Nicola Hawley, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases)

Nicola Hawley is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) at the Yale School of Public Health. Her research focuses broadly on: (1) understanding how maternal and child health are impacted by rising levels of obesity and diabetes in developing countries, (2) determining how the delivery of healthcare impacts the identification and treatment of these diseases during the perinatal period, and (3) developing interventions focused on pregnancy and early infancy to prevent the intergenerational transmission of chronic disease. She has ongoing projects and collaborations in American Samoa, Samoa, South Africa, and the US. Dr. Hawley earned her PhD in Human Biology from the Center for Global Health and Human Development at Loughborough University, UK.

Research interests
Diabetes Mellitus; Maternal Health Services; Maternal-Child Health Centers; Obesity; Pregnancy; Prenatal Care; South Africa; Global Health; Samoa; American Samoa
Research summary

My research focuses broadly on: (1) understanding how maternal and child health are impacted by rising levels of obesity and diabetes in developing countries, (2) determining how the delivery of healthcare impacts the identification and treatment of these diseases during the perinatal period, and (3) developing interventions focused on pregnancy and early infancy to prevent the intergenerational transmission of chronic disease. I have ongoing projects and collaborations in American Samoa, Samoa, South Africa, and the US

Specialized Terms: global non-communicable disease, obesity, diabetes, maternal and child health, pregnancy health, infant feeding, prenatal care

Education
  • PhD, Loughborough University, 2009
  • BS, Loughborough University, 2005
Publications
  • Hawley, N.L., Johnson, W.O., Hart, C.N., Triche, E.W., Muasau-Howard, B., & McGarvey, S.T. (2015). Gestational weight gain among Samoan women and its impact on delivery and infant outcomes. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 15: 10-17
  • Hawley, N.L. & McGarvey, S.T. (2015) Obesity and Diabetes in Pacific Islanders: The current burden and the need for urgent action. Current Diabetes Reports 15 (5): 594.
  • Hawley, N.L., Rosen, R.K., Strait, E.A., Ruffuci, G., Holmdahl, I., Freeman, J.R., Muasau-Howard, B.T., & McGarvey, S.T. Mothers’ attitudes and beliefs about infant feeding highlight barriers to exclusive breastfeeding in American Samoa. In Press: Women and Birth.
  • Hawley, N.L., Minster, R.L., Weeks, D.E., Viali, S., Reupena, M.S., Deka, R., & McGarvey, S.T. (2014). Genome-wide association study of adiposity in Samoans: Prevalence of non-communicable disease and associated risk factors. American Journal of Human Biology 26: 491-501
  • Hawley, N.L., Johnson, W.O., Nu’usolia, O. & McGarvey, S.T. (2014). The contribution of feeding mode to obesogenic growth trajectories in American Samoan infants. Pediatric Obesity 9 (1): e1-e13.
  • Hawley, N.L., Brown, C., Nu’usolia, O., Ah-Ching, J., Muasau-Howard, B. & McGarvey, S.T. (2014) Barriers to adequate prenatal care utilization in American Samoa. Maternal and Child Health 18 (10): 2284-2292
International activities
  • Group Prenatal Care Study
    Pago Pago, American Samoa (2016-2018)
    Randomized controlled trial of group prenatal care in American Samoa - focused on addressing life course non-communicable disease risk

    Lyndon B Johnson Tropical Medical Center, Lyndon B Johnson Tropical Medical Center

  • Genome-Wide Association Study of Adiposity in Samoans
    Apia, Samoa (2016-Present)
    Seven year follow up of a GWAS cohort in Samoa focused on obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk

    Ministry of Health, Ministry of Health

  • Growing Up in Samoa Study
    Apia, Samoa (2015-Present)
    Longitudinal cohort study of child health and development in Samoa

    Ministry of Health, Samoa, Ministry of Health, Samoa

  • Infant Feeding Studies
    Pago Pago, American Samoa (2012-Present)

    Lyndon B Johnson Tropical Medical Center, Lyndon B Johnson Tropical Medical Center

  • Birth to Twenty Study
    Johannesburg, South Africa (2006-Present)

    University of the Witwatersrand, University of the Witwatersrand

Current projects

American Samoa Infant Feeding Study. Longitudinal Pilot Study,American Samoa (2013 - present)

Maternal Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices about Healthy Pregnancy and Infancy in American Samoa. Cross-sectional study, American Samoa (2014)

Influence of infant growth on body size and blood pressure at age 6/7 years in American Samoa. Cross-sectional study, American Samoa (2014-2015)

Genome-wide Association Study for Adiposity in Samoans (PI: Stephen McGarvey, Brown). Cross-sectional study, Samoa (2009- present)

Active Collaborations:

Birth to Twenty. Longitudinal birth cohort study, Johannesburg, South Africa (2006 - present)