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 (Bea) J. van den Berg, Director Emeritus

Barbara van den Berg finished medical school in Leiden University in the Netherlands followed by pediatric residencies with a doctoral dissertation in 1956. Dr. van den Berg was then mainly interested in accidents in childhood and published several papers on the subject. In 1964 she was invited to join the CHDS where she found a very interesting research team chaired by Dr. Jacob Yerushalmy and an extensive data collection.

Initially, Dr. van den Berg worked with Dr. Yerushalmy on birth weight and gestation and later was interested in children's morbidity, in particular febrile and other convulsions. Another interest was the evaluation of drugs that were prescribed to pregnant women which could harm the unborn fetus.

Soon the developmental examination of five-year-olds was being designed which opened new sets of information for research. A few years later the 9-11 year old developmental exam followed, and in 1977-79, Dr. van den Berg instituted the adolescent development studies. These were quite special as mothers and their adolescent children participated in parallel measurements, and responded to interviews and questionnaires.

When Dr. Yerushalmy died in 1973, Dr. van den Berg became director of CHDS. She retired from this position in 2001. Dr. van den Berg was responsible for maintaining the high quality of the CHDS data over 40 years, including instituting follow-up for cancer. Her work made the CHDS data one of the only populations in the United States with detailed information on pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence that can be used to study early life determinants of cancer and other causes of premature disability and mortality in parents, children, and grandchildren.