CTSI Welcomes Margaret Demment to Informatics Team

Whether it’s coming from Upstate New York or Antarctica, Margaret Demment can help you make sense of that data.

“My training is in community nutrition, which is the public health side of nutrition, so I’ve studied health disparities and how to improve health in vulnerable populations. I’ve done qualitative work, quantitative work, large epidemiological studies, and smaller stuff,” said Demment. “So here, I’ll get to be a utility player and help with lots of different things.”

Margaret Demment, Ph.D.

Margaret Demment, Ph.D.

Previously a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University, Demment is one of the newest additions to the rapidly-growing CTSI Biomedical Informatics team, and she’s already begun work on a variety of projects.

Alongside Tim Dye, Ph.D., the director of the CTSI’s Biomedical Informatics team, she’s currently helping to create and study a massive data set called the Perinatal Data Network. The data, collected from more than 1 million women in Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and Buffalo over the past decade, gives a snapshot of the women’s health just after giving birth.

Demment and Dye would eventually like to make this data set accessible to researchers, but for now, Demment is studying the implications of an unwanted pregnancy on the health outcomes for the mother and child. Unwanted pregnancies are relatively rare, but the large dataset is allows her to perform the analysis previously impossible in other datasets.

A second project she’s involved in involves a qualitative analysis of a series of interviews conducted with researchers and workers in Antarctica.

“Many people go there because they think it’s going to be an adventure, but they end up working 6-day weeks, often long days, often in the dark depending on the time of year,” said Demment. “So people start seeking that adventure and often get injured, so we’re trying to pull out some themes that emerge from these interviews and provide information that would help with injury education and prevention.”

That Demment is capable of working on such wildly different projects is among the reasons that she joined the CTSI Biomedical Informatics team.

“Meg is perfectly suited to work in our research group — she’s got substantial qualitative and quantitative expertise, and importantly, has serious community engagement experience locally and internationally,” said Dye. “Her field is nutrition, which is inherently team-science oriented, so she’s used to working with a range of disciplines, which complements our team’s multidisciplinary orientation.”

Demment is currently working at the university part time. She’s also still finishing up some work at Cornell, while maintaining a side business that performs data analysis and program evaluation for community health organizations in Rochester.

Her office is within the CTSI Director’s Suite; stop by and say hello.

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