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Science Ambassador Lecturer Biography

    Risk Factors for Birth Defects

    This presentation explained risk factors for birth defects such as smoking and explained how the risk factors for birth defects are studied. This session also focused on the Centers of Birth Defects Research and Prevention's National Birth Defects Prevention Study which is the largest case control study of birth defects in the United States.

    Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH

    Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Honein is an epidemiologist at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Honein received her B.S. degree in Biology from the University of California, Riverside in 1986, her MPH from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1992, and her PhD in Epidemiology from UCLA in 1995. She completed her doctoral dissertation research on HIV among tuberculosis patients in the East African country Djibouti. Dr. Honein joined CDC in 1997 as an EIS officer based in CDC's birth defects group. She won the Langmuir Prize in 2000 for her publication on the Epi-Aid investigation of infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis after pertussis prophylaxis with erythromycin. In 2002, she won the Louise Martin Award for a young investigator making outstanding scientific contributions to public health. She has published papers on the role of smoking in birth defects, the impact of folic acid fortification on neural tube defects, and medication use during pregnancy. She is currently the lead epidemiologist on the National Birth Defects Case-Control Study, a large multi-site study of environmental and genetic risk factors for birth defects.

    Jennita Reefhuis, PhD

    Dr. Jennita Reefhuis is an epidemiologist with the state research partnership team of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). She received her master’s and PhD degrees in Epidemiology in the Netherlands, her home country. Her PhD work was done at a birth defect surveillance system in the Netherlands. She came to CDC 4 years ago as an EIS officer, during those two years she worked on a variety of projects including anthrax in a post office in New Jersey and meningitis in children with cochlear implants. During EIS and since EIS she has worked on birth defects projects including maternal age and birth defects, Claritin® and hypospadias, and infertility treatments and birth defects.


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Page Last Modified: January 25, 2006

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