Jennifer Clark Nelson, PhD

Nelson_Jennifer_C_205x293.jpg

“As national statistical leaders, we promote the use of rigorous methods that enhance drug and vaccine safety monitoring in the United States.”

Jennifer Clark Nelson, PhD

Senior Investigator and Director of Biostatistics, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Jen.Nelson@kp.org
206-287-2004

Biography

Jennifer Clark Nelson, PhD, is a senior investigator and biostatistician with expertise in methods to assess drug and vaccine safety and effectiveness for studies that use large electronic health care data. Dr. Nelson provides national statistical leadership as a methods core lead for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Sentinel Initiative, an active surveillance system for monitoring the safety of all FDA-regulated medical products after they have reached the market. She also leads methodological research within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), a national collaboration involving seven managed care organizations that has monitored immunization safety in the United States since 1990.

As part of both the VSD and Sentinel projects, Dr. Nelson works with her Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) colleagues Andrea Cook, PhD, and David Carrell, PhD, to pilot and scale up innovative sequential monitoring, machine learning, and natural language processing approaches that rapidly and accurately identify adverse events not detected in pre-licensure studies. Her 2013 study of the safety of a pentavalent combination DTaP-IPV-Hib (Pentacel) childhood vaccine put some of these ideas into practice and was selected as one of the American Journal of Epidemiology’s 10 best articles of the year. She and her clinical KPWHRI research partner, Lisa Jackson, MD, MPH, lead the CDC’s surveillance effort to proactively monitor the safety of the new herpes zoster vaccine for adults (Shingrix).      

Dr. Nelson is an affiliate professor in biostatistics at the University of Washington (UW) and has been KPWHRI’s director of biostatistics since 2014. In collaboration with the UW, she and Dr. Cook co-founded the Seattle Symposium on Health Care Data Analytics, a conference designed to confront challenges and promote learning from electronic health record data to advance health and health care. In 2009, Dr. Nelson earned the VSD’s Margarette Kolczak Award for outstanding contributions in biostatistics and epidemiology in vaccine safety.

Research interests and experience

  • Biostatistics

    Post-marketing drug and vaccine safety study design and analysis; secondary use and misuse of large electronic health care databases for medical research; vaccine effectiveness study methods; sequential testing in observational data settings; methods to assess interrater variability

  • Vaccines & Infectious Diseases

    Biostatistics; post-marketing vaccine safety study design and analysis; influenza vaccine effectiveness in the elderly; methodological issues in large multi-site health care database studies

  • Medication Use & Patient Safety

    Biostatistics; post-marketing drug and vaccine safety study design and analysis; safety signal detection methods; methodological issues in large, multi-site health care database studies

  • Aging & Dementia

    Biostatistics; statistical issues in longitudinal observational cohort studies

  • Cardiovascular Health

Recent publications

Blasi PR, Krakauer C, Anderson ML, Nelson J, Bush T, Catz SL, McClure JB. Factors associated with future dental care utilization among low-income smokers overdue for dental visits. BMC Oral Health. 2018 Nov 1;18(1):183. doi: 10.1186/s12903-018-0646-8. PubMed

Jackson ML, Yu O, Nelson JC, Nordin JD, Tartof SY, Klein NP, Donahue JG, Irving SA, Glanz JM, McNeil MM, Jackson LA. Safety of repeated doses of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine in adults and adolescents. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2018 Aug;27(8):921-925. doi: 10.1002/pds.4569. Epub 2018 Jun 3. PubMed

Tseng HF, Sy L, Qian L, Liu IA, Mercado C, Lewin B, Tartof SY, Nelson JC, Jackson LA, Daley MF, Weintraub E, Klein NP, Belongia E, Liles EG, Jacobsen SJ. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine safety in elderly adults. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, Volume 5, Issue 6, 1 June 2018, ofy100, https://doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofy100.

McClure JB, Bush T, Anderson ML, Blasi P, Thompson E, Nelson J, Catz SL. Oral Health Promotion and Smoking Cessation Program Delivered via Tobacco Quitlines: The Oral Health 4 Life Trial. Am J Public Health. 2018;108(5):689-695. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304279. Epub 2018 Mar 22. PubMed

Martin D, Gagne JJ, Gruber S, Izem R, Nelson JC, Nguyen MD, Ouellet-Hellstrom R, Schneeweiss S, Toh S, Walker AM. Sequential surveillance for drug safety in a regulatory environment. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2018 Jul;27(7):707-712. doi: 10.1002/pds.4407. Epub 2018 Mar 5. No abstract available. PubMed

Chrischilles EA, Gagne JJ, Fireman B, Nelson J, Toh S, Shoaibi A, Reichman ME, Wang S, Nguyen M, Zhang R, Izem R, Goulding MR, Southworth MR, Graham DJ, Fuller C, Katcoff H, Woodworth T, Rogers C, Saliga R, Lin ND, McMahill-Walraven CN, Nair VP, Haynes K, Carnahan RM. Prospective surveillance pilot of rivaroxaban safety within the US Food and Drug Administration Sentinel System. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2018 Jan 10. doi: 10.1002/pds.4375. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Jackson ML, Phillips CH, Benoit J, Kiniry E, Madziwa L, Nelson JC, Jackson LA. The impact of selection bias on vaccine effectiveness estimates from test-negative studies.  Vaccine. 2018 Jan 29;36(5):751-757. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.12.022. Epub 2017 Dec 15. PubMed

McClure JB, Blasi PR, Cook A, Bush T, Fishman P, Nelson J, Anderson ML, Catz SL. Corrigendum to "oral health 4 life: design and methods of a semi-pragmatic randomized trial to promote oral health care and smoking abstinence among tobacco quitline callers". Contemp Clin Trials. 57 (2017) 90-97. 2017 Jul 24. pii: S1551-7144(17)30469-X. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.07.011. [Epub ahead of print]. No abstract available. PubMed

McClure JB, Blasi PR, Cook A, Bush T, Fishman P, Nelson J, Anderson ML, Catz SL. Oral health 4 life: design and methods of a semi-pragmatic randomized trial to promote oral health care and smoking abstinence among tobacco quitline callers. Contemp Clin Trials. 2017 Jun;57:90-97. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.04.003. Epub 2017 Apr 12. PubMed

Glass JE, Rathouz PJ, Gattis M, Joo YS, Nelson JC, Williams EC. Intersections of poverty, race/ethnicity, and sex: alcohol consumption and adverse outcomes in the United States. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2017 Mar 27. doi: 10.1007/s00127-017-1362-4. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

 

Vaccine safety

clinic-nurse-sitting-patients-waiting-for-vaccinations

COVID-19 vaccines and serious reactions: 3 questions answered

Jen Nelson, PhD, talks about monitoring reactions to the mRNA vaccines.

Vaccine Safety

About-Us-Capabilities_Jennifer-Nelson_1col.jpg

Biostatisticians track COVID-19 vaccine safety

Dr. Jennifer Nelson explains how KP scientists are helping the CDC and FDA keep an eye out for rare adverse events.

drug safety

News_-_Sentinel_Pills_Medicine_Nelson_-_1col.jpg

FDA to expand drug-safety monitoring capacity

New funding will establish an innovation center, to be led by Harvard Pilgrim in partnership with KPWHRI and others.

news

KP-Research-Bank_1col.jpg

Washington state members begin joining the KP research biobank

KPWHRI launches a phone-based recruitment pilot project in May. Outreach to diverse populations is key.