Viola MacInnes/Independence Professor of Nursing
Professor of Epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine
Director, Master of Public Health Program
Director, Pennsylvania Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology
Executive Director, Center for Public Health Initiatives

When epidemiologist Jennifer A. Pinto-Martin was the project director on the Neonatal Brain Hemorrhage Study at Columbia University in the mid 1980s, she noticed that many of the pre-term babies were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Curious as to why the ASD rate was so high, Dr. Pinto-Martin began studying risk factors for ASD. Her findings have led to better screening for pre-term babies and the establishment of a CDC-funded center of excellence for ASD at Penn Nursing, which she joined in 1990.

By identifying modifiable risk factors for Autism Spectrum Disorder and informing the public, we can help prevent this devastating disorder. 


  • PhD, University of California, 1984
  • MPH, University of California, 1982
  • BA, Stanford University, 1978