Mendola to return to UB as chair of epidemiology and environmental health

By Grace Lazzara

Release Date: April 9, 2020

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Portrait of Pauline Mendola, who has been named the new chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at UB.
“Her body of work fits perfectly into our mission and adds to the department’s research portfolio in several areas, including maternal and child health. ”
Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, dean, School of Public Health and Health Professions
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Pauline Mendola earned her bachelor’s (’85), master’s (’90) and doctorate (’84) from the University at Buffalo. She started her professional career as a clerk in what is now the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health. After earning her PhD in epidemiology and community health, she served for a time as a faculty member in the department.

Now Mendola, a noted researcher on the environmental factors influencing women’s health and reproductive health across the life span, is coming back to the university as department chair.

After an extensive national search, she will join the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health in the School of Public Health and Health Professions this fall.

Mendola is currently a tenured investigator in the Epidemiology Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). She also has been an adjunct full professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2011.

Mendola’s research interests include the impact of chronic diseases in pregnancy and, later in life, chronic conditions that can be associated with pregnancy complications. She currently manages research projects — including clinical epidemiology, laboratory science and flow cytometry, exposure assessment and gene expression studies — with total budgets approaching $12 million.

“I am grateful that Dr. Mendola has chosen our school to further her professional career,” said Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions. “Her dedication, hard work and impeccable scholarship have led to remarkable success. Her body of work fits perfectly into our mission and adds to the department’s research portfolio in several areas, including maternal and child health.”

Mendola says she can’t wait to get started.

“Despite these trying times for the health of our nation, I am comforted by the strength of our profession in responding to the challenge,” Mendola said.

“Deep roots in Buffalo and a passion for environmental health fuel my enthusiasm about working with our faculty to make UB’s Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health a major force for leadership in population health research and practice,” Mendola added.

A prolific scholar with more than 160 peer-reviewed publications, Mendola serves as an associate editor for Fertility and Sterility, the journal for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Previous positions include serving as branch chief at the Environmental Protection Agency (2003-07) and the National Center for Health Statistics (2007-11), where she was part of a management team that led and developed scientific programs relevant for policy makers, advanced the science in areas with critical data gaps and provided data on the health of the nation.

She is the first investigator from the NICHD Division of Intramural Population Health Research invited to present in the NIH Director Seminar Series.

Mendola will succeed Jo L. Freudenheim, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor, who has successfully led the department for many years.

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