Helene Margolis, Ph.D.

Helene G. Margolis, Ph.D.


Environmental Health

Internal Medicine


  • Associate Adjunct Professor


Clinical Interests

Dr. Margolis has extensive research and public policy experience and expertise related to the health impacts of climate change and environmental factors, most notably heat and air pollution, on vulnerable populations, especially children and older adults. Her 20 years experience as a California state scientist and program lead, and academic training in epidemiology (PhD), immunology (MA), and marine sciences (oceanography)/biology (B.A.) gives her a unique knowledge-base and perspective on issues related to climate change. Her ARRA Challenge Grant (�Projected Heat Wave Magnitudes and Public Health Impacts�; NIEHS) is advancing understanding of heat-related illness and morbidity that occurs even under relatively mild conditions across California. Dr. Margolis� research interests include: Public health impacts of climate change and variability, including clinical ramifications and interventions to reduce vulnerability; pathophysiology/mechanisms and influence of environmental factors on natural history of chronic diseases (respiratory, cardiovascular, metabolic, immunologic); pediatric asthma and lung function growth; gene-environment interactions; exposure assessment; and translation of research findings into integrated public health and environmental policies. A particular interest is development of multiple-determinant models of chronic disease and related health outcomes that incorporate individual- and community-level factors and assess vulnerability across the life-span. She is committed to addressing issues of ethics in environmental health research, social inequities in health and environmental policy and access to healthcare.


General Medicine

Center/Program Affiliation

Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care
Women's Center for Health


Ph.D., UC Davis, Davis, California, 2003

M.A., California State University, Sacramento, Sacramento, California, 1985

B.A., LIU Southampton, Southampton, NY, 1972


Switzer Foundation, San Francisco, CA, 1999

University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, 1996

University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, 1999

Professional Memberships

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Thoracic Society

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists

International Society for Environmental Epidemiology

Honors and Awards

Superior Accomplishment Award: State of California, Air Resources Board Recognition for conceptualization/implementation of Vulnerable Populations Research Program., 2000

Sustained Superior Accomplishment Award: State of California, Air Resources Board Recognition for development of the Long-term Exposure Health Effects Research Program, and the Southern California Children's Health Study., 1993

Select Recent Publications

Eckel SP, Louis TA, Chaves PHM, Fried LP, Margolis HG. Modification by Frailty Status of Ambient Air Pollution Effects on Lung Function in Older Adults in the Cardiovascular Health Study. American Journal of Epidemiology. 176(3):214-223, 2012.

Pinkerton KE, Rom WN, Akpinar-Elci M, Balmes JR, Bayram H., Brandli O, Hollingsworth JW, Kinney PL, Margolis HG, Martin WJ, Sasser EN, Smith KR, Takaro TK; on behalf of the American Thoracic Society Environmental Health Policy Committee. An Official American Thoracic Society Workshop Report: Climate Change and Human Health. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 9 (1): 3�8, 2012.

Reid CE, Mann JK, Alfasso R, English PB, King GC, Lincoln RA, Margolis HG, Rubado DJ, Sabato JE, West NL, Woods B, Navarro KM, Balmes, JR. Evaluation of a Heat Vulnerability Index on Abnormally Hot Days: an Environmental Public Health Tracking study. Environ Health Perspect : Online: 31 January 2012.

Shih RA, Griffin BA, Salkowski N, Jewell A, Eibner, C, Bird CE, Liao D, Cushman M, Margolis HG, Eaton CB, Whitsel EA. Ambient Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Venous Thromboembolism in the Women�s Health Initiative Hormone Therapy Trials. Environ Health Perspect: 119:326-331, 2011.

Gershunov A, Johnston Z, Margolis HG, Guirguis K. The California Heat Wave 2006 with Impacts on Statewide Medical Emergency: A space-time analysis. Geography Research Forum. 31: 53-69, 2011.

Mann JK, Balmes JR, Bruckner TA, Mortimer KM, Margolis HG, Pratt B, Hammond SK, Lurmann FW, Tager IB. Short-Term Effects of Air Pollution on Wheeze in Asthmatic Children in Fresno, California. Environ Health Perspect 118:1497�1502, 2010.

Margolis HG, Mann, J.K., Lurmann, F.W., Mortimer, K.M., Balmes, J.R., Hammond, S.K., Tager, I.B. Altered pulmonary function among children with asthma associated with highway traffic near residence. International J. of Environmental Health Research. 19(2):139-155, 2009.

Knowlton K, Rotkin-Ellman M, King G, Margolis HG, Smith D, Solomon G, Trent R, English P. The 2006 California heat wave: impacts on hospitalizations and emergency department visits. Environ. Health Perspectives. 117(1):61-7, 2009.

Jiang, R., Burke GL, Enright PL, Newman AB, Margolis HG, Cushman M, Tracy RP, Wang Y, Kronmal RA, Barr RG. Inflammatory Markers and Longitudinal Lung Function Decline in the Elderly. American Journal of Epidemiology. 168 (6):602-610, 2008

Salam MT, Margolis HG, McConnell R, McGregor JA, Avol EL, Gilliland FD. Mode of delivery is associated with asthma and allergy occurrences in children. Annals of Epidemiology. 16:341-346, 2006.