April 20, 2017
Angela Liese, a professor in the Arnold School’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, is widely recognized for her research and service in nutritional epidemiology, diabetes epidemiology, and public health nutrition. Her work helps inform nutrition-related policies that impact the health of all Americans. It also helps shape the scientific field itself.
Recently, two of Liese’s scientific publications received highly cited paper recognitions from two different high-impact journals in the field. The first award recognizes Liese and her co-authors for a 2013 paper published in the Journal of Nutritional Education and Behavior (Characterizing the food retail environment: Impact of count, type, and geospatial error in 2 secondary data sources). This study examined the reliability of data characterizing the accessibility of healthy food at commercial food outlets. The paper was among the top five highly cited papers during 2014 and 2015.
“I was very surprised that this paper is getting such attention, because it is a very methodological paper in a pretty specialized field,” says Liese. “However, rigorous methods are the foundation of excellent research, which is probably why others research endeavors were able to benefit from the foundation we created and laid out.”
The second highly cited paper resulted from the Dietary Patterns Method Project—an endeavor that Liese led and which reflected the culmination of her 15 years of experience studying dietary patterns. Published in The Journal of Nutrition, this paper (The Dietary Patterns Methods Project: Synthesis of findings across cohorts and relevance to dietary guidance) established an evidence-based link between nutritional guidelines for healthy eating patterns and reduced mortality.
“I think this paper is so highly cited because it has shown, in an overwhelmingly convincing way, how important the quality of dietary intake is,” Liese says. “I also think this paper has contributed to setting a new standard in nutritional epidemiology, demonstrating how much more we can achieve if research teams work together across institutions to answer questions.”
Citations serve as an important indicator of a researcher or study’s impact on the field. They reflect the reach of their findings and shape future research. One of Liese’s studies, focusing on the burden of diabetes mellitus in U.S. youth and published in Pediatrics, has already resulted in more than 350 citations. Another paper by Liese and her colleagues, this time on food environments and food outlet databases and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, has amassed enough citations to place it in the top one percent of the academic field of social sciences. Other top one percent rankings include the aforementioned Pediatrics and The Journal of Nutrition papers as well as several others.
These awards and rankings serve as a testament to the impact that Liese and her team’s line of research is making in the areas of nutritional epidemiology, diabetes epidemiology, and public health nutrition. Not only is this work impacting public health directly by informing guidelines and recommendations, it is clearly influencing current and future public health researchers through its scientific merit.