ks2-240x300Kelly Strutz is a new assistant professor in the Department of Public Health at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI, teaching courses in epidemiology and research methods. In general, she is interested in intersections between pregnancy, chronic disease risk, and health equity. Her research interests center on pregnancy as a critical etiologic period for women’s and infants’ health and health disparities. More specifically, she is interested in lifetime social, psychological, and biological influences on maternal health during pregnancy and on infant outcomes; effects of pregnancy and parenting on women’s chronic disease risk and mental health; implications of adverse infant health for later chronic disease; and understanding and addressing health disparities including those by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and residential characteristics.

She graduated with a PhD in Maternal and Child Health and a minor in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill. There she was a predoctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center, and in the training program in Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology. Her doctoral dissertation examined the effects of maternal acute and chronic preconception stressors on infant birthweight and racial/ethnic birthweight disparities in a national cohort, extending her previous research on timing of preconception behavioral/lifestyle risk factors and birthweight. She also has contributed to work on the fetal origins of adult chronic disease risk, and on health and health care disparities for sexual minority young adults.

As a postdoctoral fellow in perinatal epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Michigan State University, she examined effects of maternal blood pressure in pregnancy on mothers’ later hypertension risk, and contributed to work on main or interactive effects of maternal life course stressors and effortful coping on birth outcomes.

She received her MPH from the University of Rochester Department of Community and Preventive Medicine (now Public Health Sciences), and for her master’s thesis compared birth outcomes across differing degrees of residential rurality in the Finger Lakes region of New York.