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Jennifer Rusiecki is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Uniformed Services University (USU), Bethesda, MD. She received a Ph.D. in epidemiology from Yale University in 2002 and a joint Master of Public Health (MPH)-Master of Environmental Studies (MES) from Yale University in 1998. Dr. Rusiecki completed a post-doctoral fellowship in cancer epidemiology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics in 2005. Later that year, she joined the faculty at the Uniformed Services University, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics. Her background is in occupational and environmental epidemiology. Her research focus is on both environmental and occupational determinants of disease in human populations, with an emphasis on exposures to pesticides, persistent organic pollutants, industrial exposures (asbestos, solvents, lead, oils/greases, wood dust), and exposures in disaster response settings, in particular oil spills. She teaches “Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology” and co-teaches “Epidemiologic Methods” at USU.

In the last decade, Dr. Rusiecki initiated a prospective cohort study of Coast Guard responders who were involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean-up in 2010. This study is helping to elucidate both acute and long term health effects of exposures related to oil spill clean-up work and disaster response. She has also focused on other disaster responder populations, including the Hurricane Katrina Coast Guard responders.

Dr. Rusiecki is a retired Coast Guard Reserve officer. After graduating from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1989, she served on active duty aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mellon and later as a commercial ship inspector (“marine inspector”) at the Marine Inspection Office, New York (1991-95). As a reservist (1995-2014), she continued work as a marine inspector, and in her last eight years worked at Coast Guard Headquarters in the Directorate of Health, Safety, and Work Life (CG-11), carrying out studies focused on the health of disaster responders.

Another focus of Dr. Rusiecki’s research is studying environmental and occupational determinants for various cancers, such as breast, prostate, and thyroid cancers. She is currently collaborating on studies concerning other cancers with colleagues at the NCI, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, evaluating various environmental risk factors as well as early markers of disease, utilizing the rich data/biospecimen resources of the Department of Defense. Dr. Rusiecki has carried out numerous studies evaluating the influence of environmental/occupational exposures on epigenetic mechanisms (e.g., DNA methylation). She carried out a landmark study of DNA methylation patterns associated with serum levels of persistent organic pollutants among Greenlandic Inuit (Rusiecki, et al EHP 2008).

Dr. Rusiecki has a keen interest in mindfulness and in mindfulness based stress reduction. She leads a weekly guided mindfulness meditation session at USU through the President’s Wellness Program.


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