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Kristin Litzelman

Alumni of the PhD Population Health program since 2013

Biography Green Bay, WI
Areas of interest within Population Health: Biopsychosocial determinants of health, Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, Genetic and Cancer Epidemiology
Title of Thesis/Dissertation: The Health of Caregivers in Wisconsin: The Impact of Caregiving on Health, Strain and Cellular Aging
Brief Interest Statement: I am broadly interested in the biopsychosocial effects of stress on health, and how these factors may accumulate over the lifecourse to impact long-term health outcomes. I am especially interested in the psychobiology of stress and how it may "get under the skin" to influence biological pathways and subsequent health, as well as the factors that may mitigate the negative health effects of stress. My recent work has focused on parental caregivers, specifically parents of children with cancer, mothers of children born very low birth weight, and parents of children with activity limitations. My dissertation will on expand this work to focus on all types of caregivers in the state of Wisconsin, and will specifically examine how caregiving and caregiver strain may influence cellular aging among caregivers.
What experiences in your life led you to study population/public health? I've always been very interested in science, but didn't catch the "health-care bug" until I worked for a health care software company. I was considering going into genetic counseling when I began working for Dr. Witt here in the Department of Population Health Sciences. The experiences she allowed me to have in research, study development and scientific writing, along with her support and encouragement, convinced me that I could have a bigger and more satisfying impact in population health research.
Why did you choose UW-Madison for your degree? UW-Madison is the only school I would choose for Population Health Sciences. The culture and attitude of the department is very open and welcoming, and the interdisciplinary approach to health is an indispensable part of this program. I know that I will be supported and encouraged in my work by faculty, staff, and students.
What do you hope/plan to do with your degree? I have worked as a teaching assistant for two of the core classes in Population Health Sciences, and know I very much enjoy mentoring other students; I am therefore strongly considering a career in academia. However, I'm currently keeping my options open and plan to also consider research careers in a variety of other settings, including government or study coordination.

Research Interests:  Kristin is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Population Health Sciences. She received a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005, and has been collaborating with LEAF lab team members since 2008. Kristin's research interests center around how biopsychosocial factors influence health throughout the life course, and the physiological pathways by which these effects occur. In her current work, Kristin is examining caregivers in the state of Wisconsin to determine how caregiving and caregiver strain contribute to poor health-related quality of life and cellular aging.


Pubmed links

Contact Information:
Phone: (608) 263-1763/(608) 265-8092
Office: WARF 554