About Us

About Us History Participant Advisory Council (PAC) CHDS Staff
Current Staff
Barbara A. Cohn Piera M. Cirillo
Former Directors
Barbara (Bea) J. van den Berg Jacob Yerushalmy

CHDS Staff

Barbara A. Cohn, Director

Barbara Cohn

Barbara A. Cohn is an epidemiologist who earned her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 1984. She became co-director of the Child Health and Development Studies in 1997 and director in 2001.

In addition to her responsibility as director of the Child Health and Development Studies, Dr. Cohn directs an active research program that addresses these questions:

  • How pregnancy protects mothers against breast cancer
  • How exposures in the womb affect the risk of cancer and other diseases
  • How exposures to environmental chemicals before birth affect the growth and reproductive health of men and women

Dr. Cohn studies how pregnancy protects against breast cancer. She is searching for natural protective mechanisms that can be used to prevent or treat breast cancer. She collaborates with CHDS staff scientists Piera Cirillo and Roberta Christianson in this work.

Dr. Cohn also studies the health effects of exposures to hormonally active environmental chemicals. She is investigating effects of environmental chemicals on breast cancer in CHDS mothers. She is also investigating the effects of exposures to environmental chemicals before birth on the reproductive health of CHDS daughters and sons who are now having children of their own. In a newly launched 3 Generations Study of Breast Cancer, Dr. Cohn is investigating how exposures to environmental chemicals in the womb affect the risk of breast cancer for daughters and growth and development of granddaughters.


  1. Cohn, B.A., Cirillo, P.M., Christianson, R.E., Prenatal DDT Exposure and Testicular Cancer: A Nested Case-Control Study. Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health. in press 2010.
  2. Mongraw-Chaffin, M.L., Cirillo, P.M., Cohn, B.A., Preeclampsia and Cardiovascular Disease Death: Prospective Evidence From the Child Health and Development Studies Cohort. Hypertension, 2010. 56(1): p. 166-171.
  3. Park, J.S., Petreas, M., Cohn, B.A., Cirillo, P.M., Factor-Litvak, P., Hydroxylated PCB metabolites (OH-PCBs) in archived serum from 1950-60s California mothers: a pilot study. Environment International, 2009. 35(6): p. 937-42.
  4. Mongraw-Chaffin, M.L., Cohn, B.A., Anglemyer, A.T., Cohen, R.D., Christianson, R.E., Maternal Smoking, Alcohol, and Coffee Use during Pregnancy and Son's Risk of Testicular Cancer. Alcohol - An International Biomedical Journal, 2009. 43: p. 241-245.
  5. Eskenazi, B., Chevrier, J.,Rosas, L.G., Anderson, H.A., Bornman, M.S., Bouwman, H., Chen, A., Cohn, B.A., de Jager, C., Henshel, D.S., Leipzig, F., Leipzig, J.S., Lorenz, E.C., Snedeker, S.M., Stapleton, D. The Pine River Statement: Human Health Consequences of DDT Use. Environmental Health Perspective, 2009. 117(9): p. 1359-67.
  6. Mongraw-Chaffin, M.L., Cohn, B.A., Cohen, R.D., Christianson, R.E., Maternal Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Caffeine Consumption during Pregnancy in Relation to a Son's Risk of Persistent Cryptorchidism: A Prospective Study in the Child Health and Development Studies Cohort, 1959-1967. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2008. 167(3): p. 257-61.
  7. Cohn, B.A., Wolff, M.S., Cirillo, P.M., Sholtz, R.I., DDT and Breast Cancer in Young Women: New Data on the Significance of Age at Exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2007. 115(10): p. 1406-1414.
  8. Tsai, C.J., Cohn, B.A., Cirillo, P.M., Feldman, D., Stanczyk, F.Z., Whittemore, A.S., Sex steroid hormones in young manhood and the risk of subsequent prostate cancer: a longitudinal study in African-Americans and Caucasians. Cancer Cases and Control, 2006. 17(10): p. 1237-1244.
  9. McIntyre, M., Cohn B.A., Ellison, P., Sex Dimorphism in the Digital Formulae of Children. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2006. 129(1): p. 143-50.
  10. Whittemore, A.S., Cirillo, P.M., Feldman, D., Cohn, B.A., Prostate specific antigen levels in young adulthood predict prostate cancer risk: results from a cohort of Black and White Americans. Journal of Urology, 2005. 174(3): p. 872-6; discussion 876.
  11. Stevens, R.G., Cohen, R.D., Terry, M.B., Lasley, B.L., Siiteri, P., Cohn, B.A., Alcohol consumption and serum hormone levels during pregnancy. Alcohol, 2005. 36(1): p. 47-53.
  12. Cohn, B.A., Cirillo, P.M., Wolff, M.S., Schwingl, P.J., Cohen, R.D., Sholtz, R.I., Ferrara, A, Christianson, R.E., van den Berg, B.J., Siiteri, P.K., DDT and DDE exposure in mothers and time to pregnancy in daughters. Lancet, 2003. 361: p. 2205-6.
  13. Cohn, B.A., Wingard, D.L., Patterson, R.C., McPhee, S.J., Gerbert, B., The National DES Education Program: effectiveness of the California Health Provider Intervention. Journal of Cancer Education, 2002. 17(1): p. 40-45.
  14. Cohn, B.A., Overstreet, J.W., Fogel, R.J., Brazil, C.K., Baird, D.D., Cirillo, P.M., Epidemiologic studies of human semen quality: considerations for study design. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2002. 155(7): p. 664-71.
  15. Cohn, B.A., Cirillo, P.M., Christianson, R.E., van den Berg, B.J., Siiteri, P.K., Placental characteristics and reduced risk of maternal breast cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2001. 93(15): p. 1133-40.
  16. Cohn, B.A., Cirillo, P.M., Wingard, D.L., Austin, D.F., Roffers, S.D., Gender differences in hospitalizations for IDDM among adolescents in California, 1991. Diabetes Care, 1997. 20(11): p. 1677-82.
  17. Wingard, D.L., Cohn, B.A., Helmrich, S.P., Edelstein, S.L., DES awareness and exposure: the 1994 California Behavioral Risk Factor Survey. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1996. 12(5): p. 437-41.
  18. Cohn, B.A., Wingard, D.L., Cirillo, P.M., Cohen,R.D., Reynolds, P.,Kaplan, G.A., Re: Differences in lung cancer risk between men and women: examination of the evidence. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1996. 88(24): p. 1867.
  19. Goldschmid, G.G., Barrett-Connor, E.L., Edelstein, S.L., Wingard, D.L., Cohn, B.A., Herman, W.H., Dyslipidemia and ischemic heart disease mortality among men and women with diabetes. Circulation, 1994. 89: p. 991-997.
  20. Wingard, D.L., Cohn, B.A., Cirillo, P.M., Cohen, R.D., Kaplan, G.A., Gender differences in self-reported heart disease morbidity: are intervention opportunities missed for women? Journal of Women's Health, 1992. 1(3): p. 201-208.
  21. Scheidt, N.C., Barrett-Connor, E.L., Wingard, D.L., Cohn, B.A., Edelstein, S.L., Sex differences in fasting glycemia as a risk factor for ischemic heart disease death. American Journal of Epidemiology, 1991. 133(6): p. 565-76.
  22. Barrett-Connor, E.L., Cohn, B.A., Wingard, D.L., Edelstein, S.L., Why is diabetes mellitus a stronger risk factor for fatal ischemic heart disease in women than in men? The Rancho Bernardo study. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1991. 265(5): p. 627-630.
  23. Cohn, B.A., Wingard, D.L., Cohen, R.D., Cirillo, P.M., Kaplan, G.A., Sex differences in time from self-reported heart trouble to heart disease death in the Alameda County Study. Significance of time dependence of risk variable effects. American Journal of Epidemiology, 1990. 131(3): p. 434-42.
  24. Wingard, D.L., Cohn, B.A., Kaplan, G.A., Cirillo, P.M., Cohen, R.D., Sex differentials in morbidity and mortality risks examined by age and cause in the same cohort. American Journal of Epidemiology, 1989. 130(3): p. 601-610.
  25. Cohn, B.A., Brand, R.J., Hulley, S.B., Correlates of high density lipoprotein cholesterol in women studied by the method of cotwin control. American Journal of Epidemiology, 1989. 129(5): p. 988-999.
  26. Kaplan, G.A., Cohn, B.A., Cohen, R.D., Guralnik, J., The decline in ischemic heart disease mortality: prospective evidence from the Alameda County Study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 1988. 127(6): p. 1131-42.
  27. Cohn, B.A., Kaplan, G.A., Cohen, R.D., Did early detection and treatment contribute to the decline in ischemic heart disease mortality? Prospective evidence from the Alameda County Study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 1988. 127(6): p. 1143-54.