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Jacobs Institute of Womens Health & Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Grant Supports Study of Women
and Adverse Birth Outcomes


February 11, 1998, Washington, DC - William G. Swartz, MS, of Dartmouth Medical School and the New Hampshire State Cancer Registry, has been chosen as the 1998 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health - Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Scholar this month from a field of 75 applicants.

Swartz will use the $30,000 12-month grant to examine the association between occupational demands and the risk of adverse birth outcomes for active duty women of childbearing age in the US Army during the years 1980-1994. He will specifically assess the effects of work-related physical demands, such as lifting and carrying, and non-physical demands upon the risk of early fetal loss, spontaneous abortion, pre-term birth, and low birth weight.

The Total Army Injury and Health Outcomes Database, the source of the data, contains information on more than a million women in the eligible study population, including demographic, occupational, hospitalization, and health risk variables. It also contains Military Occupational Specialty codes and US Department of Labor Occupational Title codes. Mr. Swartz stated that, "These categorizations will allow us to assess similarities in civilian and military working conditions linked to adverse birth outcomes."

The impact of work on birth outcomes has been controversial with prior research focusing mainly on womens exposure to chemicals on the job. "Working during pregnancy, once relatively uncommon, is now the norm. Yet there is no definitive information about the impact of different types of work on pregnancy complications. The Total Army Injury and Health Outcomes Database is an especially rich one, and Dr. Swartzs project will no doubt be a major contribution to our knowledge in this area," said Martha Romans, Jacobs Institute Executive Director. Physical exertion or work organization (hours worked, work speed, mental stress) may be the most common exposure of women in any occupation. This study aims to identify exposures that cause negative birth outcomes in both civilian and military women. 

Mr. Swartz is a Research Associate at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School. He also is completing a doctoral degree in epidemiology at the Department of Work Environment, College of Engineering, University of Massachusetts. He is a member of the Society for Epidemiological Research.

The Jacobs Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge, practice, and understanding of women's health care. At the completion of the study, the results will be published in the Jacobs Institute's official, bimonthly journal, Women's Health Issues.

Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, is a leader in women's health care. The company makes and markets prescription products in several therapeutic categories, including womens health, central nervous system, infectious diseases and pain management.

Finding ways to improve the delivery of health care services to women is the focus of the annual Jacobs Institute - Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Scholar in Women's Health award. Research that considers the changing health care environment, the unmet need for primary and preventive health services, the historic lack of research on women's health, and the importance of social, cultural, legal, economic, and behavioral factors influencing the financing and delivery of health care to women is eligible. The application deadline for the 1999 award is October 15, 1998.

For information on membership or for grant instructions, contact the Jacobs Institute at (202) 863-4990 or check our home page at http://jiwh.org. 

# # #

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Shannon R. Mouton
The Jacobs Institute
(202) 863-4989