Kristen Malecki

Credentials: PhD, MPH

Position title: Director, Survey of the Health of Wisconsin

Kristen Malecki's head shot.

Current role

Kristen Malecki is director for the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) as well as an associate professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences. In 2021, she was named HI Romnes Faculty Fellow.

In her role as SHOW’s Director, she oversees survey implementation efforts, laboratory sciences, and ancillary study development. She brings her expertise in environmental epidemiology, health policy, and background in applied public health practice to identify new and innovative research opportunities for the program and to disseminate SHOW’s data.

She uses SHOW data to bridge applied public health practice with academic research focusing on environmental health and health disparities using a social determinants of health model. Here research uses SHOW biological samples to understand how environmental factors, broadly defined to include both social, chemical and physical environments influence biological mechanisms underlying persistent health disparities in diverse urban and rural populations.

Dr. Malecki also serves as the Principal Investigator for a number of SHOW ancillary studies involving community-academic partnerships. In 2021, she was also named director for the Center for Urban Population Health, jointly funded by UW Madison, UW Milwaukee, and Advocate Aurora Health Care. She also is an active member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine’s Emerging Science for Environmental Health Committee and has been a part of several recent NASEM workshops.

Before coming to UW-Madison she served as the lead epidemiologist for the state Environmental Public Health Tracking Program. In these roles, she has gained extensive experience in leading and managing multi-disciplinary teams of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in the development of environmental health surveillance and epidemiologic data for addressing chronic diseases and disparities in the state of Wisconsin and the nation.

Research interests

Malecki’s current research focuses on understanding how social and environmental determinants of health intersect leading to health disparities. Her research covers a range of topics including complex chronic conditions (obesity, cardio-pulmonary, breast cancer, and mental health), neighborhood built and social environments, air and water. Her newly established research laboratory is interested in using SHOW data to examine how epigenetic, transcriptomic and the microbiome serve as mediators or modify human response to environmental and social stressors.

Education

  • New York University, NY, NY BA, Pre-Med and Metropolitan Studies
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, MPH, Environmental Health Policy
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, PhD, Epidemiology and Health Policy
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services, CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellow