stombSarah Tom, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Pharmaceutical Health Services Research Department
Saratoga Building, 01-224
Secondary appointment: University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Epidemiology
Tel: (410) 706 -7841
Curriculum Vitae- 5 February 2016

About Dr. Tom

Sarah Tom is an epidemiologist and demographer who studies women’s health and aging from a life course perspective. Her research focuses on modifiable risk factors for health outcomes, including insomnia medication use and Medicare Part D policy. Sarah completed her BA in economics, PhD and MA in demography, and MPH at the University of California, Berkeley. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Medical Research Council Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing and National Survey for Health and Development (London, United Kingdom), the National Institute on Aging Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry (Bethesda, MD) and the Group Health Research Institute (Seattle, WA). Prior to joining the PHSR faculty, Sarah was an assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston, TX), where she was also a Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Scholar.

Courses Taught in Spring 2016

Research Methods II (PHSR 702)
Health Systems and Policy (PHAR 5010)

Summaries of select publications (with links to articles accessible to everyone on PubMed Central)

Characterization of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in an older population: updated incidence and life expectancy with and without dementia: The rate of new dementia cases increased into oldest ages, in a cohort of people free from dementia at baseline. Life expectancy with dementia accounts for survival and the risk of developing dementia. Life expectancy without dementia and as a percentage of overall life expectancy decreased with age.

Associations between poor sleep quality and psychosocial stress with obesity in reproductive-age women of lower socioeconomic status: Among low-income women of reproductive age, poor sleep quality, psychosocial stress, and obesity were common, but poor sleep quality was not related to obesity.

Frailty and fracture, disability, and falls: a multiple country study from the Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women: In women from North America, Australia, and Europe, frailty respondents were at increased risk for subsequent fractures, worsening disability, and falls.

Type and timing of menopause and physical function: In a group of women from across the U.S., women with menopause due to hysterectomy or oophorectomy or and earlier age at menopause had worse physical functioning in later life.  These associations reflected both self-rated physical function and function measured through performance measures.  These characteristics from mid-life may indicate women who would benefit from interventions for physical function in later life.

Type and timing of menopause and mortality: In a group of women from rural Iowa, later age at natural menopause was related to increased mortality overall and mortality due to cardiovascular causes. Menopause related to hysterectomy or oophorectomy was not related to mortality risk.  Women with later natural menopause may benefit from increased cardiovascular health monitoring.

Sleep problems following hormone therapy suspension: In a group of women from the Pacific Northwest already using hormone therapy, suspension of hormone therapy for 1 or 2 months was related to moderately greater frequency of sleep problems.  Women who suspend hormone therapy use may benefit from alternative management techniques for sleep problems.

Fetal environment and age at menopause: In a group of British women, higher birthweight and higher birthweight accounting for gestational age were related to a greater likelihood of natural menopause by 45 years.  These findings support a relationship between fetal environment and processes that regulate ovarian function.

Sleep difficulty during the menopausal transition: Severe self-reported sleep difficulty increased during the menopausal transition in a group of British women followed annual from ages 48 to 54 years.  After accounting for other health factors and menopausal symptoms, moderate self-reported sleep difficulty increased only among women with a hysterectomy.  Women with severe sleep difficulty may require management assistance during the menopausal transition.

Patterns in trouble sleeping: In a group of British women at mid-life, from ages 48 to 54 years, total duration of trouble sleeping and number of episodes of trouble sleeping were related to health risk factors at age 43 years.  Sleep at mid-life is related to other longitudinal patterns in health.