Diane S. Lauderdale Ph.D., M.A.

Professor and Chair
Department of Public Health Sciences
University of Chicago
Email: dlauderd@uchicago.edu Discipline: Epidemiology Expertise: Health Care Inequalities, Public and Population Health, Immigration

Investigator Award
Prenatal Care: Wise or Wasteful?
Award Year: 2006 What exactly is prenatal care and why doesn't it seem to work? After two decades of investment, advocacy, and research, more women are getting prenatal care than ever and rates of preterm birth continue to rise. Co-investigators John Lantos, M.D. and Diane S. Lauderdale, Ph.D. reject the traditional view of prenatal care as a preventive intervention that prevents preterm birth. Instead, prenatal care may work primarily by detecting problems early in pregnancy, increasing the need for obstetrical intervention, and increasing the rate of preterm birth. Better neonatal care for preterm babies then allows better infant survival. In Prenatal Care: Wise or Wasteful?, Lantos and Lauderdale review the recent history of health policies aimed at pregnant women, analyze data on shifting risk factors, and reconsider the goals of prenatal care and their bioethical implications. Their study should help policymakers better understand what prenatal care can achieve and how it might be improved.


Diane Sperling Lauderdale is a professor and chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Chicago. She received an A.B. in the Comparative Study of Religion from Harvard, M.A. degrees in Divinity and Library Science from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Public Health (Epidemiology) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Lauderdale has two broad research areas: the association between immigration and health and social determinants of health and health behaviors. Her work on immigration and health has concentrated on overcoming the challenges of inadequate and inconsistent data about immigrants from Asia and on the measurement and interpretation of acculturation and perceived discrimination. Several current projects in health behaviors focus on the epidemiology of sleep, including studies of how sleep duration and quality are distributed in the population, how different measurement methods influence findings and how sleep affects health. Dr. Lauderdale is also associate director of the Center on the Demography and Economics of Aging at the University of Chicago and NORC. She serves on the editorial board of Genetic Epidemiology and on the board of directors of the Society of Biodemography and Social Biology. Dr. Lauderdale teaches graduate courses on epidemiologic methods and college courses on the history of public health and medicine.