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The mission of the Perinatal Epidemiology Unit is to collaborate in leveraging the physical and intellectual resources of Wayne State University (WSU) and its partnering research institutions including the Perinatology Research Branch (PRB) of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to improve population-level health by:

  1. investigating the antecedents, distributions, consequences and opportunities for prevention of pathological perinatal outcomes including childhood handicap with roots in pregnancy; and
  2. providing faculty and fellows involved in scholarship at WSU/PRB training on optimal study designs, analytic methods and interpretations in observational investigations of the epidemiology and prevention of pathological perinatal outcomes.

Programmatic justification (why this unit exists and what is its relationship with the rest of the PRB):

Epidemiology has been recognized as “a fundamental science for translating basic discoveries into population health benefits” (1, pg. 522). The constantly available unqualified on-site access to epidemiology and biostatistics support provided by the Perinatal Epidemiology Unit is accordingly crucial to the PRB mission “ reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes, infant mortality and handicap”. Specifically, the overarching aim of these daily interactions is to synthesize the knowledge of novel discoveries made across all PRB units in providing the key data needed to inform further basic and clinical research, practice and policy development with the goal of improving maternal and child health. In short, services provided by the Perinatal Epidemiology Unit are among the most important in traversing the translation gap from basic PRB discoveries to public health improvement. Without these services, the ability of the PRB to meet the public’s expectation that federally funded research will reduce the burden of disease would be severely compromised.

1.    Khoury et al. The emergence of translational epidemiology: from scientific discovery to population health impact. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2010;172:517-24