UW Researcher Honored by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Karen J. Cruickshanks, Ph.D., received a Distinguished Alumni Award for Research from the University of Pittsburgh graduate school in Public Health at the school’s alumni reunion May 16. Dr. Cruickshanks, a professor in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, was honored for her work on the link between subclinical vascular and inflammatory markers and the sensory and neurological disorders of aging, and generational differences in aging. Dr. Cruickshanks is chair of the Data Monitoring and Oversight Committee for the Conservation of Hearing Study and the Data and Safety Monitoring Board for the Therapeutic Effects of Cataract Removal in Alzheimer’s disease clinical trial.

Dr. Cruickshanks was honored with four other alumni.

“It is an honor to recognize these distinguished alumni for their commitment to advancing public health through research, teaching and community service,” – Donald S. Burke, MD, Pitt Public Health dean and UPMC-Jonas Salk Chair of Global Health.

Dr. Cruickshanks earned her PhD in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in 1990. She also has an appointment in the Department of Population Health.

Dr. Cruickshanks is studying the health problems of aging via two epidemiological population-based cohort studies. The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study is funded by the National Institute on Aging to study hearing, olfaction, cognition, physical function and quality of life in 3500 older residents of Beaver Dam.

In 2004, a new cohort study was funded by the National Institute of Aging, National Eye Institute and National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to study the adult offspring of these participants (ages 21-74 yrs in 2005). This multi-generational study of the Beaver Dam families will help researchers understand the genetic and environmental factors which contribute to age-related sensory impairments and provide new epidemiologic data on the prevalence of sensory impairments (vision, hearing, smell, and taste), sensory disorders, and subclinical atherosclerosis in the post-war baby-boomer generation.