photo of Elizabeth Helzner

Elizabeth P. Helzner, PhD, MS, DipACLM

Interim Chair and Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Academic Qualifications:
  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Columbia University
  • MS: Boston University
  • Certified Lifestyle Medicine Professional, American College of Lifestyle Medicine
Background and Expertise:

Dr. Elizabeth Helzner is an Associate Professor and Interim Chair in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She received a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, and subsequently held postdoctoral fellowships in Aging Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, and in Neuroepidemiology at Columbia University’s Gertrude Sergievsky Center.

Research Interests:

Dr. Helzner is a chronic disease epidemiologist who specializes in the study age-related conditions. Her primary research focus is age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). She has explored many potential contributors to hearing loss in older age, including diabetes, bone density, vascular health, and demographic, genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. She has also studied the influence of presbycusis on cognition and cognitive decline, mortality, psychological health, and physical function.

In addition to her work in hearing loss, Dr. Helzner has conducted epidemiologic studies on the natural history of Alzheimer’s disease, including examinations of post-diagnosis survival and correlates of cognitive decline among patients with AD. Her collaborative projects with the departments of Neurology, Oncology, Geriatric Psychiatry, and Occupational Therapy at SUNY Downstate, have focused on projects related to pre-hospital stroke diagnosis, the epidemiology of multiple myeloma, the influence of hearing loss on mental state in elders, and community-based programming for people living with Parkinson’s Disease.

A new area of interest for Dr. Helzner is the association between dietary patterns and chronic disease, particularly the role that plant-based nutrition can play in the prevention and treatment of common health conditions in the community.

Courses Taught:
  • EPID 5200: Principles of Epidemiology
  • EPID 5203: Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases
  • EPID 5201: Epidemiologic Methods
  • EPID 5305: Epidemiology of Aging
  • EPID 5307: Critical Review of the Epidemiologic Literature
  • PUBH 7201: Study Design for Public Health Practice
  • Purchase-Helzner EL, Cauley JA, Faulkner KA, Pratt S, Zmuda JM, Talbott EO, Hochberg MC, Stone K, Newman A. Hearing sensitivity, falls and fracture in older women: The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures.Annals of Epidemiology 2004; 14:311-318.
  • Helzner EP, Cauley JA, Pratt SR, Wisniewski S, Talbott EO, Zmuda JM, Harris TB, Rubin S, Taaffe DR, Tylavsky FA, Newman AB. Hearing sensitivity and bone mineral density in older adults:The Health, Aging and Body Composition Study.Osteoporosis International 2005; 16:1675-1682.
  • Helzner EP, Cauley JA, Pratt SR, Wisniewski S, Zmuda JM, Talbott EO, de Rekeniere N, Harris T, Rubin S, Simonsick EM, Tylavsky FA, Newman AB.Race and gender differences in hearing sensitivity: The Health, Aging and Body Composition Study.Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2005; 53 (12): 2119-2127.
  • Helzner EP, Cauley JA, Pratt SR, Wisniewski SR, Zmuda JM, Talbott EO. Race and sex differences in age-related hearing loss: The health, aging and body composition study. Noise Health 2006;8:62
  • Helzner EP, Scarmeas N, Cosentino S, Portet F, Stern Y. Leisure activity and cognitive decline in incident Alzheimer’s Disease. Archives of Neurology 2007; 64 (12):1749-1754.
  • Helzner EP, Scarmeas N, Cosentino S, Tang M-X, Stern Y. Survival after Diagnosis of Alzheimers Disease: Results from a population based study of incident cases.Neurology 2008; 71 (19):1489-95
  • Helzner EP, Luchsinger J, Scarmeas N, Cosentino S, Brickman A, Glymour MM, Stern Y. Vascular risk factors and disease progression in Alzheimer’s Disease. Archives of Neurology2009;66(3):343-348.