Deborah Ehrenthal

Position title: Associate Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology


Phone: (608) 417-4224

McConnell Hall
1010 Mound Street Rm 416

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
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Curriculum Vitae


In 2014, I was recruited by UW-Madison and now hold the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families Endowed Chair, with joint appointments in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Population Health Sciences. I provided faculty leadership to the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families, and have built training and research in maternal and child health. I am a member of the faculty for the Master’s Program in Public Health and the Prevention Medicine Residency. I serve as an academic advisor and dissertation committee member to masters and doctoral students in the Department of Population Health Sciences doctoral programs in Population Health Sciences and Epidemiology, and mentor faculty and residents in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Prior to being recruited in 2014 to UW-Madison, I spent 22 years working as a clinician educator in Departments of Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynecology, including more than 10 years implementing and evaluating multidisciplinary programs in women’s health and maternal and child health. In sum, I developed and directed more than $10 million in state and federal contracts supporting clinical programs, community partnerships, and public health surveillance. In addition, I received research funding from the NIH, the Federal Office on Women’s Health, and other agencies.

At UW-Madison I have established training and research collaborations with many CDE faculty and affiliate investigators. I am Program Director of the Health Disparities Research Scholar Postdoctoral Training Program, funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, where many faculty, including Berger, Fletcher, Grodsky, Halpern-Meekin, Higgins, Nobles, Smeeding, and others serve as trainers and mentors. I hold affiliate appointments in the Institute for Research on Poverty, the Center for Demography and Ecology, and the La Follette School of Public Affairs.

I have built strong collaborations with the public health community in Wisconsin. I was a founding member of the Wisconsin Perinatal Quality Collaborative, am a member of the Wisconsin PRAMS Advisory Committee and the Wisconsin Maternal Mortality Review Team. I am a part of the UW evaluation team (which also includes CDE faculty Magnuson) for the Northeast Early Childhood Zone (funded by the Rennebohm Foundation). I also co-chair the UW Health Maternal and Child Health Steering Committee, a part of the Madison Health Council’s Initiative to Reduce Preterm Birth.

My own research focuses on three intersecting areas of women’s health and maternal and child health where health disparities are of fundamental importance:  perinatal health and health care, women’s cardiovascular disease, and child health. Much of my work explores the associations of women’s health and health care with perinatal outcomes of mothers and infants, guided by clinical and policy questions on the national agenda.  My 22 years working at a large academic community hospital have given me “in-the-trenches” experience designing and implementing programs targeting high-risk women in the clinical office practice and inpatient services.  In addition, I have developed methods to use data from electronic medical records, linked to other data sources, to study health care delivery and health disparities. I have also worked with investigators to imbed a co-parenting intervention into parent education classes, and examined its impact on birth and other outcomes.

CDE research theme area affiliations

Health and the Life Course; Demography of Inequality

Selected Publications

Bergmans, Rachel, Mari Palta, Stephanie Robert, Lawrence Berger, Deborah B. Ehrenthal, and Kristen Malecki. “Associations between Food Security Status and Dietary Inflammatory Potential within Lower-Income Adults from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Cycles 2007 to 2014.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics  (2018). PubMed Central ID 5971121.

Bergmans, Rachel, Lawrence M. Berger, Mari Palta, Stephanie A. Robert, Deborah B. Ehrenthal, and Kristen Malecki. “Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Maternal Depressive Symptoms: Moderation by Program Perception.” Social Science & Medicine 197 (2018): 1-8. PubMed Central ID 5763005.

Kramer, Renee D., Jennifer A. Higgins, Amy L. Godecker, and Deborah B. Ehrenthal. “Racial and Ethnic Differences in Patterns of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Use in the United States, 2011–2015.” Contraception 97, no. 5 (2018): 399-404. PubMed Central ID 5965256.

Haas, David M., Deborah B. Ehrenthal, Matthew A. Koch, Janet M. Catov, Shannon E. Barnes, Francesca Facco, Corrette B. Parker, et al. “Pregnancy as a Window to Future Cardiovascular Health: Design and Implementation of the Numom2b Heart Health Study.” American Journal of Epidemiology 183, no. 6 (2016): 519-30. PubMed Central ID 4782765.

Gregor, Laura, Patrick L. Remington, Kristen Malecki, and Deborah B. Ehrenthal. “Prevalence of Pre-Pregnancy Obesity, 2011–2014.” Wisconsin Medical Journal 115, no. 5 (2016): 228-32. PubMed Central ID 5298836.

Ehrenthal, Deborah B., Kristin Maiden, Stephanie Rogers, and Amy Ball. “Postpartum Healthcare after Gestational Diabetes and Hypertension.” Journal of Women’s Health 23, no. 9 (2014): 760-64. PubMed Central ID 4158990.