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Mari Palta, PhD

Research Area: Biostatistics, Clinical research, Epidemiology, Health services research
Keywords: Very low birth weight, Type 1 Diabetes, Longitudinal Cohort Studies

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 applying new 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 is the Principal Investigator of two epidemiologic cohort studies of very low birth weight and diabetes. Her clinical subject matter interests range from pediatrics to respiratory conditions, diabetes and sleep.

Research projects:

Newborn Lung Project: This research follows 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. Lung function testing, sleep studies and assessments of parental stress (by Dr. Whitney Witt) were done 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. Presently we are doing clinical examinations for eye and kidney complications. We also have a longitudinal plasma bank.

National Health Measurement Study: ( Dr. Palta directs 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.

Misspecification in Longitudinal Models: Statistical methods to account for confounding, measurement error and missing data.


  • Affiliate Faculty appointment in the Department of Statistics
  • American Statistical Association (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 100; see$=activity):

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.

Danielson KK, Elliott ME, LeCaire T, Binkley N, Palta M. Poor glycemic control is associated with low BMD detected in premenopausal women with type 1 diabetes. Osteoporos Int. Oct 2 2008. [Epub ahead of print] itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum.

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.

Klein BE, Klein R, McBride PE, Cruickshanks KJ, Palta M, Knudtson MD, Moss SE, Reinke JO. Cardiovascular disease, mortality, and retinal microvascular characteristics in type 1 diabetes: Wisconsin epidemiologic study of diabetic retinopathy. Arch Intern Med. Sep 27;164(17):1917-24, 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 900: Quantitative Methods in Population Health II (1999 – present)
  • PHS 800: Quantitative Methods in Population Health I (1988– 1999, 2001)

Research Weblinks:

Contact Information:

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

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


Updated On: 
Sun, 04/19/2009