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Edmond D Shenassa

Professor, Family Science
Affiliate Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Edmond D. Shenassa, Sc.D., MA, was recruited from Brown University in 2008 to become the founding director of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) program in the Department of Family Science. With a dual doctorate in Epidemiology and MCH from the Harvard School of Public Health and a master’s in quantitative research methods from UCLA, Dr. Shenassa's population-based investigations focus on social determinants (e.g., income inequality, housing quality) of health over the life course.


SPH | Room 1142Z

(301) 405-3658

Areas of Interest

Core Faculty

Prenatal and Perinatal Epidemiology; Social Epidemiology; Developmental Origins of Health and Disease

Shenassa investigates the synergy between modifiable determinants of prenatal and perinatal health (e.g., breastfeeding by smokers). Much of this work is based on data Dr. Shenassa collected as the Principal Investigator of the Rhode Island Birth cohort study, an investigation of in-utero exposure to toxins and physical, cognitive and social development during infancy. His team recruited 650 women who were one-day postpartum and measured physical, mental and behavioral outcomes of the mother-infant dyad on three occasions during a 15 month follow-up period.

This work has been funded by Maternal and Child Health Bureaus (HRSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Flight Attendant’s Medical Research Institute, and Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Shenassa was selected as a Graduate Mentor of the Year by the University of Maryland Graduate School in 2016. He served as president-elect of the Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health (ATMCH).

Sc.D., Dual Doctorate in Epidemiology and Maternal and Child Health

Harvard University

MA, Social Research Methods


FMSC310 Maternal, Child and Family Health

FMSC710 Maternal and Child Health from a Life Course Perspective

FMSC720 Study Design in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology

University of Maryland Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award 

Summer Research and Scholarship Award (RASA) (multiple awards) 

Associate Editor   (2017-2020)

Preventing Chronic Disease, Public Health Research, Practice and Policy.

Transdisciplinary Science Award.  Centers for Behavioral Medicine. Brown Medical

Transdisciplinary Science Award., Centers for Behavioral Medicine, Brown Medical School

New Investigator Symposia Award, Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

Partial selected list. Please see my CV for complete list of publications.

Shenassa ED, Rogers ML, Buka Sl. Maternal smoking during pregnancy, offspring smoking, adverse childhood experiences and risk of major depression: A sibling design study. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2021 Feb 25;23(3):14. doi: 10.1007/s11920-021-01223-1. PMID: 33630175.

Shenassa ED.  Antenatal depression and preterm birth: Pathophysiology, epidemiology, and disparities due to structural racism. Current Psychiatry Rep. 2021 Feb 25;23(3):14. doi: 10.1007/s11920-021-01223-1. PMID: 33630175.

Shenassa ED, Gleason J, De Silva D. Maryland Health Care Commission, Baltimore, MD. Narrative synthesis of risk factors for infant mortality among African American and rural populations in the U.S., 2019.

Gleason J, Shenassa ED, Thoma M. Stressful life events, the incidence of infertility, and the moderating effect of maternal responsiveness: A longitudinal study. J Dev Orig Hlth Dis. 2020. Disease doi: 10.1017/S2040174420000690

Shenassa ED, *Williams A. Area-level poverty, ambient air volatile organic compounds and cardiometabolic dysfunction: A cross-sectional study of US adolescents. Annal Epidemiol. 2020; 48:15-22.

Shenassa ED, Kinsey C, Moser Jones M, Fahey J. Gestational Weight Gain: Historical evolution of a contested health outcome. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2017;72(7):445-453. doi: 10.1097/OGX.0000000000000459.

Downes K, Shenassa ED, Grantz K. Neonatal outcomes associated with placental abruption. Am J Epidemiol. 2017;186(12):1319-1328. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx202Shenassa ED, Rossen LM, Telomere length and age-at-menopause in the US, Maturitas.2015; 82: 215–221.

Downes K, Grantz K, Shenassa ED. Maternal, labor, delivery, and perinatal outcomes associated with placental abruption: A systematic review. Am J Perinatol. 2017; 34(10):935-957. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1599149. 

Vafai Y, Steinberg J, Shenassa ED. Maternal postpartum depressive symptoms and infant externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Infant Behav Dev. 2016; 42:119-27. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2015.12.002.

Shenassa, E. D., Paradis, A., Dolan, S., Wilhelm, C., and Buka, S. (2012). Childhood impulsive behaviors and problem gambling by adulthood: A 30-year prospective community-based study. Addiction, 107(1), 160-168.

Shenassa ED, Rossen LM. Telomere length and age-at-menopause in the US, Maturitas. 2015; 82(2): 215–221. doi: org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2015.07.009.

Shenassa ED, Papandonatos GD, Rogers ML, Buka SL. Elevated risk of nicotine dependence among sib-pairs discordant for maternal smoking during pregnancy: Evidence from a 40-year longitudinal study. Epidemiology. 2015; 26(3):441-7. doi: 10.1097/EDE. 0000000000000270.

McLaughlin MJ, Speirs KE, Shenassa ED. Reading disability and adult attained education and income:  A 30-year longitudinal study of a population-based sample. J Learn Disabil. 2014 Jul-Aug;47(4):374-86. doi: 10.1177/0022219412458323.

Lindberg, R.A., Shenassa, E.D., Acevedo-Garcia, D., Popkin, S.J., Villaveces, A., & Morley, R.L. Housing interventions at the neighborhood level and health: A review of the evidence. J Public Health Management Practice, 2010; 16(5):S44-S52.

Shenassa, E. D., Daskalakis, C., Liebhaber A., Braubach, M., & Brown, M. J. (2007). Dampness and mold in the home and depression: An examination of possible pathways. American Journal of Public Health.

Shenassa, E. D., Liebhaber, A., & Ezeamama, A. E. (2006). Perceived safety of area of residence and exercise: A pan-European study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 163(11), 1012-1017.

Shenassa, E. D., & Brown, M. J. (2004). Maternal smoking and infantile gastrointestinal dysregulation: The case of colic. Pediatrics, 114(4), e497-e506.

Shenassa, E. D., Stubbendick, A., & Brown, M. J. (2004). Social disparities in housing and related pediatric injury: A multilevel study. American Journal of Public Health, 94(4), 633-639.