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Wilcox Honored with Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Award

By Eddy Ball
January 2010

Wilcox is admired and respected by his students( and general audiences( - as well as by leading figures in the fields of public health and epidemiology.
(Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS Senior Investigator Allen Wilcox, M.D., Ph.D., is the recipient of the 2009 Greg Alexander Award for Advancing Knowledge - one of the highest honors bestowed each year by the Coalition for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Epidemiology. Recognized for his outstanding contributions to public health knowledge through epidemiology and applied research, Wilcox received the award at the Coalition's Fifteenth Annual Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Conference( Exit NIEHS Dec. 9-11 in Tampa, Fla.

In choosing recipients for the Greg Alexander Award( Exit NIEHS, the selection committee gives preference to those whose focus is applied, recognizing originality of scientific work, contribution to the field, and impact on the health of mothers and children. "One of the hallmarks of this coalition," Wilcox said, "is that it draws from a broad spectrum of public health people - from the very applied folks in the county health departments to university researchers."

Wilcox( is the tenth winner of the Greg Alexander Award. He joins former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) colleagues Milton Kotelchuck, Ph.D.( Exit NIEHS, the first recipient of the award in 2000, and David Savitz, Ph.D( Exit NIEHS., who won in 2004.

Wilcox enjoys an international reputation for high-impact research

A reproductive epidemiologist who recently celebrated his 30th year as an investigator at NIEHS, Wilcox is also the editor-in-chief of the journal, Epidemiology(;jsessionid=GKyQLp2KF2tLQZ5YTD60GybHHQRtHSysvcQqB1hp9ZnFM375v3sM%21741375937%21-949856145%218091%21-1) Exit NIEHS. He is a past president of both the American Epidemiological Society and the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

Wilcox serves as an adjunct professor of Epidemiology at the UNC-CH, where he earned M.P.H. and Ph.D. degrees after completing his M.D. at the University of Michigan. He is the author of a soon-to-be-published textbook, Fertility and Pregnancy: An Epidemiologic Perspective( Exit NIEHS, described by Oxford University Press as "the first truly comprehensive textbook on the topic."

In 2008, Wilcox received an honorary doctorate( from the University of Bergen where he has long-standing collaborations. His recent studies on facial clefts among Norwegian children investigated the associations of genetic( Exit NIEHS and environmental factors - such as smoking( Exit NIEHS, caffeine consumption( Exit NIEHS, and binge drinking( - with the incidence of facial clefts.

Sixteen professional groups make up the transdisciplinary Coalition for Excellence

According to the Coalition, no single organization represents MCH Epidemiology as a profession from both an academic and practice perspective. MCH Epidemiology, however, is a major contributor and participant in many health organizations and professional groups.

The 16 national health organizations that formed the Coalition for Excellence in MCH Epidemiology to sponsor the National MCH Epidemiology Awards represent a broad range of scientific and public health interests, including several high-profile groups:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Public Health Association
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiological Research

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