Dr. Martha Werler, chair of the department of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), has received the Godfrey P. Oakley, Jr., Award from the National Birth Defects Prevention Network. Dr. Werler (SPH ’89) was honored for her significant contributions to the field of birth defects over the course of three decades. Throughout her career, Dr. Werler has focused on perinatal and pediatric epidemiology and began studying risk factors for various birth defects in 1982 as an MPH student at the University of Michigan.
She and colleagues conducted the first study to identify that children born to women who take 400 micrograms of folic acid (the dose found in most over-the-counter multivitamins) in early pregnancy have a significantly lower risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects. Her continued research into neural tube defects has identified other risk factors such as maternal obesity, diabetes, and dietary glycemic index.
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