News

IN THE NEWS: “Your Doctor Retired — Now What? ” in CoveyClub, featuring Center Core Faculty Siobán D. Harlow, PhD
Siobán  Harlow, PhDSiobán Harlow, PhD
“Many women entering their 40s have a pretty heavy symptom burden. Not just menopausal symptoms, but a range of physical and mental health symptoms that really deserve attention and attending to in the 40s and 50s in order to optimize healthy aging.”
“It’s a time that women have to advocate very strongly for themselves so that their symptoms are not ignored. What’s important is that you feel that your doctor is listening to you and addressing your concerns — not just doing a checklist.”
» More at CoveyClub
Posted: March 25 2024
IN THE NEWS: Center Core Faculty Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos featured on “Agents of Change in Environmental Justice” podcast (AUDIO 🔊)
Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MALisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA
Dr. Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos joins the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast to discuss her recent research on the dehumanizing work conditions for farmworkers in Michigan and what we can do to address these injustices. Iglesias-Ríos, a research investigator at the department of epidemiology in the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and lead investigator of the Michigan Farmworker Project, also discusses how a lack of health care and other social resources impact the farmworkers, as well as policies that would help to mitigate some of these workplace harms.
» More at Environmental Health News
Posted: March 20 2024
IN THE NEWS: Michigan Farmworker Project featured on “Population Healthy” podcast (AUDIO 🔊)
Alexis Handal, PhD, MPH and Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MAAlexis Handal, PhD, MPH and Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA
“There’s very little research, formal research that has been done with this population in the state. We want to understand how precarious employment and labor exploitation affect the health of workers within the context of occupational and environmental epidemiology and look at more structural factors that drive these issues of precarity and labor exploitation.” — Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA
“The underlying theme of the work that we’ve been doing is that data is needed, evidence is needed to be able to inform policy changes, to inform programmatic changes that can make service provision more efficient and better for the farmworker community. And so the way we see it as researchers, as epidemiologists, is that we want to contribute by conducting rigorous, high quality epidemiologic studies.” — Alexis J. Handal, PhD, MPH
» More at Population Healthy
Posted: March 01 2024
PUBLISHED: “The association between incarceration and housing insecurity and advanced immune age during late life” with lead author and Center Doctoral Student Lauren MacConnachie, MS
Lauren MacConnachie, MSLauren MacConnachie, MS

Congratulations to Center Doctoral Student Lauren MacConnachie, MS, on her first publication as a lead author in Social Science & Medicine.

“Incarceration and housing insecurity represent severe and complex experiences of a multitude of psychosocial stressors, including discrimination, violence, and poverty. In this study, we investigated the association between incarceration and/or housing insecurity and advanced immune age in adults aged 55 and older.”
» More at Social Science & Medicine
Posted: February 27 2024
IN THE NEWS: “Heavy metals are toxic to ovaries, may lead to earlier menopause”; interview with study co-author and Center Core Faculty Sung Kyun Park, ScD, MPH
Sung Kyun Park, ScD, MPHSung Kyun Park, ScD, MPH
“Widespread exposure to toxins in heavy metals may have a big impact on health problems linked to earlier aging of the ovaries in middle-aged women, such as hot flashes, bone weakening and osteoporosis, higher chances of heart disease, and cognitive decline.”

Additional authors include lead author and Center Alumni Ning Ding, Center Core Faculty Xin Wang and John F Randolph, and Center Core Faculty and former Center Director Siobán D Harlow.

» More at Michigan News
» Original study at the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
Posted: February 07 2024
IN THE NEWS: Siobán D. Harlow, PhD honored with a new named professorship
Bhramar Mukherjee, PhD and Siobán D. Harlow, PhDBhramar Mukherjee, PhD and Siobán D. Harlow, PhD
Siobán Harlow, Center Core Faculty and former Center Director, has been honored by the creation of a named professorship after her. Effective December 1, 2023 and through November 30, 2025, Dr. Bhramar Mukherjee, Department of Biostatistics Chair, is the Siobán D. Harlow Collegiate Professor of Public Health. Dr. Harlow is only the second woman in the history of the School of Public Health to have a professorship named after her.
» More about Dr. Harlow
» More about Dr. Mukherjee

Posted: January 29 2024
ALUMNI UPDATE: Center Alumni Lauren Hertzer accepted to the Women’s Health Program at University of Cincinnati
Lauren HertzerLauren Hertzer
“I recently applied and was accepted to the Women's Health Medical Student Scholars Program, a choice inspired by my work with SWAN and women's midlife science. This program offers an opportunity for medical students to participate in didactic, service, clinical and research experiences that center on women’s health. My project will likely be related to the intersection of public health and women’s health and access to care. I have found myself using many of the skills I gained from conversations with SWAN participants.”
» Learn more about the SWAN Study at the Center for Midlife Science
Posted: January 24 2024
IN THE NEWS: Michigan Farmworker Project featured on Michigan Public’s “Stateside” (AUDIO 🔊)
Alexis Handal, PhD, MPH and Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MAAlexis Handal, PhD, MPH and Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA
“The exploitation of the workers often is threaded through their environment, their working, and their living environment. We have to look at the whole context and the whole picture to really try to understand how this type of work impacts worker health, as well as the health of their families and their communities.” — Alexis J. Handal, PhD, MPH
“Most research in public health has captured occupational and environmental exposures like injuries, falls, or exposure to pesticides in the workers, but we see the importance of contextualizing why farmworkers suffer from occupational and environmental exposures, the dynamics of the working environment, and fundamentally the social vulnerability of workers.” — Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA
» More at Michigan Public
Posted: December 11 2023
IN THE NEWS: Center student Shichi Dhar featured in “We Are Michigan Public Health”
Shichi DharShichi Dhar
“I realized that so much of your health is impacted by what job you have, your access to nutritious food and your access to a healthcare system. Being aware about these factors is important if you want to deliver authentic and accurate patient-centered care.”
» More at We Are Michigan Public Health
Posted: December 01 2023
IN THE NEWS: “Mistreatment of Michigan farmworkers: U-M researchers document abuses, push for change” with Center Core Faculty Alexis Handal, PhD, MPH and Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA
Concept illustration of immigrant farmworkers. Image credit: Nicole Smith, made with Midjourney
“There are multisystem failures in the protection of farmworkers in Michigan,” said Iglesias-Rios, a research investigator at the U-M School of Public Health. “We identified dimensions of precarious employment and labor exploitation that involve lacking access to fundamental labor and social rights, including dehumanization, discriminatory occupational practices and insufficient access to health care and social benefits.”
» More at Michigan News (English / Inglés)
» More at Michigan News (Spanish / Español)

Posted: October 27 2023
IN THE NEWS: “Yes, VMS Affects Races Differently, But More Research Still Needs to Be Done” in Newswires, featuring Center Core Faculty Siobán D. Harlow, PhD
Siobán  Harlow, PhDSiobán Harlow, PhD
“It is clear that discrimination and structural racism play an important role in health broadly but getting the full story is difficult. It’s putting each of the little pieces together and understanding the overall picture — how do we integrate and understand the difference in the experience of the menopausal transition as a whole?”
» More at SheKnows
Posted: October 06 2023
IN THE NEWS: “Researchers Devise Scoring System to Forecast Future Health Risks for Women Ages 55-65” in Newswires, featuring SWAN Study research
Daniel H. Solomon, MD, MPHDaniel H. Solomon, MD, MPH
Research yielding a prototype tool for predicting risk for significant decline in future health for women ages 55-65 developed by the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) has been published in the British medical journal BMJ Open. The prototype is based on a scoring system proven to be the first known method to predict health and physical function up to a decade in advance for women in the midlife when problems tend to accelerate, said lead author of the study Daniel H. Solomon, MD, MPH, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School.
» More at Newswires
Posted: October 05 2023
IN THE NEWS: “Menopause Is Different for Women of Color” in the New York Times, featuring SWAN Study research and comments from SWAN Study Leadership
Sherri-Ann Burnett-Bowie, MD, MPHSherri-Ann Burnett-Bowie, MD, MPH
In a paper published last February, researchers concluded that the menopause symptom disparities between Black and white women might be explained by “structural racism” that led to “a greater disease burden” for Black women. The Black women in SWAN, the study notes, were more likely than white women to report financial instability, instances of discrimination, “trouble with the police, experiences of violence, as well as illness or death of close family members.” Those kinds of experiences can erode a person’s overall health and accelerate aging, said Dr. Sherri-Ann Burnett-Bowie, a co-author of the paper — a process known as “weathering”.
» More at New York Times
Posted: August 25 2023
ON THE RADIO: Center affiliate Alexis N. Reeves, PhD, MPH discusses menopause, research and the differing experiences of Black and Hispanic women
Alexis N. Reeves, PhD, MPHAlexis N. Reeves, PhD, MPH
“We all wanted to understand ‘What is the impact of systematically leaving these women out? What is the impact on the results within the study? What are we missing within the study for understanding Black and Hispanic women’s health through the menopausal transition?’”
» More at Stateside (interview with Dr. Reeves begins at 13:00)
Posted: August 22 2023
FEATURED PUBLICATION: “Phthalates and Incident Diabetes in Midlife Women: The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN)” with lead author and former Center Doctoral Student Mia Q. Peng, PhD, MPH
Mia Q. Peng, PhD, MPHMia Q. Peng, PhD, MPH
Featured Publication of the Week for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (August 2023), with lead author and former Center Doctoral Student Mia Q. Peng, PhD, MPH; additional authors include Center co-director Carrie A. Karvonen-Gutierrez, PhD, MPH, Center Core Faculty member Sung Kyun Park, ScD, MPH and Center Affiliate Faculty William H. Herman, MD, MPH.
» More at Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
Posted: August 09 2023
IN THE NEWS: “Exclusion of Black and Hispanic women from health studies masked racial disparities on menopausal aging” in Michigan Public Health, with comments from lead author and Center affiliate Alexis N. Reeves, MPH
Alexis N. Reeves, PhD, MPHAlexis N. Reeves, PhD, MPH
“We were able to quantify the racial differences in the rate of exclusion from SWAN due to earlier menopause, and then statistically account for it in SWAN’s data,” said Alexis Reeves, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University’s School of Medicine who conducted the work while a doctoral student at Michigan Public Health. “We found that Black and Hispanic women had statistically significant earlier natural, and particularly surgical, menopause than white women. The study suggests that this common bias may lead to underestimation of racial disparities in health and aging, and is important to consider in further research.”

Additional authors of the study include Center Director Siobán Harlow, Center Co-Director Carrie Karvonen-Gutierrez and Center Associate Faculty Michael Elliott.

» More at Michigan Public Health News
» Read the original study at the International Journal of Epidemiology
Posted: July 06 2023
IN THE NEWS: Center Core Faculty Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos featured on “Agents of Change in Environmental Justice ” podcast (AUDIO 🔊)
Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MALisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA
Dr. Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos joins the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast to discuss why we must advocate for better workplace conditions for the people who grow our food. Iglesias-Ríos, researcher at the University of Michigan and a co-investigator of the Michigan Farmworker Project, also talks about being raised by two strong women, her winding path to becoming a researcher, and ways to support migrant farmworkers.
» More at Environmental Health News
Posted: June 28 2023
IN THE NEWS: “Why Perimenopause Can Throw Off Your Menstrual Cycle” in the New York Times, with comments from Center Director Siobán D. Harlow, PhD
Siobán  Harlow, PhDSiobán Harlow, PhD
More than a third of women in the study, of which Dr. Harlow was a co-author, experienced periods that were so heavy they had to change their sanitary products every one to two hours [4 or more hours a day] for more than three days — compared with a more normal flow, which requires changing products every four to eight hours.
“At this life stage, it’s no longer true that women know when they’re going to bleed or how much they’re going to bleed,” Dr. Harlow said. Still, she added, this symptom is rarely studied or discussed among women themselves.
» More at New York Times
Posted: June 13 2023
CONGRATULATIONS!: Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA appointed Research Investigator
Lisbeth Iglesias Ríos, PhD, MPHLisbeth Iglesias Ríos, PhD, MPH
Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA has been appointed as a Research Investigator in the Center for Midlife Science. Dr. Iglesias-Ríos received her PhD in Epidemiological Science at University of Michigan in 2018, an MPH in Biostatistics from University of New Mexico in 2020, MA in Psychiatry and Medical Psychology from Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona in 2000.

Dr. Iglesias-Rios is the lead investigator of the Michigan Farmworker Project (MFP). Developed in 2019, in collaboration with Dr. Alexis Handal, the goal of this community-based participatory research program is to provide a deeper understanding of the complex working and living conditions of migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the state of Michigan. The MFP seeks to examine the occupational and environmental health exposures experienced by farmworkers in Michigan and relate this understanding to broader social and structural determinants such as precarious employment and labor exploitation.

Posted: May 10 2023
CONGRATULATIONS!: Center Core Faculty Aleda Leis, PhD, MS awarded K12 Mentored Training Grant through Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR)
Aleda Leis, PhD, MSAleda Leis, PhD, MS
Dr. Aleda Leis has been awarded a two-year K12 Mentored Training Grant through the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR). This award will provide resources for additional training and career development in cardiometabolic epidemiology, viral pathogenesis, and statistical methodology under her mentors Dr. Carrie Karvonen-Gutierrez, Dr. Emily Martin, and Dr. Michael Elliott.
Posted: May 03 2023
IN THE NEWS: “Personal experiences lead student to pursuing a Biostatistics master’s degree” with Center Doctoral Student Lauren MacConnachie, MS
Lauren MacConnachie, MSLauren MacConnachie, MS
“My neighbors and friends faced greater health issues with little aid often leading to a cascade of events such as eviction and disability. Further, in my own family, I witnessed how those with disabilities faced both great barriers and great unknowns.”
“I was born and raised here and I want to contribute to my home. I believed the University of Michigan would best allow me to do this.”
» More at Michigan Public Health
Posted: April 25 2023