertise in analysis of population health data. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science and Health and MS and PhD in Sociology at the University of Utah.

Her research is focused on disentangling the interactions of genetic and environmental influences on disease risk throughout the life course. She has an National Institutes of Health K07 award focused on investigating the genetic and environmental determinants of bladder cancer. She would like to link her findings to clinical measures that can be used to improve precision strategies for screening and treatment. Additional areas of research include understanding how environmental influences in utero and early childhood affect later life health, air pollution exposure and health outcomes in cancer survivors, early life neighborhood environments and disease risk, and familial, community, and socioeconomic factors affecting health outcomes. Her previous research has (1) investigated temporal patterns in cancer risk and aging; (2) explored familial clustering of disease; (3) examined environmental determinants of health and the role of residential selection; (4) shown the importance of statistical model selection and rigorous methodology; and (5) developed new techniques to investigate the role of the environment in heritability of health outcomes. These projects have taken advantage of large health databases such as the UPDB, CMS Medicare, Demographic Health Survey, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results (SEER) Program.

Education History

Type School Degree
Doctoral Training University of Utah
Sociology (Emphasis: Population and Health)
Graduate Training University of Utah
Post Graduate Training University of Utah
Undergraduate University of Utah
Behavioral Science and Health

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Hanson HA, Leiser CL, Bandoli G, Pollock BH, Karagas MR, Armstrong D, Dozier A, Weiskopf NG, Monaghan M, Davis AM, Eckstrom E, Weng C, Tobin JT, Kaske F, Schleiss MR, Szilagyi P, Dykes C, Cooper D, Barkin SL (2020). Charting the Life Course: Emerging Opportunities to Advance Scientific Approaches Using Life Course Research. J Clin Transl Sci.
  2. Ponnapalli SP, Bradley MW, Devine K, Bowne J, Coppens SE, Leraas KM, Milash BA, Li F, Luo H, Qiu S, Wu K, Yang H, Wittwer CT, Palmer CA, Jensen RL, Gastier-Foster JM, Hanson HA, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Alter O (2020). Retrospective clinical trial experimentally validates glioblastoma genome-wide pattern of DNA copy-number alterations predictor of survival. APL Bioengineering.
  3. Oswald N, Lin T, Haaland B, Flynn M, Kawamoto K, Cooney KA, Lowrance W, Hanson HA, ONeil B (2020). Factors associated with appropriate and low-value PSA testing. Cancer Epidemiology.
  4. Ou JY, Hanson HA, Ramsay JM, Kaddas HK, Pope CA, Leiser CL, VanDerslice J, Kirchhoff AC (2020). Fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Mortality among Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer Patients. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev.
  5. Hanson HA, Leiser CL, Madsen MJ, Gardner J, Knight S, Cessna M, Sweeney C, Doherty JA, Smith KR, Bernard PS, Camp NJ (2020). Family study designs informed by tumor heterogeneity and multi-cancer pleiotropies: the power of the Utah Population Database. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev.
  6. Patel DP, Jenkins TG, Aston KI, Guo J, Pastuszak AW, Hanson HA, Hotaling JM (2020). Harnessing the full potential of reproductive genetics and epigenetics for male infertility in the era of "big data". Fertil Steril, 113(3), 478-488.
  7. Hanson HA, Leiser CL, ONeil B, Martin C, Gupta S, Smith KR, Dechet C, Lowrance WT, Madsen MJ, Camp NJ (2020). Harnessing Population Pedigree Data and Machine Learning Methods to Identify Patterns of Familial Bladder Cancer Risk. (Epub ahead of print) Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev.
  8. Leiser CL, Anderson RE, Martin C, Hanson HA, ONeil B (2020). Combining Drive Time and Urologist Density to Understand Access to Urologic Care. (Epub ahead of print) Urology.
  9. Jenkins TG, James ER, Aston KI, Salas-Huetos A, Pastuszak AW, Smith KR, Hanson HA, Hotaling JM, Carrell DT (2019). Age-associated sperm DNA methylation patterns do not directly persist trans-generationally. Epigenetics Chromatin, 12(1), 74.
  10. Leiser CL, Smith KR, VanDerslice JA, Glotzbach JP, Farrell TW, Hanson HA (2019). Evaluation of the Sex-and-Age-Specific Effects of PM2.5 on Hospital Readmission in the Presence of the Competing Risk of Mortality in the Medicare Population of Utah 1999-2009. J Clin Med, 8(12).
  11. Hanson HA, Martin C, ONeil B, Leiser CL, Mayer EN, Smith KR, Lowrance WT (2019). The Relative Importance of Race Compared to Health Care and Social Factors in Predicting Prostate Cancer Mortality: A Random Forest Approach. J Urol, 202(6), 1209-1216.
  12. Bradley MW, Aiello KA, Ponnapalli SP, Hanson HA, Alter O (2019). GSVD- and tensor GSVD-uncovered patterns of DNA copy-number alterations predict adenocarcinomas survival in general and in response to platinum. APL Bioengineering, 3(3), 036104.
  13. Bradley MW, Aiello KA, Ponnapalli SP, Hanson HA, Alter O (2019). GSVD- and tensor GSVD-uncovered patterns of DNA copy-number alterations predict adenocarcinomas survival in general and in response to platinum. APL Bioeng, 3(3), 036104.
  14. Martin C, Haaland B, Tward AE, Dechet C, Lowrance W, Stephenson RA, Hanson H, ONeil B (2018). Describing the Spectrum of Patient Reported Outcomes after Radical Prostatectomy: Providing Information to Improve Patient Counseling and Shared Decision Making. J Urol, 201(4), 751-758.
  15. Ou JY, Hanson HA, Ramsay JM, Leiser CL, Zhang Y, VanDerslice JA, Pope CA 3rd, Kirchhoff AC (2019). Fine Particulate Matter and Respiratory Healthcare Encounters among Survivors of Childhood Cancers. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 16(6).
  16. Leiser CL, Hanson HA, Sawyer K, Steenblik J, Al-Dulaimi R, Madsen T, Gibbins K, Hotaling JM, Ibrahim YO, VanDerslice JA, Fuller M (2018). Acute effects of air pollutants on spontaneous pregnancy loss: a case-crossover study. Fertil Steril, 111(2), 341-347.
  17. Kowaleski-Jones L, Zick C, Smith KR, Brown B, Hanson HA, Fan J (2018). Walkable neighborhoods and obesity: Evalutating effects with a propensity score approach. Soc Sci Med, 6, 9-15.
  18. Soisson S, Ganz PA, Gaffney D, Rowe K, Snyder J, Wan Y, Deshmukh V, Newman M, Fraser A, Smith K, Herget K, Hanson HA, Wu YP, Stanford J, Al-Sarray A, Werner TL, Setiawan VW, Hashibe M (2017). Long-term Cardiovascular Outcomes Among Endometrial Cancer Survivors in a Large, Population-Based Cohort Study. J Natl Cancer Inst, 110(12), 1342-1351.
  19. Arbeeva LS, Hanson HA, Arbeev KG, Kulminski AM, Stallard E, Ukraintseva SV, Wu D, Boudreau RM, Province MA, Smith KR, Yashin AI (2018). How Well Does the Family Longevity Selection Score Work: A Validation Test Using the Utah Population Database. Front Public Health, 6, 277.
  20. Hanson HA, Hay WW Jr, Tobin JN, Barkin SL, Atkins M, Karagas MR, Dozier AM, Wetmore C, Konstan MW, Heubi JE (2018). Opportunities for life course research through the integration of data across Clinical and Translational Research Institutes. J Clin Transl Sci, 2(3), 156-162.
  21. Martin C, Leiser CL, ONeil B, Gupta S, Lowrance WT, Kohlmann W, Greenberg S, Pathak P, Smith KR, Hanson HA (2017). Familial Cancer Clustering in Urothelial Cancer: A Population-Based Case-Control Study. J Natl Cancer Inst, 110(5), 527-533.
  22. Anderson RE, Hanson HA, Thai D, Zhang C, Presson AP, Aston KI, Carrell DT, Smith KR, Hotaling JM (2018). Do paternal semen parameters influence the birth weight or BMI of the offspring? A study from the Utah Population Database. J Assist Reprod Genet, 35(5), 793-799.
  23. Soisson S, Ganz PA, Gaffney D, Rowe K, Snyder J, Wan Y, Deshmukh V, Newman M, Fraser A, Smith K, Herget K, Hanson HA, Wu YP, Stanford J, Werner TL, Setiawan VW, Hashibe M (2017). Long-term, adverse genitourinary outcomes among endometrial cancer survivors in a large, population-based cohort study. Gynecol Oncol, 148(3), 499-506.
  24. Tabler J, Utz RL, Smith KR, Hanson HA, Geist C (2018). Variation in reproductive outcomes of women with histories of bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, or eating disorder not otherwise specified relative to the general population and closest-aged sisters. Int J Eat Disord, 51(2), 102-111.
  25. Kowaleski-Jones L, Zick C, Smith KR, Brown B, Hanson H, Fan J (2017). Walkable neighborhoods and obesity: Evaluating effects with a propensity score approach. SSM Popul Health, 6, 9-15.
  26. Samadder NJ, Smith KR, Wong J, Thomas A, Hanson H, Boucher K, Kopituch C, Cannon-Albright LA, Burt RW, Curtin K (2017). Cancer Risk in Families Fulfilling the Amsterdam Criteria for Lynch Syndrome. JAMA Oncol, 3(12), 1697-1701.
  27. Kowaleski-Jones L, Brown BB, Fan JX, Hanson HA, Smith KR, Zick CD (2017). The joint effects of family risk of obesity and neighborhood environment on obesity among women. Soc Sci Med, 195, 17-24.
  28. Blackburn BE, Ganz PA, Rowe K, Snyder J, Wan Y, Deshmukh V, Newman M, Fraser A, Smith K, Herget K, Kim J, Kirchhoff AC, Porucznik C, Hanson H, Monroe M, Hashibe M (2017). Aging-Related Disease Risks among Young Thyroid Cancer Survivors. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 26(12), 1695-1704.
  29. Nguyen QC, Brunisholz KD, Yu W, McCullough M, Hanson HA, Litchman ML, Li F, Wan Y, VanDerslice JA, Wen M, Smith KR (2017). Twitter-derived neighborhood characteristics associated with obesity and diabetes. Sci Rep, 7(1), 16425.
  30. Hanson HA, Horn KP, Rasmussen KM, Hoffman JM, Smith KR (2015). Is Cancer Protective for Subsequent Alzheimer's Disease Risk? Evidence From the Utah Population Database. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci, 72(6), 1032-1043.
  31. Samadder NJ, Pappas L, Boucherr KM, Smith KR, Hanson H, Fraser A, Wan Y, Burt RW, Curtin K (2017). Long-Term Colorectal Cancer Incidence After Negative Colonoscopy in the State of Utah: The Effect of Family History. Am J Gastroenterol, 112(9), 1439-1447.
  32. Mayer EN, Lenherr SM, Hanson HA, Jessop TC, Lowrance WT (2017). Gender Differences in Publication Productivity Among Academic Urologists in the United States. Urology, 103, 39-46.
  33. Caplin DA, Smith KR, Ness KK, Hanson HA, Smith SM, Nathan PC, Hudson MM, Leisenring WM, Robison LL, Oeffinger KC (2016). Effect of Population Socioeconomic and Health System Factors on Medical Care of Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol, 6(1), 74-82.
  34. Anderson RE, Hanson HA, Lowrance WT, Redshaw J, Oottamasathien S, Schaeffer A, Johnstone E, Aston KI, Carrell DT, Cartwright P, Smith KR, Hotaling JM (2017). Childhood Cancer Risk in the Siblings and Cousins of Men with Poor Semen Quality. J Urol, 197(3 Pt 2), 898-905.
  35. Stroup AM, Herget KA, Hanson HA, Reed DL, Butler JT, Henry KA, Harrell CJ, Sweeney C, Smith KR (2016). Baby Boomers and Birth Certificates: Early-Life Socioeconomic Status and Cancer Risk in Adulthood. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 26(1), 75-84.
  36. Hanson HA, Mayer EN, Anderson RE, Aston KI, Carrell DT, Berger J, Lowrance WT, Smith KR, Hotaling JM (2016). Risk of childhood mortality in family members of men with poor semen quality. Hum Reprod, 32(1), 239-247.
  37. Hanson HA, Mayer EN, Anderson RE, Aston KI, Carrell DT, Berger J, Lowrance WT, Smith KR, Hotaling JM (01/2017). Familial aggregation of childhood mortality and semen quality. Hum Reprod, 32(1), 239-247.
  38. Samadder NJ, Smith KR, Wong J, Hanson H, Boucher K, Burt RW, Charlton M, Byrne KR, Gallegos-Orozco JF, Koptiuch C, Curtin K (2016). Familial Risk of Biliary Tract Cancers: A Population-Based Study in Utah. Dig Dis Sci, 61(12), 3627-3632.
  39. Smith KR, Hanson HA, Brown BB, Zick CD, Kowaleski-Jones L, Fan JX (2016). Movers and stayers: how residential selection contributes to the association between female body mass index and neighborhood characteristics. Int J Obes (Lond), 40(9), 1384-91.
  40. Anderson RE, Hanson HA, Patel DP, Johnstone E, Aston KI, Carrell DT, Lowrance WT, Smith KR, Hotaling JM (2016). Cancer risk in first- and second-degree relatives of men with poor semen quality. Fertil Steril, 106(3), 731-8.
  41. Samadder, NJ, Smith, KR, Hanson, H, Pimentel, R, Wong, J, Boucher, K, Akerley, W, Gilcrease, G, Ulrich, CM, Burt, RW and Curtin, K (03/26/2016). Cancer of unknown primary: Investigating familial cancer risk. JAMA Oncol.
  42. Samadder NJ, Smith KR, Hanson H, Pimentel R, Wong J, Boucher K, Akerley W, Gilcrease G, Ulrich CM, Burt RW, Curtin K (2016). Familial Risk in Patients With Carcinoma of Unknown Primary. JAMA Oncol, 2(3), 340-6.
  43. Zimmer Z, Hanson HA, Smith KR (02/12/2016). Childhood Socioeconomic Status, Adulthood Socioeconomic Status, and Old-age Health Trajectories: Connecting Early, Middle and Late-Life. Demogr Res, 34, 285-319.
  44. Hanson HA, Anderson RE, Aston KI, Carrell DT, Smith KR, Hotaling JM (2015). Subfertility increases risk of testicular cancer: evidence from population-based semen samples. Fertil Steril, 105(2), 322-8.e1.
  45. Herget KA, Patel DP, Hanson HA, Sweeney C, Lowrance WT (2015). Recent decline in prostate cancer incidence in the United States, by age, stage, and Gleason score. Cancer Med, 5(1), 136-41.
  46. Hollingshaus MS, Coon H, Crowell SE, Gray DD, Hanson HA, Pimentel R, Smith KR (2016). Differential Vulnerability to Early-Life Parental Death: The Moderating Effects of Family Suicide History on Risks for Major Depression and Substance Abuse in Later Life. Biodemography Soc Biol, 62(1), 105-25.
  47. Samadder NJ, Smith KR, Hanson H, Pimentel R, Wong J, Boucher K, Ahnen D, Singh H, Ulrich CM, Burt RW, Curtin K (2015). Increased Risk of Colorectal Cancer Among Family Members of All Ages, Regardless of Age of Index Case at Diagnosis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol, 13(13), 2305-11.e1-2.
  48. Hanson HA, Smith KR, Zimmer Z (2015). Reproductive History and Later-Life Comorbidity Trajectories: A Medicare-Linked Cohort Study From the Utah Population Database. Demography, 52(6), 2021-49.
  49. Grace K, Davenport F, Hanson H, Funk C, Shukla S (Nov 2015). Linking climate change and health outcomes: Examining the relationship between temperature, precipitation and birth weight in Africa. Glob Environ Change, 35(Nov 2015), 125-137.
  50. Hanson HA, Smith KR, Stroup AM, Harrell CJ (2014). An age-period-cohort analysis of cancer incidence among the oldest old, Utah 1973-2002. Popul Stud (Camb), 69(1), 7-22.
  51. Smith KR, Hanson HA, Norton MC, Hollingshaus MS, Mineau GP (2014). Survival of offspring who experience early parental death: early life conditions and later-life mortality. Soc Sci Med, 119, 180-90.
  52. Fan JX, Hanson HA, Zick CD, Brown BB, Kowaleski-Jones L, Smith KR (2014). Geographic scale matters in detecting the relationship between neighbourhood food environments and obesity risk: an analysis of driver license records in Salt Lake County, Utah. BMJ Open, 4(8), e005458.
  53. Fan JX, Brown BB, Hanson H, Kowaleski-Jones L, Smith KR, Zick CD (2013). Moderate to vigorous physical activity and weight outcomes: does every minute count? Am J Health Promot, 28(1), 41-9.
  54. Lindahl-Jacobsen R, Hanson HA, Oksuzyan A, Mineau GP, Christensen K, Smith KR (2013). The male-female health-survival paradox and sex differences in cohort life expectancy in Utah, Denmark, and Sweden 1850-1910. Ann Epidemiol, 23(4), 161-6.
  55. Brown BB, Smith KR, Hanson H, Fan JX, Kowaleski-Jones L, Zick CD (2013). Neighborhood design for walking and biking: physical activity and body mass index. Am J Prev Med, 44(3), 231-8.
  56. Zick CD, Hanson H, Fan JX, Smith KR, Kowaleski-Jones L, Brown BB, Yamada I (2013). Re-visiting the relationship between neighbourhood environment and BMI: an instrumental variables approach to correcting for residential selection bias. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act, 10, 27.
  57. Smith KR, Hanson HA, Hollingshaus MS (2013). BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations and female fertility.” [10.1097/GCO.1090b1013e32835f31731]. Obstet Gynecol.
  58. Smith KR, Hanson HA, Mineau GP, Buys SS (2012). Effects of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations on female fertility. Proc Biol Sci, 279(1732), 1389-95.


  1. Hanson HA (2018). Fertility treatment and congenital urologic malformations: is there a solution to our correlation versus causation woes? Fertil Steril, 110(5), 842-843.


  1. Smith KR, Yamada I, Kowaleski-Jones L, Brown BB, Hanson HA, Zick CD, Fan JX (2010). Body Mass Index and Neighborhood Characteristics: Assessing Selection and Causation Mechanisms Using Mover-Stayer Models [Abstract].
  2. Kowaleski-Jones L, Smith KR, Yamada I, Brown BB, Hanson HA, Zick CD, Fan JX (2010). Effects of Built Environment on Obesity: Using a Propensity Score Approach to Assess Selection and Causal Influences [Abstract].