Dawn Misra, Ph.D.
Associate Chair for Research

Departmental Role

I am the Associate Chair for Research and a professor in the Department of Family Medicine. I am an epidemiologist with expertise in perinatal and social epidemiology. Much of my work focuses on racial and socioeconomic disparities in perinatal health with an emphasis on preterm birth. In 2008, I co-chaired the Psychosocial Factors Workgroup for the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General Conference on Preterm Birth. I am currently on the editorial board for the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.

My research focuses on social and biomedical factors which may influence perinatal outcomes and which may explain the increased risks of infants born to poor and minority women. This includes examining the intersection between women's health prior to pregnancy and outcomes of pregnancy. I have proposed a framework for perinatal health that integrates a lifespan approach with a multiple determinants model (Misra, Guyer & Allston, 2003). The lifespan perspective focuses attention toward the preconceptional and interconceptional periods as targets for intervention in improving perinatal health. The multiple determinants model distinguishes between concepts of disease, health and functioning, and well-being among both women and their offspring.


Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, BA Social and Behavioral Sciences/Public Health, 1988

Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, MHS, Maternal and Child Health, 1989

Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New York, New York, MPhil, Epidemiology, 1992

Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New York, New York, PhD, Epidemiology, 1993

Training and Experience

Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Community Health & Social Medicine, City University of New York Medical School, New York, NY, 1993-1994

Project Director, Harlem Prevention Center, School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, 1994-1995

Assistant Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 1995-2001

Associate Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 2001-2008

Director, Reproductive and Women's Health Interdepartmental Curriculum Concentration, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 2003-2007

Professor (2013-present), Associate Professor (2008-2013),Tenure (2010), Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.

Major research interests

Epidemiology, health disparities, preterm birth, developmental origins of health and disease, infection, placenta, autism, prenatal obesity

Selected publications
Yampolsky, M, Salafia, CM, Misra, DP, Shlakhter,O, Gill, JS. (2013). Is the placental disk really an ellipse? Placenta. 34(4):391-3.

Straughen, JK, Caldwell, CH, Osypuk, TL, Helmkamp, L, Misra, DP. (2013). Direct and Proxy Recall of Childhood Socio-Economic Position and Health. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. 27(3): 294-302.

Straughen, JK, Misra, D, Kumar, P, Misra, VK. (2013). The influence of overweight and obesity on maternal soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 and its relationship to leptin during pregnancy. Reproductive Sciences. 20(3): 269-275. Online August 7, 2012.

Srinivasan, U, Ponnaluri, S, Villareal, L, Gillespie, B, Wen, A, Miles, A, Bucholz, B, Marrs, CF, Iyer, RK, Misra, D, Foxman, B. (2012). Gram stains: a resource for retrospective analysis of bacterial pathogens in clinical studies. PLoS One. 7(10):e42898.

Misra, DP, Salafia, CM, Charles, AK, Miller, RK. (2012). Placental measurements associated with IQ at age 7 years. Journal of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 3(3): 190-197.

Osypuk, TL, Caldwell, CH, Platt, R, Misra, D. (2012). The Consequences of Foreclosure for Depressive Symptomatology. Annals of Epidemiology. 22(6): 379-387.

Vahratian A, Misra, VK, Trudeau, S, Misra, DP. (2010). Pre-pregnancy body mass index and time-dependent changes in lipid levels during pregnancy. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 116(1):107-113.

Misra, DP, Strobino, D, Trabert, B. (2010) Effects of social and psychosocial factors on risk of preterm birth in Black women. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. 24(6):546-54.

Misra, DP, Caldwell, C, Young, A, Abelson, S (2010) Do Fathers Matter? Paternal contributions to birth outcomes and racial disparities. American Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. 202(2): 99-100.

Salafia, C, Yampolsky, M, Misra, D, Shlakhter, O, Haas, D, Eucker, B, Thorp, J. (2010)  Placental surface shape, function, and effects of maternal and fetal vascular pathology. Placenta. 31(11):  958-962.

Misra, DP, Salafia, CM, Miller, RK, and Charles, AK. (2009.) Non-linear and gender-specific relationships for placental growth measures with birth weight and the fetoplacental weight ratio. Placenta. 30(12): 1052-1057.

Salafia CM, Misra DP, Miles, J. (2009.)  Methodologic issues in the study of the relationship between infection and preterm birth.  Placenta. 30(12): 988-993.

Grason, H, Misra, DP. (2009.) Reducing Exposure to Environmental Toxicants Before Birth: Moving from Risk Perception to Risk Reduction. Public Health Reports. 124(5).

Trabert, B, Misra, DP.  (2007). Risk factors for bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy among African American women. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 197(5): 477.e1-e8.

Misra, D.P. and Trabert, B (2007). Protective effects of vaginal douching on risk of preterm birth. American Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. 196(2): 140.e1-140.e8.

Misra, DP, Astone, N, Lynch, CD.  (2005). Maternal smoking and birth weight:  Interaction with parity and mother’s own in utero exposure to smoking. Epidemiology. 16(3): 288-293.

Misra, DP, Grason, H., Liao, M., Allston, A., Strobino, D. (2004). The nationwide evaluation of Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) programs: Assessing the development and implementation of recommendations and contributions to public health functions by FIMR programs. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 8(4), 217-229

Misra, DP, Guyer, B, Allston, A. (2003). Integrated perinatal health framework: A multiple determinants model with a lifespan approach. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 25, 65-75

Misra, DP, Ananth, CV. (2002). Infant mortality among singletons and twins in the United States during 2 decades:  Effects of maternal age. Pediatrics. 110:1163-1168.

Misra, D.P., O'Campo, P., Strobino, D. (2001). Testing a sociomedical model for preterm delivery. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 15(2), 110-122

Misra, D.P., Grason, H., Weisman, C. (2000). An intersection of women's and perinatal health: The role of chronic conditions. Women's Health Issues, 10(5), 256-267

Misra, D.P., Strobino, D.S., Stashinko, E.E., Nagey, D.A., Nanda, J. (1998). Effects of physical activity on preterm birth. American Journal of Epidemiology. 147: 628-635

Misra, D.P., and Guyer, B. (1998). Benefits and limitations of prenatal care. From counting visits to measuring content. Journal of the American Medical Association, 279, 1661-1662

Current Funded Research
PI: D Misra
Impact of Racism on Risk of Preterm Birth in Black Women.
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development
2008- 2013

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