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Helen Louise Powell, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:

Epidemiology & Public Health

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706 7698

Education and Training

University of Strathclyde, BSc. Hons., Mathematics, Statistics, and Finance, 2008

University of Glasgow, PhD, Statistics, 2012

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Biostatistics, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015


Dr. Powell is a statistician who joined the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for Vaccine Development, in 2017. She is currently the lead statistician for the Vaccine Impact on Diarrhea in Africa (VIDA) study, a prospective case-control study that takes place in three sites in sub-Saharan Africa and aims to understand the etiology of moderate-to-severe diarrhea in children less than five years of age.  

Prior to joining UMB, Dr. Powell’s research focused on the development of statistical methods for the purposes of assessing the association between air pollution and mortality or morbidity outcomes. Such analysis involves the use of publicly available air pollution data, which are routinely collected for the purposes of monitoring and control by various Governmental bodies, and health data, typically collected at hospitals or by Government agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In particular, she worked to develop methods that could take advantage of, and account for, the spatial aspect of these data. This included the inherent correlation between sites of measurement and the potential biases associated with spatial misalignment of the data. Dr. Powell has also worked to quantify the health effects of coarse thoracic particulate matter, a metric of particulate matter that is currently unregulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This work has been used by the EPA as evidence to support the creation of a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for this metric of particulate matter.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Statistical methods, analysis, regression, public health, data management, Bayesian methods, spatial correlation, spatial misalignment, confounding.

Highlighted Publications

Crane G, Powell H, Kostadinov R, Rocafort P, Rifkin D, Burger P, Ambinder R, Swinnen L, Borowitz M, and Duffield A. (2015) CNS lymphoproliferative disease, mycophenolate and calcineurin inhibitor usage. Oncotarget. 6(32):33849-33866. PubMed PMID: 26460822.

Powell H, Krall JR, Wang Y, Bell M, and Peng RD. (2015) Ambient coarse particulate matter and hospital admission in the Medicare Cohort Air Pollution Study, 1999-2010. Environmental Health Perspectives. 123(11):1152-1158. PubMed PMID: 25872223.

Powell H, and Lee D. (2013) Modelling spatial variability in concentrations of single pollutants and composite air quality indicators in health effect studies. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A. 177(3):607-623.

Powell H, Lee D, and Bowman A. (2012) Estimating constrained concentration-response functions between air pollution and health. Environmetrics. 23(3):228-237.