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California Study Center: California
Phone: 650-721-5746
E-mail: ca@nbdps.org
  1. Study Center
  2. Principal Investigators
  3. Local Activities & Research
  4. Partners
  5. Recent Publications

Study Center
California represents 15% of all births in the United States. This year alone, 17,000 babies with birth defects will be born in California, and as many as 2,000 of these babies will die before their first birthday. Discovering causes is our only hope for preventing these outcomes.

The California Center is a collaborative partnership between Stanford University and the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program in the Department of Public Health. The Center collects data from women residing in eight counties in the Central Valley. It has been funded by CDC since 1997.

Principal Investigators:
Gary Shaw, DrPHGary Shaw, DrPH, is Principal Investigator for the California Center. Dr. Shaw has been conducting research on birth defects for over 20 years and is a recognized leader in birth defects research. He has produced numerous publications on birth defect causes related to diet, obesity, drugs, alcohol, stress, pollution, occupations, and genes. Dr. Shaw is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University...Read More




Suzan Carmichael, PhDSuzan Carmichael, PhD, is Co-Investigator for the California Center and joined the Center in 1998. She is a recognized leader in birth defects research and has produced numerous publications on birth defect causes related to diet, obesity, drugs, alcohol, stress, pollution, occupations, and genes. Dr. Carmichael is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University.…Read More



Local Activities and Research:
Our research answers why certain racial or ethnic groups are at higher risk of birth defects.

  • Why are Latinos at increased risk of brain and spinal birth defects?
  • Why are African-American babies with birth defects more likely to die?
Our research answers questions from parents in California about how to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
  • Will stress hurt my baby?
  • Will eating certain foods help my baby?
Our research answers questions about environmental exposures that are especially important in California.
  • Does exposure to pesticides, contaminated water, or air pollution cause birth defects?

Partners:

Stanford University
California Birth Defects Monitoring Program, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division/Center for Family Health, California Department of Public Health
Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute
Dell Pediatrics Research Institute, Austin Texas
University of California, San Francisco
March of Dimes Foundation
Texas A&M University Institute of Biosciences and Technology

Recent Publications:

Carmichael SL, Ma C, Rasmussen SA, Cunningham ML, Browne ML, Dosiou C, Lammer EJ, Shaw GM. Craniosynostosis and risk factors related to thyroid dysfunction. Am J Med Genet. 2015 Apr;167(4):701-7.

Shaw GM, Yang W, Roberts E, Kegley SE, Padula A, English PB, Carmichael SL. Early pregnancy agricultural pesticide exposures and risk of gastroschisis among offspring in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 2014 Sep;100(9):686-94.

Carmichael SL, Yang W, Roberts E, Kegley SE, Padula AM, English PB, Lammer EJ, Shaw GM. Residential agricultural pesticide exposures and risk of selected congenital heart defects among offspring in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Environ Res 2014 Nov;135:133-38.

Carmichael SL, Ma C, Tinker S, Rasmussen SA, Shaw GM, National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal stressors and social support as risks for delivering babies with structural birth defects. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2014Jul;28(4):338-44.

Skuladottir H, Wilcox AJ, Ma C, Lammer EJ, Rasmussen SA, Werler MM, Shaw GM, Carmichael SL. Corticosteroid use and risk of orofacial clefts. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 2014 Jun;100(6):499-506.

Yang W, Carmichael SL, Roberts EM Kegley SE, Padula AM, English PB, Shaw GM. Residential agricultural pesticide exposures and risk of neural tube defects and orofacial clefts among offspring in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Am J Epidemiol 2014 Mar;179(6):740-48.

Wallenstein MB, Shaw GM, Yang W, Carmichael SL. Periconceptional nutrient intakes and risks of orofacial clefts in California. Pediatr Res 2013 Oct;74(4):457-65.

Carmichael SL, Yang W, Shaw GM, National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal dietary nutrient intake and risk of preterm delivery. Am J Perinatol 2013 Aug;30(7):579-88.

Padula AM, Tager IB, Carmichael SL, Hammond SK, Yang W, Lurmann F, Shaw GM. Ambient air pollution and traffic exposures and congenital heart defects in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2013 Jul;27(4):329-39.

Carmichael SL, Cogswell ME, Ma C, Gonzalez-Feliciano A, Olney RS, Correa A, Shaw GM, National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Hypospadias and maternal intake of phytoestrogens. Am J Epidemiol 2013 Aug;178(3):434-40.

Padula AM, Tager IB, Carmichael SL, Hammond SK, Lurmann F, Shaw GM. The association of ambient air pollution and traffic exposures with selected congenital anomalies in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Am J Epidemiol 2013 May;177(10):1074-85.