Emily Oken, MD, MPH
Year elected: 2019
Current membership category: Active
Harvard Medical School
Department of Population Medicine
401 Park Drive Suite 401
Boston, MA 02215
United States of America
Dr. Oken Directs the Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse within the department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the influence of nutrition and other modifiable factors during pregnancy and early childhood on long-term maternal and child health, especially cardiometabolic health and cognitive development. She has also led a number of studies examining predictors and sequelae of maternal overweight, weight gain, and related conditions such as gestational diabetes mellitus in the peripartum period. Her work on the toxicant risks and nutrient benefits of prenatal fish consumption has influenced national guidelines for fish consumption during pregnancy, helping to shift the previous focus of risk-only or benefit-only studies to a broader emphasis on the overall health effects of fish consumption for mother and baby. She has also published widely on perinatal influences on child health including asthma and atopy. In support of this work she has led longitudinal studies commencing in the peripartum period and following mothers and children throughout childhood. She is Principal Investigator of Project Viva, a unique US pre-birth cohort study that has followed pregnant women and their children since 1999. She is also PI and a co-leader of the team assessing cardio-metabolic, respiratory, and neurocognitive outcome measures on children enrolled 1996-7 in the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT), a cluster-randomized trial of breastfeeding promotion in the Republic of Belarus. She has served on committees to develop maternal nutrition guidelines both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Oken’s commitment to research mentorship and promoting diversity has been recognized with a K24 mid-career development grant from NICHD, and the Young Mentor Award and A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Awards at HMS. She chairs her departmental diversity committee and received the Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award at HMS. She serves on the HMS Council of Mentors. Within the Department of Population Medicine, she is Vice-Chair, Director of Faculty Development, and site director for the Harvard General Medicine fellowship. At Harvard Medical School she is Associate Director and Advisor in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society. She co-Directs the Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health curriculum for first year medical students at HMS. For 15 years she practiced as a primary care physician in the Gretchen and Edward Fish Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.