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Mari Palta, PhD

Research Area: Biostatistics, Clinical research, Epidemiology, Health services research
Keywords: Maternal and Child Health, Longitudinal Cohort Studies, Health Related Quality of Life, Diabetes

Professor of Population Health Sciences, and of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics



Mari Palta received her PhD in Biostatistics in 1977 followed by postdoctoral training in Epidemiology, both from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She also holds a Master’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology, and an undergraduate degree in Mathematics, Mathematical Physics and English from the University of Lund, Sweden. She was a faculty member in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Iowa 1979-1982, and a Scientist in the Biostatistics Center at the University of Wisconsin, 1982-1987. She has been a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1987 and holds joint appointments in the Departments of Population Health Sciences, and Biostatistics and Medical Informatics (

Professor Palta directs and collaborates in several different research projects, and has an over-riding interest in evaluating and developing methodology. Her statistical methods research has addressed longitudinal models with measurement error, confounding and missing data, and the analysis of preference scored health outcomes. She has been the Principal Investigator of two epidemiologic cohort studies of very low birth weight and diabetes which continue to generate spin-off studies and new analyses. Her clinical subject matter interests range from maternal and child health to respiratory conditions, diabetes and sleep.

Research projects:
Newborn Lung Project: This research followed a cohort of all Wisconsin very low birth weight children born during 2003 and 2004. The project collected a large amount of baseline data from 17 NICUs, and at age 2 interviews with both very low birth weight children normal birth weight controls. Data include health problems, and also assessments of quality of life, daily function and behaviors. Respiratory testing was conducted at age 4.
Wisconsin Diabetes Registry Study: The project is following a cohort with type 1 diabetes diagnosed 1987-1992. This regional incident cohort has extensive data on diabetes care and characteristics from diagnosis. Clinical examinations for eye and kidney complications were completed at 20 years duration. The project also has a longitudinal biological sample bank.
National Health Measurement Study: ( Dr. Palta directed the Biostatistics Core to evaluate and compare measures of health related quality of life in population based and patient samples. She is developing and evaluating analytic methods for novel ways to understand and compare the different measures.
Analyses of Electronic Health Records: Dr Palta is involved with several projects that utilize electronic health records to evaluate the care and outcomes of patients with diabetes, hypertension and inflammatory bowel disease.
Family-Centered Tailoring of Pediatric Diabetes Self-Management Resources: Dr. Palta is a collaborator on a clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of tailoring diabetes education to specific barriers to self-care among children with type 1 diabetes and their families.
Epidemiology of Sleep: Dr.Palta has been a long-standing collaborator and the senior biostatistician on the primary and ancillary studies arising from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort.


  • Affiliate Faculty appointment in the Department of Statistics
  • American Statistical Association (member)
  • Biometric Society (member)
  • American Statistical Association, Committee on Women in Statistics (Member 2005-2010, Chair 2008-2010)
  • Caucus for Women in Statistics (President, 2002)
  • American Diabetes Association (member)
  • FDA panel on Ophthalmic Medical Devices (Consultant, 2004-present)
  • Health of the Population (HOP) Integrated Review Group, Community Influences on Health Behavior (CIHB) study section, Center for Scientific Review, NIH. (member 2003-2007)
  • Graduate Faculty Executive Committee, University of Wisconsin (2007-2011)


  • Fellow of the American Statistical Association (2004-)


Palta M, Quantitative Methods in Population Health, Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics, 2003.

Benichou J, Palta M, Rates, Risks, measures of Association and Impact. Chapter I.2., Handbook of Epidemiology, Ahrens, W., Pigeot, I. (Eds.). Springer Verlag, (July) 2004.

Select Publications: 

Publications (from over 180; see$=activity):

Magnan EM,  Palta M, Johnsom HM, Bartels CM, Schumacher JR, Smith MA.The impact of a patient’s concordant and discordant conditions on diabetes care quality measures, Journal of  Diabetes and its Complications,  on line October 2014.
Cheng ER, Palta M, Kotelchuck M,  Poehlmann J, Witt WP. Cognitive delay and behavior problems prior to school-age. Pediatrics, 134:3 e749-e757; published ahead of print August 11, 2014, doi:10.1542/peds.2014-0259.
Cheng ER,  Park H, Robert SA, Palta M,  Witt WP. County Disadvantage is associated with Behavior Problems among US Children with Cognitive Delay. American Journal of Public Health, in press.
Palta M, LeCaire T, Sadek-Badawi M, Herrera V, Danielson KK. The trajectory of IGF-1 across age and duration of type 1 diabetes. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, in press.
Alghnam S, Palta M, Hamedani A, Remington P, Alkelya M, Albedah K, Durkin MS. In-hospital mortality among patients injured in motor vehicle crashes in a Saudi Arabian hospital relative to large U.S. trauma centers. Injury Epidemiology, 1:21, 2014.
Alghnam S*, Palta M, Hamedani A, Alkelya M, Remington P, Durkin MS. Predicting in-hospital death among patients injured in traffic crashes in Saudi Arabia. Injury, in press, 2014.
Alghnam S, Palta M, Remington P, Mullahy J, Durkin M. The association between motor vehicle injuries and health related quality of life: a longitudinal study of a population-based sample in the United States. Quality of Life Research, 23(1): 119-127, 2014.
Palta M. Some comments on mapping from disease-specific to generic health-related quality of life scales. Value in Health, 16(1): 211-214, 2013.
LeCaire TJ, Palta M, Klein R, Klein EK. Assessing progress in retinopathy outcomes in type 1 diabetes. Comparing findings from the Wisconsin Diabetes Registry Study and the Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetes Care, 36: 631-637, 2013.
McManus BM,**  Robert S, Albanese A, Sadek-Badawi M, Palta M. Predictors of receiving therapy among very low birth weight 2-year olds eligible for Part C early intervention in Wisconsin. BMC Pediatrics, 13: 106, 2013.
Hagen EW, Peppard PE. Mirer AG, Palta M. The Sleep Time Cost of Parenting: Sleep Duration and Sleepiness Among Employed Parents in the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 177: 394-401, 2013.
Peppard PE, Young T, Barnet JH, Palta M, Hagen EW, Hla KM. Increased prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 177: 1006-1014, 2013.PMCID: PMC3639722, 2013.
Bates ML, Pillers D-AM, Palta M, Eldridge MW. Ventilatory Control in Infants, Children, and Adults with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia. Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, 189(2):329-37, 2013.
Everett CM, Thorpe CT, Palta M, Carayon P, Bartels C, Smith MA. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners perform effective roles on teams caring for Medicare patients with diabetes. Health Affairs, 32(11):1942-8, 2013. Received Physician Assistant Education Association Article of the Year Award 2014.
Schumacher JR,Palta M, LoConte NK, Trentham-Dietz A, Witt WP, Heidrich SM, Smith MA. Characterizing the psychological distress response before and after a cancer diagnosis. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, J Behav Med, 36(6):591-600, 2013.
McManus BM,** SA, Albanese A, Sadek-Badawi M, Palta M. Racial disparities in health-related quality of life in a cohort of very low birth weight 2- and 3-year olds with and without asthma. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 66: 579-585, 2012.
Witt WP, Litzelman K, Spear HA, Wisk LE, Levin N, McManus BM, Palta M. Health-related quality of life of mothers of very low birth weight children at age five: results from the Newborn Lung Project Statewide Cohort Study. Quality of Life Research, 21:1565-1576, 2012.
Massad SG,  Nieto FJ, Palta M, Smith M, Clark R, Thabet A. Nutritional status of Palestinian preschoolers in the Gaza Strip: a cross-sectional study . BMC Public Health, 12:27, 2012.
Walsh MC, Trentham-Dietz A, Gangnon RE, Nieto FJ, Newcomb PA, Palta M. Selection bias in population based cancer case-control studies due to incomplete sampling frame coverage. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 21:881-886, 2012.
Walsh MC, Trentham-Dietz A, Newcomb PA, Gangnon RE, Palta M. An assessment of the use of propensity scores to reduce selection bias resulting from incomplete coverage of the study base when selecting controls. Epidemiology, 23:772-773, 2012.
Kaplan RM, Tally S, Hays RD, Feeny D, Ganiats TG, Palta M, Fryback DG. Five Preference-Based Indexes In Cataract And Heart Failure Patients Were Not Equally Responsive To Change. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 64:497-506, 2011.
Walsh MC,* Trentham-Dietz A, Palta M. Availability of driver's license master-lists for use in government-sponsored public health research. American Journal of Epidemiology, 173:1414-8, 2011.
Massad SG, Nieto FJ, Palta M, Smith M, Clark R, Thabet A. Health-related quality of life of Palestinian preschoolers in the Gaza Strip: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 11:253, 2011.
Palta M, Chen H-Y, Kaplan RM, Feeny D, Cherepanov D, Fryback D. Standard error of measurement of five health utility indexes across the range of health for use in estimating reliability and responsiveness. Medical Decision Making, 31:260-269, 2011.
Pereira CCA, Palta M, Mullahy J, Fryback DG. Race and preference-based health-related quality of life measures in the United States. Quality of Life Research, 20:969-78, 2011.
McManus BM,Robert SA, Albanese A, Sadek-Badawi M, Palta M. The relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and social function of Wisconsin 2- and 3- year olds born very low birth weight. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 165:119-125, 2011.
McManus BM,Robert SA, Albanese A, Sadek-Badawi M, Palta M. Racial disparities in health-related quality of life in a cohort of very low birth weight 2- and 3-year olds with and without cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 53:467-469, 2011.
Bentley TGK, Palta M, Paulsen AJ, Cherepanov D, Dunham NC, Feeny D, Kaplan RM, Fryback DG. Race and Gender Associations between Obesity and Nine Health-Related Quality-of-Life Measures. Quality of Life Research, 20:665-74, 2011.
Xiao Z, Shao J, Palta M. Instrumental variable and GMM estimation for panel data with measurement error. Statistica Sinica, 20:1725-1747, 2010.
Hu B, Shao J, Palta M. On Explained Variance for Linear Mixed-Effects Models. Canadian Journal of Statistics, 38:352-368, 2010.
Fryback DG, Palta M, Cherepanov D, Bolt D, Kim J-S. Comparison of Five Health-Related Quality-0f -Life Indexes Using Item Response Theory Analysis. Medical Decision Making, 30:5-15, 2010.
Hanmer J, Vanness D, Gangnon R, Palta M, Fryback DG.  Three Methods Tested to Model SF-6D Health Utilities for Health States Involving Multiple Health Conditions.  Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 63:331-341, 2010.
Cherepanov D, Palta M, Fryback DG. Underlying Dimensions of the Five Health-Related Quality-of-Life Measures Used in Utility Assessment:  Evidence from the National Health Measurement Study. Medical Care, 48:718-725, 2010.
Cherepanov D, Palta M, Fryback DG, Robert SA, Hays RD, Kaplan RM. Gender Differences in the Multiple Underlying Dimensions of Health-Related Quality of Life are Associated with Sociodemographic and Socioeconomic Status. Medical Care, 48:718-725, 2010.
Cherepanov D,Palta M, Fryback DG, Robert SA. Gender Differences in Health-Related Quality-of-Life are Partly Explained by Sociodemographic and Socioeconomic Variation between Adult Men and Women in the US:  Evidence from Four US Nationally Representative Data Sets. Quality of Life Research, 19:1115-1124, 2010.
Xiao Z, Shao J, Palta M. GMM in Linear Regression for Longitudinal Data with Multiple Covariates Measured with Error. Journal of Applied Statistics, 37:5, 791 — 805, 2009.
Massad S, Nieto FJ, Palta M, Smith M, Clark R, Thabet A-S. Mental Health of Palestinian Kindergarteners: Resilience and Vulnerability. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 14:89–96, 2009.
Young T, Palta M, Dempsey J, Peppard PE, Nieto FJ, Hla KM. Understanding the burden of sleep apnea: Rationale, design and major findings of the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, Wisconsin Medical Journal, 108:246-249, 2009.
Hagen EW,Sadek-Badawi M, Palta M. Day care attendance and risk for respiratory morbidity during early childhood among very low birth weight children. Pediatric Pulmonology, 44:1093-1099, 2009.
Palta M, LeCaire T. Managing Type 1 Diabetes:  Trends and Outcomes over 20 years of Follow-up in the Wisconsin Diabetes Registry Cohort. Wisconsin Medical Journal, 108:231- 235, 2009.
Garster NC, Palta M, Sweitzer NK, Kaplan RM, Fryback DG. Measuring health-related quality of life in population-based studies of coronary heart disease: comparing six generic indexes and a disease-specific proxy score. Quality of Life Research, 18:1239-1247, 2009.
Danielson KK,* Elliott ME, LeCaire T, Binkley N, Palta M. Poor Glycemic Control is Associated with Low Bone Density Detected in Premenopausal Women with Type 1 Diabetes. Osteoporosis International, 20:923-933, 2009.
Palta M, Sadek-Badawi M. PedsQL relates to function and behavior in low and normal birth weight 2- and 3-year-olds from a regional cohort. Quality of Life Research, 17:691-700, 2008.
Palta M, Sadek-Badawi M, Carlton C. Early neutrophil and white counts of VLBW neonates, pregnancy complications and neonatal morbidity. Journal of Perinatology, 28:604-610, 2008.
Hagen EW, Sadek-Badawi M, Albanese A, Palta M. A comparison of Wisconsin neonatal intensive care units with national data on outcomes and practices. WMJ. 107(7):320-6, 2008.
Hagen EW, Sadek-Badawi M, Carlton DP, Palta M. Permissive hypercapnia and risk for brain injury and developmental impairment. Pediatrics, 122, e583-e589, 2008.
Palta M, Sadek-Badawi M, Carlton C. Association of BPD and IVH with early neutrophil and white counts in VLBW neonates with gestation age <32 weeks. Journal of Perinatology, 28: 604-610, 2008.
Palta M, Sadek-Badawi M. PedsQL relates to function and behavior in low and normal birth weight 2- and 3-year-olds from a regional cohort. Quality of Life Research, 17: 691-700, 2008.
Shen L, Shao J, Park S, Palta M. Between- and Within- Cluster Covariate Effects and Model Misspecification in the Analysis of Clustered Data. Statistica Sinica, 18:731-748, 2008.
Fryback DG, Dunham NC, Palta M, Hanmer J, Buechner J, Cherepanov D, Herrington S, Hays RD, Kaplan RM, Ganiats TG, Feeny D, Kind P. U.S. norms for six generic health-related quality-of-life indexes from the National Health Measurement Study. Medical Care, 45: 1162-1170, 2007.
Palta M, Sadek-Badawi M, Madden K, Green CG. Pulmonary testing using peak flow meters of Very Low Birth Weight children born. in the perisurfactant era and school controls at age 10 years Pediatric Pulmonology 42: 819-828, 2007.
LeCaire TJ, Palta M, Zhang H, Allen C, Klein R, D'Alessio D. Lower than expected prevalence and severity of retinopathy in an incident cohort followed during the first 4-14 years of Type 1 diabetes: The Wisconsin Diabetes Registry Study, American Journal of Epidemiology, 164:143-150, 2006.
Hagen EW, Palta M, Albanese A, Sadek-Badawi M. School achievement in a regional cohort of children born very low birthweight. J Dev Behav Pediatr 27(2):112-120, 2006.
Hu B, Palta M, Shao J. Properties of R2 Statistics for Logistic Regression. Statistics in Medicine, 25: 1383-1395, 2006.
Li L, Shao J, Palta M. A longitudinal measurement error model with a semi-continuous covariate. Biometrics, 61: 824-830, 2005.
Danielson KK, Palta M, Allen C, D'Alessio DJ. The association of increased total glycosylated hemoglobin levels with delayed age at menarche in young women with type 1 diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Dec; 90(12):6466-71, 2005. Epub 2005 Oct 4.
Lemon CC, Lacey K, Lohse B, Hubacher DO, Klawitter B, Palta M. Nutrition intervention in adults with type 2 diabetes associated with improved health, behavioral and quality of life outcomes. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 104, 1805-1815, 2004.
Huang GH, Palta M, Allen C, LeCaire T, D'Alessio D; Wisconsin Diabetes Registry. Self-rated health among young people with type 1 diabetes in relation to risk factors in a longitudinal study. Am J Epidemiol. Feb 15;159(4):364-72, 2004.
Palta M, Seplaki C. Causes, problems and benefits of different between and within effects in the analysis of clustered data. Health Services and Outcomes Research Methodology, 3: 177-193, 2002.
Park S, Palta M, Shao J, and Shen L. Bias adjustment in analyzing longitudinal data with informative missingness, Statistics in Medicine, 21: 277-91, 2002.
Wang J, Shao J, Palta M. Testing model fit in longitudinal data analysis against alternatives with omitted
covariates. Stat Med. Mar 15;21(5):729-41, 2002.
Palta M, Sadek-Badawi M, Sheehy M, Albanese A, Weinstein MR, McGuinness G. Respiratory symptoms in a multicenter VLBW cohort at age 8 year. American Journal of Epidemiology, 154: 521-9, 2001.
Allen C, LeCaire T, Palta M, Daniels K, Meredith M, D'Alessio DJ; Wisconsin Diabetes Registry Project. Risk factors for frequent and severe hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care. Nov;24(11):1878-81, 2001.
Peppard PE, Young T, Palta M, Dempsey J, Skatrud J. Longitudinal study of moderate weight change and progression of sleep disordered breathing. JAMA, 284: 3015-3021, 2000.
Peppard PE, Young T, Palta M, Skatrud J. Association between sleep disordered breathing and hypertension. New England J. of Medicine, 342: 1378-84, 2000.
Mahoney JE, Eisner J, Havighurst T, Gray S, Palta M. Burden of dependency, lack of improvement in function, and risk of nursing home utilization for older adults living alone after hospitalization. J Gen Int Med, 15: 610-619, 2000.
Mahoney JE, Palta M, Johnson J, Jalaluddin M, Gray S, Park S, Sager M. Temporal association between hospitalization and rate of falls after discharge. Arch Int Med, 160: 2788-2795, 2000.
Palta M, Sadek M, Evans M, Weinstein MR, McGuinness G. Functional assessment of a multicenter VLBW cohort at age 5 years. The Newborn Lung Project. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 154:23-30, 2000.
Palta M, Lin, C-Y. Latent variables, measurement error and methods for analyzing longitudinal binary and ordinal data. Statistics in Medicine, 18:385-396, 1999.
Palta M, Sadek M, Lim T-S, McGuinness G. Association of tocolytic therapy with antenatal steroid administration, infant and child outcomes. American Journal of Perinatology, 15,87-92, 1998.
Palta M, Sadek M, Barnet JH, Evans M, Weinstein MR, McGuinness G, Peters ME, Gabbert D, Fryback D, Farrell P. Evaluation of criteria for chronic lung disease in very low birth weight infants. Journal of Pediatrics, 132:57-63, 1998.
Palta M, LeCaire T, Daniels K, Shen G, Allen C D'Alessio D. Risk factors for hospitalization in a cohort with type I diabetes. American Journal of Epidemiology, 146:627-636, 1997.
Palta M, Sadek M, Gabbert D, Brady WE, Weinstein MR, McGuinness G, Peters ME. The relation of maternal complications to outcomes in very low birth weight infants in an era of changing neonatal care. American J. Perinatology, 13:109-114, 1996.
Palta M, Shen G, Allen C, Klein R, D'Alessio D. Longitudinal glycosylated hemoglobin patterns from diagnosis in a population based cohort with IDDM. American J Epidemiology, 114: 954-61, 1996.
Palta M, Weinstein MR, McGuinness G, Gabbert D, Brady W, Peters ME. A population study: Mortality and morbidity after availability of surfactant therapy. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Med, 148:1295-1301, 1994.
Palta M, Yao TJ, Velu R. Testing for omitted variables and non-linearity in regression models for longitudinal data. Statistics in Medicine, 13:2219-2231, 1994. 

Courses Taught:
  • PHS 651: Advanced Regression Methods in Population Health (1999 – present)
  • PHS 552: Regression Methods in Population Health I (1988– 1999, 2001, 2011)


Research Weblinks:

Contact Information:

610 Walnut Street
Room 689, WARF Building
Madison, WI 53726

Phone: 608-263-4029
Fax: 608-263-2820


Updated On: 
Mon, 01/26/2015