My research interests evolved from a career in public health that transformed into a passion for understanding and interrupting the intergenerational effects of poverty, trauma and other psychosocial adversities.
My research has included quasi-experimental studies to estimate home visiting effectiveness as a strategy to improve early recognition and treatment of developmental delays, to reduce pediatric unintentional injury and increase utilization of pediatric primary care.
My main focus is the epidemiology of early adversity and in particular, social and behavioral epigenomics. My research objectives are to elucidate the psychosocial and biological mechanisms that mediate the effects of early adversity on child development and behavior. Long-term, my goal is to translate this knowledge into new tools and strategies to better stratify risk and to optimize the impact of prevention programs, such as early childhood home visiting.
I have demonstrated the intergenerational effects of parental trauma on child development across multiple domains. This led to the discovery of epidemiologic associations between the early environment and offspring epigenetic differences associated with child social-emotional functioning. Next steps are to identify and characterize epigenomic predictors of elevated developmental and behavioral risk in vulnerable populations.
My research is supported by several sources, including:
I’m the director of evaluation and epidemiologic research for the Every Child Succeeds program, based at Cincinnati Children's. I’ve been a researcher for more than 14 years and began my work at Cincinnati Children's in 2012.
PhD: Epidemiology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 2012.
MS: Epidemiology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 2006.
BS: Health Science, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, 2002.
Research evaluation of prevention programs; early childhood home visiting; interpersonal trauma and psychosocial adversity; child development; social epigenomics
Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Child Abuse Prevention
Impact of Screening and Co-located Parent Coaching Within Pediatric Primary Care on Child Health Care Use: A Stepped Wedge Design. Prevention Science. 2023; 24:173-185.
Epigenome-wide association of neonatal methylation and trimester-specific prenatal PM2.5 exposure. Environmental Epidemiology. 2022; 6:e227.
Epigenome-Wide Association of Neonatal Methylation and Prenatal PM2.5 Exposure Suggests Timing-Specific Effects. ISEE Conference Abstracts. 2022; 2022.
Enrollment and outcomes of home visiting for mothers with and without a history of out-of-home care. Infant Mental Health Journal. 2022; 43:797-807.
Association Between Maternal Adverse Childhood Experiences and Neonatal SCG5 DNA Methylation-Effect Modification by Prenatal Home Visiting. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2022; 191:636-645.
Association of Age of Enrollment in Early Intervention with Emergent Literacy in Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 2022; 43:104-110.
Substance Use and Utilization of Prenatal and Postpartum Care. Journal of Addiction Medicine. 2022; 16:84-92.
Pregnancy and Infant Development (PRIDE)-a preliminary observational study of maternal adversity and infant development. BMC Pediatrics. 2021; 21:452.
Alonzo T. Folger, PhD, MS, Robert T. Ammerman, PhD, ABPP4/27/2022
Alonzo T. Folger, PhD, MS, Katherine A. Bowers, PhD, MPH3/21/2022