Dr. Evelyn O Talbott, DrPH, MPH

Professor, Epidemiology


A526 Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261
R-znvy: rbg6@cvgg.rqh
Primary Phone: 967-179-8529
Fax: 967-179-2842

David Maynard, qez676@cvgg.rqh, 967-179-8912

Personal Statement

Evelyn O. Talbott, Dr. PH, MPH, is a Professor of Epidemiology at the University Of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health with a secondary appointment in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders. Her areas of expertise are in cardiovascular and environmental epidemiology and she has authored over 220 peer reviewed articles and book chapters devoted to the subjects.


As an environmental epidemiologist with more than 35 years of experience, Dr Talbott’s work has centered upon both case-control as well as cohort studies of cancer incidence and mortality in populations exposed to personal or environmental risk factors such as air pollutants and toxicants. These have included numerous studies of cancer risk and environmental exposures within Pennsylvania as well as specific to SW Pennsylvania.  Her work most recently has included several mapping related linkage studies of air toxics.  She conducted the only 20-year cancer mortality and incidence cohort study in follow-up of 31,000 individuals exposed following the Three Mile Island Nuclear accident (1979- 1999) which occurred on March 29, 1979. (EHP, 2000, 2003).


She also investigated the risk of leukemia among community residents of an area in northeastern (Hazelton, PA) Pennsylvania affected by the Tranguch Gasoline Spill which occurred in the early 1990s as a result of community exposure to gasoline vapors. Benzene is a potent carcinogen and present in gasoline.  Dr Talbott studied the risk of total leukemia and Acute Myelocyte Leukemia related to proximity to this spill and exposure to Benzene for the entire period 1990-2001. She also conducted numerous studies of both children and adults in other areas of Pennsylvania as well as specific to Western Pennsylvania including the Shalercrest childhood cancer cluster investigation in collaboration with the PA Dept of Health and the Canonsburg Uranium Mill Tailing Study (USEPA) (Health Effects of a Community Exposed to Toxic Wastes).  From 2002-2014, Dr. Talbott assisted the CDC Tracking program as the Director of the University of Pittsburgh Center of Excellence in Public Health Tracking. She remains involved with the CDC in their ALS registry and in the investigation of occupation and residential pesticide exposure and risk of ALS.


She is a founding member of the ISEE, the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology and served as its Secretary-Treasurer for four years. She is a fellow of the American Heart Association and the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. She has over 220 publications and book chapters devoted to environmental and cardiovascular investigations and has successfully carried out over 25 retrospective case control and cohort investigations.  She is the primary instructor for the Environmental Epidemiology program at the University and course director for Geospatial analysis in Community Health Studies in the Department of Epidemiology and has mentored as major advisor over 100 doctoral and master’s students.


Most recently, Dr. Talbott has extended her research about the health effects of hydraulic fracturing in Southwestern Pennsylvania. She serves as the Co-Principal Investigator for the Pennsylvania Department of Health-funded “Health Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing” trio of studies with Dr. Jeanine Buchanich, and she leads as the Principal Investigator of the childhood cancer case-control study. As a Washington County native, she has a vested interest in the health and wellbeing of Pennsylvania residents, especially as it relates to their risk of environmental cancers. This interview-based investigation focuses on environmental factors of the following pediatric cancers: childhood leukemias and lymphomas, central nervous system tumors, and bone cancers including Ewing Sarcoma. This ongoing study will conclude at the end of 2022.


  • Bethany College - B.S. Biology, 1969
  • University of Pittsburgh - M.P.H. Epidemiology, 1971
  • University of Pittsburgh - Dr.P.H. Epidemiology, 1976
  • Fellow of the American heart Association, council on Epidemiology and Prevention, 2001 to present


  • Geospatial Mapping and Spatial Analysis in Epidemiology 2221
  • Introduction to Environmental Epidemiology 2223

Current Projects

Health Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing
A partnership with the PA Department of Health 

This is a case-control study of risk factors for childhood cancer in Southwestern Pennsylvania and will involve interviews of parents of children with and without a diagnosis of Childhood cancer within 8 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania involved with hydraulic fracturing. Dr. Talbott's team is conducting epidemiological research on the health effects of hydraulic fracturing, which refers broadly to the process of extracting natural gas (and/or oil) from Pennsylvania's shale reserves using a combination of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.


This will involve the evaluation of environmental exposures including proximity to these hydraulic fracturing sites The counties to be included are: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland. The study is funded by the PA Department of Health in response to concerns of the community surrounding Ewing's Sarcoma cases within Westmoreland and Washington Counties. 


The study interviews parents of approximately 280 cases of cancer (including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) and central nervous system (CNS) tumors among children residing in these counties who were aged 0-19 at diagnosis and Ewing's/Bone cancers who were aged 0-29 at diagnosis with these conditions during the period 2010-2019 and identified through the Pennsylvania cancer registry. The interviews collect information regarding exposures to hydraulic fracturing and other environmental exposures and personal risk factors. Two controls are identified for each case, using Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) birth records for the same period, sampling the birth (non-cancer) matched on birth year, race and gender.

Past Projects

Identification and Characterization of Potential Environmental Risk Factors for ALS Using the ATSDR/CDC Registry - Case Controle Studies:
Two grants in 2017. One from the CDC (RO1 )  to partner  with the CDC/ATSDR  ALS registry and biorepository  to  carry out a case controls study  to consider pesticide and other environmental exposures  in  ALS cases compared to controls who are  matched by age, gender and  residential area ( county).   The second grant  funded by the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society will  use data from the Women's Health Initiative cohort study as a platform to study the relationship of Air toxics and ALS risk  working with Eric Whitsel, PHD (UNC) and the WHI air pollution research group.   


Relationship between Air Pollution and Asthma with other Acute Respiratory Hospitalizations/Emergency Department Visits in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of Health
We will utilize Emergency Department discharge data obtained from local hospitals and hospital systems (which include Children’s Hospital, UPMC, and Allegheny Health Network) for residents of Allegheny County for the period 1999-2011. Data includes age, gender, ZIP code of residence, date of visit, and disposition.  This data will be linked to daily modeled air pollutant predictions at the ZIP code level for PM2.5, O3, NO2, SO2 and CO which were specifically developed for the PARIES project and corresponding temperature.  A case-crossover / time series analysis will be performed to examine the effects of short-term exposure to the specific air pollutants on Emergency Department visits for asthma and other acute respiratory conditions. Compared to an earlier investigation, 1 this analysis will use data from more than one hospital system, including data from Children’s Hospital where a majority of children in the area are treated, and will also have more geographically refined exposure estimates.


Use of Linked Data to Investigate Opioid-Related Hospitalizations and Mortality in PA in conjunction with the PA Department of Health

Dean’s office, GSPH, University of Pittsburgh.

The Department of Epidemiology  team headed by Drs  Thomas Songer and Evelyn Talbott  are collaborating with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) to conduct the first ever investigation of hospitalizations of  opioid  overdose/abuse  that are also linked to causes of death for individuals within Pennsylvania for 2000-2011. The group will be conducting a study to track individuals from the first hospitalization due to an opioids overdose to subsequent hospitalizations and possible death.  By using a linked a dataset from the Pennsylvania health department, we can track individual trajectories related to opioid abuse.  This dataset links all hospitalizations in Pennsylvania from 2000 to 2011 where the individual had a least one opioid hospitalization during this period to all-causes of death for these individuals in PA from 2000 to 2014


CDC Academic Partners in Environmental Public Health Tracking: U19 EH000103-05

This CDC funded project has as its primary goals to 1) facilitate environmental health capacity building, 2) evaluate existing environmental health surveillance methodologies, and 3) foster development of innovative strategies and tools to assess possible links between hazards, exposures and health effects. The projected date for initial national implementation is June of 2009. The project will involve the evaluation of data linkage of health outcomes including childhood birth defects, autism, blood lead levels, childhood cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes such as low birth weight and 1UGR with environmental hazard and environmental exposure data for use by health departments for surveillance and potential public health


Pittsburgh Aerosol Research Inhalation Epidemiology Study: EP-P29581/C13936 Long Term Heath Impact of Fine Particulate matter (Allegheny County Clean Air Fund) 1999-2011 (2014-2016)

This is an offshoot of a previously funded study called the Pittsburgh Aerosol Research Inhalation Epidemiology Study (PARIES) which examined the relationship between air pollution and several health endpoints, particularly cardiovascular and respiratory morbidly and mortality for the period 1999-2006. This study will extend the time period though 2011 and will focus on Allegheny County daily mortality and emergency department visits. The principal investigator and co-principal investigator are Richard Bilonick, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Evelyn Talbott, DrPH, MPH Department of Epidemiology,  GSPH 


Heinz-Endowments – Environmental and Personal Risk Factors in Childhood Autism

The primary objective of this epidemiological study is to investigate the association of specific environmental factors with the risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by conducting a population based case-control study of ASD In Southwestern Pennsylvania with cases recruited from autism clinics and treatment centers as well as local pediatric and family medicine practices. 


CDC - 2000-2010-37443 - Air Quality and Biomarkers of Cardiovascular Effects

The aim of this project is to advance the understanding of the association of ambient fine particulate air pollution with cardiovascular effects and make recommendations for further data and research needs within the Environmental Public Health Tracking program. 


CDC - 200-2010-37444 - Development of Environmental Exposure Assessment Methods

This study will assess the impact of air lead on childhood lead poisoning through an ecological county level study, a case-control study, and an assessment of additional biomonitoring data through NHANES individual data on a US sample of children aged 1-5 for 1999-2004.


Risk of CHD in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome


Allegheny County Air Pollution Study

Positions and Honors

1971 - 1972
Research Assistant, University of Illinois, Department of Community Medicine, Chicago, IL

1972 - 1975
Teaching Fellow: Doctoral Student, Department of Epidemiology, GSPH, Univ of Pittsburgh

1976 - 1978
Instructor, Department of Epidemiology, GSPH, Univ of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

1978 - 1989
Assist. Prof., Department of Epidemiology, GSPH, Univ of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

1983 - 1990
Assistant Director, Center for Environmental Epidemiology, Environmental Protection Agency

1992 - Present
Member, Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

1997 - Present
Associate Professor, (Secondary Appt.) Department of Speech Communication Sciences and Disorders

1990 - Present
Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, GSPH, Univ of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

2002 – Present ( with tenure) 
Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, Univ of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

1997 - Present
Professor, Secondary Appointment, Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 


1988 - Present
Delta Omega, Public Health Society 

1989-1994 Founding MEmbe of the Internatinal Society for Environmental Epidemiology, secretary Treasurer, 1992-1994

1984 - 1987
Special Emphasis Research Career Award (CDC/NIH)

1970 - 1972
U.S. Public Health Service Training Grant

Elected Fellow, American Heart Association, Council on Epidemiology and Prevention

Pittsburgh Business Times, Health Care Hero in Health Care Innovations and Research (Hospital Council of Western PA) 

Member, National Academy of Science Panel on Estimating Mortality Risk Reduction and Economic benefits from Controlling Ozone Air Pollution,NRC 


  • American Heart Association
  • International Society for Environmental Epidemiology
  • Androgen Excess and PCOS Society
  • American Academy of Endocrinology

Selected Publications

Click here to view a complete list of my published work in my bibliography


1. Talbott EO, Youk AO, McHugh KP, Shire JD, Zhang A, Murphy BP, Engberg RA. Mortality among the residents of the Three Mile Island accident area: 1979-1992. Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Jun:108(6):545-52. PubMed PMID: 10856029. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1638153.


2. Talbott EO, Youk AO, McHugh-Pemu KP, Zborowski JV. Long-term follow-up of the residents of the Three Mile Island accident area: 1979-1998. Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Mar;111(3):341-8. PubMed PMID: 12611664. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1241392.


3. Han YY, Youk AO, Sasser H, Talbott EO. Cancer incidence among residents of the Three Mile Island accident area: 1982-1995. Environ Res. 2011 Nov:111(8):1230-5. PubMed PMID: 21855866.


4. Stacy SL, Buchanich JM, Ma ZQ, Mair C, Robertson L, Sharma RK, Talbott EO, Yuan JM. Maternal Obesity, Birth Size, and Risk of Childhood Cancer Development. Am J Epidemiol. 2019 May 20. pii: kwz118. doi:10.1093/aje/kwz118. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 31107539


5. Talbott EO, Xu X, Youk AO, Rager JR, Stragand JA, Malek AM. Risk of leukemia as a result of community exposure to gasoline vapors: a follow-up study. Environmental research. 2011; 111(4):597-602. PubMed [journal] PMID: 21453914


Evelyn O Talbott