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Jennifer Nelson, PhD

TitleSenior Investigator
InstitutionKaiser Permanente Washington
DepartmentHealth Research Institute
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0000-0218-0626 Additional info
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    Other Positions
    TitleDirector of Biostatistics
    InstitutionKaiser Permanente Washington
    DepartmentHealth Research Institute


    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview
    Jennifer Clark Nelson, PhD, is a senior investigator and biostatistician with expertise in methods to assess drug and vaccine safety and effectiveness. She is particularly interested in addressing methodological challenges that arise in post-marketing drug and vaccine safety studies that use large observational health care databases.

    Dr. Nelson provides national statistical leadership as a methods core lead and senior statistician for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Sentinel Initiative, an active surveillance system for monitoring the safety of all FDA-regulated medical products. She also leads methodological research within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), a national collaboration involving 10 managed care organizations that has monitored immunization safety in the United States since 1990.

    As part of both the VSD and Sentinel projects, Dr. Nelson works with her Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) colleague Andrea Cook, PhD to improve statistical methods for post-marketing drug and vaccine safety surveillance that leverage electronic data across multiple large health care systems. Their goal is to develop new sequential testing approaches that will rapidly and accurately identify adverse events not detected in pre-licensure studies. Her 2013 study of the safety of a pentavalent combination DTaP-IPV-Hib (Pentacel) vaccine put these ideas into practice and was selected as one of the 10 best articles of the year by the American Journal of Epidemiology and the Society for Epidemiologic Research.

    Dr. Nelson is an affiliate professor in biostatistics at the University of Washington (UW) and has been KPWHRI’s director of biostatistics since 2014. In collaboration with UW, she and Dr. Cook co-founded and organized the Seattle Symposium on Health Care Data Analytics, a conference designed to confront challenges and promote learning from electronic data to advance health and health care. In 2009, Dr. Nelson earned the VSD’s Margarette Kolczak Award for outstanding contributions in biostatistics and epidemiology in the field of vaccine safety. Before joining KPWHRI, Dr. Nelson served for four years as the deputy director of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Coordinating Center at the UW.

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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    1. Shortreed SM, Cook AJ, Coley RY, Bobb JF, Nelson JC. Challenges and Opportunities for Using Big Health Care Data to Advance Medical Science and Public Health. Am J Epidemiol. 2019 Mar 16. PMID: 30877288.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Nelson JM, Grossniklaus DA. Trends in Hospital Breastfeeding Policies in the United States from 2009-2015: Results from the Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care Survey. Breastfeed Med. 2019 Apr; 14(3):165-171. PMID: 30844300.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Barrera CM, Beauregard JL, Nelson JM, Perrine CG. Association of Maternity Care Practices and Policies with In-Hospital Exclusive Breastfeeding in the United States. Breastfeed Med. 2019 Feb 26. PMID: 30807205.
      View in: PubMed
    4. McClure JB, Anderson ML, Krakauer C, Blasi P, Bush T, Nelson J, Catz SL. Impact of a novel oral health promotion program on routine oral hygiene among socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers: results from a randomized semi-pragmatic trial. Transl Behav Med. 2019 Feb 12. PMID: 30753662.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Blasi PR, Krakauer C, Anderson ML, Nelson J, Bush T, Catz SL, McClure JB. Factors associated with future dental care utilization among low-income smokers overdue for dental visits. BMC Oral Health. 2018 11 01; 18(1):183. PMID: 30382910.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Jackson ML, Yu O, Nelson JC, Nordin JD, Tartof SY, Klein NP, Donahue JG, Irving SA, Glanz JM, McNeil MM, Jackson LA. Safety of repeated doses of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine in adults and adolescents. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2018 Aug; 27(8):921-925. PMID: 29862604.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Tseng HF, Sy LS, Qian L, Liu IA, Mercado C, Lewin B, Tartof SY, Nelson J, Jackson LA, Daley MF, Weintraub E, Klein NP, Belongia E, Liles EG, Jacobsen SJ. Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Safety in Elderly Adults. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2018 Jun; 5(6):ofy100. PMID: 29977960.
      View in: PubMed
    8. McClure JB, Bush T, Anderson ML, Blasi P, Thompson E, Nelson J, Catz SL. Oral Health Promotion and Smoking Cessation Program Delivered via Tobacco Quitlines: The Oral Health 4 Life Trial. Am J Public Health. 2018 May; 108(5):689-695. PMID: 29565660.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Jackson ML, Phillips CH, Benoit J, Kiniry E, Madziwa L, Nelson JC, Jackson LA. The impact of selection bias on vaccine effectiveness estimates from test-negative studies. Vaccine. 2018 01 29; 36(5):751-757. PMID: 29254838.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Hankey M, Kidwell KM, Nelson JM, Espy KA, Nelson TD. Weight Status as a Mediator of the Association Between Preschool Extraversion and Adolescent Restrained Eating. J Pediatr Psychol. 2017 09 01; 42(8):882-891. PMID: 28369620.
      View in: PubMed
    11. McClure JB, Blasi PR, Cook A, Bush T, Fishman P, Nelson J, Anderson ML, Catz SL. Corrigendum to "Oral health 4 life: Design and methods of a semi-pragmatic randomized trial to promote oral health care and smoking abstinence among tobacco quitline callers" [Contemp. Clin. Trials 57 (2017) 90-97]. Contemp Clin Trials. 2017 10; 61:133. PMID: 28750939.
      View in: PubMed
    12. McClure JB, Blasi PR, Cook A, Bush T, Fishman P, Nelson J, Anderson ML, Catz SL. Oral health 4 life: Design and methods of a semi-pragmatic randomized trial to promote oral health care and smoking abstinence among tobacco quitline callers. Contemp Clin Trials. 2017 06; 57:90-97. PMID: 28412230.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Glass JE, Rathouz PJ, Gattis M, Joo YS, Nelson JC, Williams EC. Intersections of poverty, race/ethnicity, and sex: alcohol consumption and adverse outcomes in the United States. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2017 05; 52(5):515-524. PMID: 28349171.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Nelson JC, Wellman R, Yu O, Cook AJ, Maro JC, Ouellet-Hellstrom R, Boudreau D, Floyd JS, Heckbert SR, Pinheiro S, Reichman M, Shoaibi A. A Synthesis of Current Surveillance Planning Methods for the Sequential Monitoring of Drug and Vaccine Adverse Effects Using Electronic Health Care Data. EGEMS (Wash DC). 2016; 4(1):1219. PMID: 27713904.
      View in: PubMed
    15. Nelson JM, Li R, Perrine CG, Scanlon KS. Public Opinions About Infant Feeding in the United States. Birth. 2016 12; 43(4):313-319. PMID: 27568829.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Gruber S, Chakravarty A, Heckbert SR, Levenson M, Martin D, Nelson JC, Psaty BM, Pinheiro S, Reich CG, Toh S, Walker AM. Design and analysis choices for safety surveillance evaluations need to be tuned to the specifics of the hypothesized drug-outcome association. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2016 09; 25(9):973-81. PMID: 27418432.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Nelson TD, James TD, Hankey M, Nelson JM, Lundahl A, Espy KA. Early executive control and risk for overweight and obesity in elementary school. Child Neuropsychol. 2017 Nov; 23(8):994-1002. PMID: 27187746.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Karwowski MP, Nelson JM, Staples JE, Fischer M, Fleming-Dutra KE, Villanueva J, Powers AM, Mead P, Honein MA, Moore CA, Rasmussen SA. Zika Virus Disease: A CDC Update for Pediatric Health Care Providers. Pediatrics. 2016 05; 137(5). PMID: 27009036.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Fleming-Dutra KE, Nelson JM, Fischer M, Staples JE, Karwowski MP, Mead P, Villanueva J, Renquist CM, Minta AA, Jamieson DJ, Honein MA, Moore CA, Rasmussen SA. Update: Interim Guidelines for Health Care Providers Caring for Infants and Children with Possible Zika Virus Infection--United States, February 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016 Feb 26; 65(7):182-7. PMID: 26914500.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Nelson JM, Li R, Perrine CG. Trends of US hospitals distributing infant formula packs to breastfeeding mothers, 2007 to 2013. Pediatrics. 2015 Jun; 135(6):1051-6. PMID: 26009631.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Nelson JM, Vos MB, Walsh SM, O'Brien LA, Welsh JA. Weight management-related assessment and counseling by primary care providers in an area of high childhood obesity prevalence: current practices and areas of opportunity. Child Obes. 2015 Apr; 11(2):194-201. PMID: 25585234.
      View in: PubMed
    22. Klein NP, Lewis E, Fireman B, Hambidge SJ, Naleway A, Nelson JC, Belongia EA, Yih WK, Nordin JD, Hechter RC, Weintraub E, Baxter R. Safety of measles-containing vaccines in 1-year-old children. Pediatrics. 2015 Feb; 135(2):e321-9. PMID: 25560438.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Hambidge SJ, Newcomer SR, Narwaney KJ, Glanz JM, Daley MF, Xu S, Shoup JA, Rowhani-Rahbar A, Klein NP, Lee GM, Nelson JC, Lugg M, Naleway AL, Nordin JD, Weintraub E, DeStefano F. Timely versus delayed early childhood vaccination and seizures. Pediatrics. 2014 Jun; 133(6):e1492-9. PMID: 24843064.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Weiner SD, Ahmed HN, Jin Z, Cushman M, Herrington DM, Nelson JC, Di Tullio MR, Homma S. Systemic inflammation and brachial artery endothelial function in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Heart. 2014 Jun; 100(11):862-6. PMID: 24714919.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Daley MF, Yih WK, Glanz JM, Hambidge SJ, Narwaney KJ, Yin R, Li L, Nelson JC, Nordin JD, Klein NP, Jacobsen SJ, Weintraub E. Safety of diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis and inactivated poliovirus (DTaP-IPV) vaccine. Vaccine. 2014 May 23; 32(25):3019-24. PMID: 24699471.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Xu S, Newcomer S, Nelson J, Qian L, McClure D, Pan Y, Zeng C, Glanz J. Signal detection of adverse events with imperfect confirmation rates in vaccine safety studies using self-controlled case series design. Biom J. 2014 May; 56(3):513-25. PMID: 24402780.
      View in: PubMed
    27. Glanz JM, Narwaney KJ, Newcomer SR, Daley MF, Hambidge SJ, Rowhani-Rahbar A, Lee GM, Nelson JC, Naleway AL, Nordin JD, Lugg MM, Weintraub ES. Association between undervaccination with diphtheria, tetanus toxoids, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine and risk of pertussis infection in children 3 to 36 months of age. JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Nov; 167(11):1060-4. PMID: 24019039.
      View in: PubMed
    28. Nelson JC, Marsh T, Lumley T, Larson EB, Jackson LA, Jackson ML. Validation sampling can reduce bias in health care database studies: an illustration using influenza vaccination effectiveness. J Clin Epidemiol. 2013 Aug; 66(8 Suppl):S110-21. PMID: 23849144.
      View in: PubMed
    29. Glanz JM, Newcomer SR, Narwaney KJ, Hambidge SJ, Daley MF, Wagner NM, McClure DL, Xu S, Rowhani-Rahbar A, Lee GM, Nelson JC, Donahue JG, Naleway AL, Nordin JD, Lugg MM, Weintraub ES. A population-based cohort study of undervaccination in 8 managed care organizations across the United States. JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Mar 01; 167(3):274-81. PMID: 23338829.
      View in: PubMed
    30. Nelson JC, Yu O, Dominguez-Islas CP, Cook AJ, Peterson D, Greene SK, Yih WK, Daley MF, Jacobsen SJ, Klein NP, Weintraub ES, Broder KR, Jackson LA. Adapting group sequential methods to observational postlicensure vaccine safety surveillance: results of a pentavalent combination DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine safety study. Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Jan 15; 177(2):131-41. PMID: 23292957.
      View in: PubMed
    31. Clark CA, Sheffield TD, Chevalier N, Nelson JM, Wiebe SA, Espy KA. Charting early trajectories of executive control with the shape school. Dev Psychol. 2013 Aug; 49(8):1481-93. PMID: 23106846.
      View in: PubMed
    32. Xu S, Zeng C, Newcomer S, Nelson J, Glanz J. Use of Fixed Effects Models to Analyze Self-Controlled Case Series Data in Vaccine Safety Studies. J Biom Biostat. 2012 Apr 19; Suppl 7:006. PMID: 24707443.
      View in: PubMed
    33. Nelson JC, Cook AJ, Yu O, Dominguez C, Zhao S, Greene SK, Fireman BH, Jacobsen SJ, Weintraub ES, Jackson LA. Challenges in the design and analysis of sequentially monitored postmarket safety surveillance evaluations using electronic observational health care data. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2012 Jan; 21 Suppl 1:62-71. PMID: 22262594.
      View in: PubMed
    34. Fireman B, Toh S, Butler MG, Go AS, Joffe HV, Graham DJ, Nelson JC, Daniel GW, Selby JV. A protocol for active surveillance of acute myocardial infarction in association with the use of a new antidiabetic pharmaceutical agent. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2012 Jan; 21 Suppl 1:282-90. PMID: 22262618.
      View in: PubMed
    35. Nelson JC, Cook AJ, Yu O, Zhao S, Jackson LA, Psaty BM. Methods for observational post-licensure medical product safety surveillance. Stat Methods Med Res. 2015 Apr; 24(2):177-93. PMID: 22138688.
      View in: PubMed
    36. Nelson JM, Griffin PM, Jones TF, Smith KE, Scallan E. Antimicrobial and antimotility agent use in persons with shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 infection in FoodNet Sites. Clin Infect Dis. 2011 May; 52(9):1130-2. PMID: 21467017.
      View in: PubMed
    37. Xu S, Zhang L, Nelson JC, Zeng C, Mullooly J, McClure D, Glanz J. Identifying optimal risk windows for self-controlled case series studies of vaccine safety. Stat Med. 2011 Mar 30; 30(7):742-52. PMID: 21394750.
      View in: PubMed
    38. Nelson JC, Bittner RC, Bounds L, Zhao S, Baggs J, Donahue JG, Hambidge SJ, Jacobsen SJ, Klein NP, Naleway AL, Zangwill KM, Jackson LA. Compliance with multiple-dose vaccine schedules among older children, adolescents, and adults: results from a vaccine safety datalink study. Am J Public Health. 2009 Oct; 99 Suppl 2:S389-97. PMID: 19797753.
      View in: PubMed
    39. Nelson JC, Jackson ML, Weiss NS, Jackson LA. New strategies are needed to improve the accuracy of influenza vaccine effectiveness estimates among seniors. J Clin Epidemiol. 2009 Jul; 62(7):687-94. PMID: 19124221.
      View in: PubMed
    40. Nelson JC, Jackson M, Yu O, Whitney CG, Bounds L, Bittner R, Zavitkovsky A, Jackson LA. Impact of the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine on rates of community acquired pneumonia in children and adults. Vaccine. 2008 Sep 08; 26(38):4947-54. PMID: 18662735.
      View in: PubMed
    41. Nelson JC, Jiang XC, Tabas I, Tall A, Shea S. Plasma sphingomyelin and subclinical atherosclerosis: findings from the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. Am J Epidemiol. 2006 May 15; 163(10):903-12. PMID: 16611667.
      View in: PubMed
    42. Nelson JC, Kronmal RA, Carr JJ, McNitt-Gray MF, Wong ND, Loria CM, Goldin JG, Williams OD, Detrano R. Measuring coronary calcium on CT images adjusted for attenuation differences. Radiology. 2005 May; 235(2):403-14. PMID: 15858082.
      View in: PubMed
    43. Carr JJ, Nelson JC, Wong ND, McNitt-Gray M, Arad Y, Jacobs DR, Sidney S, Bild DE, Williams OD, Detrano RC. Calcified coronary artery plaque measurement with cardiac CT in population-based studies: standardized protocol of Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. Radiology. 2005 Jan; 234(1):35-43. PMID: 15618373.
      View in: PubMed
    44. Nelson JM, Smith KE, Vugia DJ, Rabatsky-Ehr T, Segler SD, Kassenborg HD, Zansky SM, Joyce K, Marano N, Hoekstra RM, Angulo FJ. Prolonged diarrhea due to ciprofloxacin-resistant campylobacter infection. J Infect Dis. 2004 Sep 15; 190(6):1150-7. PMID: 15319866.
      View in: PubMed
    45. Bild DE, Bluemke DA, Burke GL, Detrano R, Diez Roux AV, Folsom AR, Greenland P, Jacob DR, Kronmal R, Liu K, Nelson JC, O'Leary D, Saad MF, Shea S, Szklo M, Tracy RP. Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis: objectives and design. Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Nov 01; 156(9):871-81. PMID: 12397006.
      View in: PubMed
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