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Campus Address: 

Room 1038 WARF
610 Walnut Street
Madison, WI 53726

Campus Phone Number: 
(608) 262-4032

Karen J. Cruickshanks, PhD

  • Professor
  • Department of Population Health Sciences
  • Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences


Dr. Cruickshanks completed her PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in 1987 and has been a faculty member at UW-Madison since 1990. Her research program is studying the health problems of aging through epidemiological cohort studies. The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (EHLS) is funded by the National Institute on Aging (AG11099) to study hearing, olfactory, and cognitive impairments in a population-based cohort of 3500 older residents of Beaver Dam, WI. The focus of this research is on the roles of inflammation and vascular factors on age-related disorders. In 2004, a new study of the adult offspring of the EHLS participants was funded by the National Institute of Aging, National Eye Institute, and National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (AG021917) to study the genetic and environmental factors which contribute to age-related sensory impairments. She is the Director of the EpiSense Audiometry Reading (EAR) Center for studying hearing in the Hispanic Community Health Study, a multi-center study of 16,000 Latinos, and the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) study. A major theme of her research is the link between subclinical atherosclerosis and the sensory and neurological disorders of aging.

Research Projects:

Beaver Dam Offspring Study (BOSS)


  • Institute on Aging, UW
  • Society for Epidemiologic Research
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
  • American Epidemiological Society
  • Association for Research in Otolaryngology

Recent Honors/Awards

  • 1983-1986: National Research Service Award, Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Diabetes Epidemiology
  • 1986: Student Leadership Service Certificate, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1987: Outstanding Scholarship Award, Phi Delta Gamma, Kappa Chapter
  • 1987: Delta Omega Society, Omicron Chapter
  • 1998: Research to Prevent Blindness Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award
  • 1999: Elected to the American Epidemiological Society
  • 2002-2003: Alice R. McPherson, Retina Research Foundation Chair in Ophthalmology, University of Wisconsin Medical School
  • 2004-2005: Institute of Medicine/National Research Council, Committee on Assessment of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in the Military Service from WWII to the Present
  • 2006: Institute of Medicine/ National Research Council, Committee to Review the NIOSH Hearing Loss Research Program
  • 2007: National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council. NIH2007-Date Vision Committee, NIH Toolbox for Health Assessment
  • 2008: Keynote Speaker. 20th Anniversary Symposium, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health: As Time Goes By: A Population Perspective on Hearing in Aging
  • 2009: MERIT award, National Institute of Aging
  • 2011-Date: Chair, Data Monitoring and Oversight Committee, Conservation of Hearing Study (CHEARS), National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
  • 2012-Date: Chair, Data and Safety Monitoring Board, Therapeutic Effects of Cataract Removal in Alzheimer’s Disease, National Institute on Aging
  • 2012-2014: Institute of Medicine, Committee on Long Term Effects of Blast Exposure
  • 2014: Panelist, Federal Communications Commission Workshop: Enhancing the Consumer Experience through the Development of a Platform for New and Improved IP-based Relay Services
  • 2014: University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health Distinguished Alumni Award for Research
  • 2015-2016: Institute of Medicine, Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults

Select Publications

Klein R, Meyers CE, Cruickshanks KJ, Gangnon RE, Danforth LG, Sivakumaran TA, Iyengar SK, Tsai MY, Klein BE. Markers of Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Endothelial Dysfunction and the 20-Year Cumulative Incidence of Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Beaver Dam Eye Study. JAMA Ophthalmol 2014 Apr 1; 132(4): 446-55. PMC4076038. PMID:24481424.

Paulsen AJ, Cruickshanks KJ, Fischer ME, Huang GH, Klein BE, Klien R, Dalton DS. Dry Eye in the Beaver Dam Offspring Study: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Health-Related Quality of Life. Am J Ophthalmol 2014 Apr; 157(4): 799-806. PMC3995164. PMID:24388838.

Fischer ME, Cruickshanks KJ, Schubert CR, Pinto A, Huang GH, Klein BEK, Klein R, Pankow J. The Association of Taste with Change in Adiposity-Related Health Measures. J Acad Nutr Diet 2014 Aug; 114(8): 1195-202. PMC4112775. PMID:24882206.

Wichmann MA, Cruickshanks KJ, Carlsson CM, Chappell R, Fischer ME, Klein BEK, Klein R, Tsai MY, Schubert CR. Long-Term Systemic Inflammation and Cognitive Impairment in a Population-Based Cohort. J Am Geriatr Soc 2014; 62: 1683-1691. PMC4196672. PMID:25123210.

Dawes P, Cruickshanks KJ, Moore DR, Edmondson-jones M, McCormack A, Fortnum H, Munro KJ. Cigarette Smoking, Passive Smoking, Alcohol Consumption and Hearing Loss. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 2014 Aug; 15(4): 663-74. PMC4141428. PMID:24899378.

Tragante V, Barnes MR, Ganesh SK, Lanktree MB, Guo W, Franceschini N, et al. Gene-Centric Meta-Analysis in 87,736 Individuals of European Ancestry Identifies Multiple Blood Pressure Related Loci. Am J Hum Genet 2014 Mar 6; 94(3): 349-60. PMC3951943. PMID:24560520.

Dawes P, Dickinson C, Emsley R, Bishop P, Cruickshanks KJ, McCormack A, Fortnum H, Moore D, Norman P, Munro K. Vision Impairment and Dual Sensory Problems in Middle Age. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 2014 Jul; 34(4): 479-88. PMC4273649. PMID:24888710.

Schubert CR, Cruickshanks KJ, Fischer ME, Huang G, Klein R, Tsai MY, Pinto A. Carotid Intima Media Thickness, Atherosclerosis and 5-Year Decline in Odor Identification: The Beaver Dam Offspring Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2014 Sep 2. [Epub ahead of print] PMC4481687. PMID:25182599.

Albers M, Gilmore GC, Kaye J, Murphy C, Wingfield A, Bennett DA, Boxer AL, Buchman AS, Cruickshanks KJ, et al. At the Interface of Sensory and Motor Dysfunctions and Alzheimer's Disease. Alzheimers Dement 2015 Jan; 11(1): 70-98. PMC4287457. PMID:25022540.

Klein BEK, Howard KP, Iyengar SK, Sivakumaran TA. Meyers K, Cruickshanks KJ, Klein R. Sunlight Exposure, Pigmentation, and Incident Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2014 Aug 14; 55(9): 5855-61. PMC4165367. PMID:25125603.

Cruickshanks KJ, Nondahl DM, Dalton DS, Rischer ME, Klein BEK, Klein R, Nieto JF, Schubert CR, Tweed TS. Smoking, Central Adiposity, and Poor Glycemic Control Increase Risk of Hearing Impairment. J Am Geriatr Soc 2015 May; 63(5): 918-24. E pub May 6 2015. PMC4439261. PMID:25953199.

Fischer ME, Cruickshanks KJ, Pankow JS, Pankratz N, Schubert CR, Huang GH, Klein BEK, Klein R, Pinto A. The Associations Between 6-n-Propylthiouracil (PROP) Intensity and Taste Intensities Differ by TAS2R38 Haplotype. J Nutrigenomics 2014; 7(3): 143-52. PMC4322864. PMID:25634331.

Fischer ME, Schubert CR, Nondahl DM, Dalton DS, Huang GH, Keating BJ, Klein BEK, Klein R, Tweed TS, Cruickshanks KJ. Subclinical Atherosclerosis and Increased Risk of Hearing Impairment. Atherosclerosis 2015; Feb; 238(2):344-9. PMC4298463. PMID:25555266.

Cruickshanks KJ, Dhar S, Dinces E, Fifer RC, Gonzalez F, Heiss G, Hoffman JH, Lee DJ, Newhoff M, Tocci L, Torree P, Tweed TS. Hearing Impairment Prevalence and Associated Risk Factors in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2015 Jul 1; 141(7): 641-8. PMC4506256. PMID:26021283.

Dawes P, Emsley R, Cruickshanks K, Moore DR, Fortnum H, Edmondson-Jones M, McCormack A, Munro KJ. Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline: The Role of Hearing Aids, Social Isolation and Depression. PLOs One 2015 Mar 11; 10(3). PMC4356542. PMID:25760329.

Schubert CR, Cruickshanks KJ, Fischer ME, Klein BEK, Klein R, Pinto A. Inflammatory and Vascular Markers and Olfactory Impairment in Older Adults. Age & Aging 2015 Sep; 44(5): 878-82. PMC4547926. PMID:26082278.

Wichmann MA, Cruickshanks KJ, Carlsson CM, Chappell R, Fischer ME, Klein BEK, Klein R, Schubert CR. NSAID Use and Incident Cognitive Impairment in a Population-Based Cohort. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord 2015 Jun 4. (Epub ahead of print) PMC4670291. PMID:26079710.

Tremblay K, Pinto A, Fischer ME, Klein BEK, Klein R, Levy S, Tweed TS, Cruickshanks KJ. Self-Reported Hearing Difficulties Among Adults with Normal Audiograms: The Beaver Dam Offspring Study. Ear & Hearing 2015 Nov-Dec; 36(6). PMCID PMC – Journal in Process.

Dawes P, Cruickshanks KJ, Fischer ME, Klein BEK, Klein R, Nondahl D. Hearing Aid Use and Long-Term Health Outcomes: Hearing Handicap, Mental Health, Social Engagement, Cognitive Function, Physical Health and Mortality. Int J Audiology 2015; 54(11): 838-44. PMC4730911.

Dawes P, Cruickshanks KJ, Moore DR, Fortnum H, Edmondson-Jones M, McCormack A, Munro KJ. The Effect of Prenatal and Childhood Development on Hearing, Vision, and Cognition in Adulthood. PLOsOne 2015 Aug 14; 10(8). PMC4547702. PMID:26302374.

Klein, R, Myers CE, Lee KE, Paterson AD, Cruickshanks KJ, Tsai MY, Gangnon RE, Klein BEK. Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein and the Incidence of Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy and Clinically Significant Macular Edema: The Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy. JAMA Ophthalmol 2015 Sep; 133(9): 1054-6. PMC4578718. PMID:26181138.

Schubert CR, Fischer ME, Pinto AA, Klein BEK, Klein R, Tweed T, Cruickshanks KJ. Sensory Impairments and Risk of Mortality in Older Adults. J Gerontology. 2016 PMCID PMC – Journal in Process.