Marcela Tamayo y Ortiz

  • Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
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Marcela Tamayo-Ortiz, is an environmental and occupational epidemiologist interested in the maternal-child health effects of environmental, occupational and psychosocial exposures. She has excellent field work and scientific experience from collaborating with the multi-institutional birth cohorts ELEMENT (Early Life Exposures in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants) and PROGRESS (Programming Research in Obesity, Growth, Environment and Social Stressors). Her current research focuses on women’s environmental and occupational exposures and bone health and body composition.

Dr. Tamayo-Ortiz has been a strong advocate to reduce population lead exposure. She developed a sensitization program linking occupational exposures of traditional potters to environmental population wide scenarios. Her research on lead concentrations in candy has had an important impact on public awareness of this exposure in Mexico. She is a co-investigator in the National Surveys of Health and Nutrition that have documented for the first time the prevalence of children’s lead intoxication in Mexico, and a team member of the National Program for Environmental Exposure regulation.

Before coming to Mailman School, Dr. Tamayo-Ortiz was the Head of the Occupational Health Research Department at the Mexican Social Security Institute, the largest health and social benefits provider in Latin America. During the COVID-19 pandemic she collaborated with the occupational health team that studied the impact of the pandemic and set the occupational prevention guidelines for over twenty million private sector workers.

Dr. Tamayo-Ortiz is currently the Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Chapter of the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology. She has special interest in strengthening the link between senior and young researchers from LAC.

Office Location: 722 West 168th Street, ARB 1217

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BID, 2002 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • MS, 2009 Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, México
  • ScD, 2014 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Committees, Societies, Councils

Chair, Latin America and the Caribbean Chapter, International Society of Environmental Epidemiology


Research Interests

  • Adolescent Health
  • Aging
  • Climate Change
  • Community Health
  • Environmental Epidemiology
  • Environmental Health
  • Urban Health

Selected Publications

Cathey, A., Tamayo-Ortiz, M., Tamayo-Orozco, J., Meeker, J. D., Peterson, K. E., Trejo-Valdivia, B., Téllez-Rojo, M. M., & Watkins, D. J. (2023). Calcium supplementation and body mass index modify associations between prenatal phthalate exposure and perinatal bone ultrasound measures among pregnant women. Environmental Research, 116513.

McGuinn, L. A., Rosa, M. J., Osorio-Valencia, E., Gutiérrez-Avila, I., Martinez-Medina, S., Harari, H., Kloog, I., Wright, R. J., Téllez-Rojo, M. M., Wright, R. O., & Tamayo-Ortiz, M. (2023). Urban stress and its association with symptoms of depression, fatigue, and sleep disruption in women in Mexico City. Cities & Health, 0(0), 1–9.

Estévez-García, J. A., Farías, P., & Tamayo-Ortiz, M. (2022). A review of studies on blood lead concentrations of traditional Mexican potters. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 240, 113903.

Hernandez-Avila, M., Tamayo-Ortiz, M., Vieyra-Romero, W., Gutierrez-Diaz, H., Zepeda-Tello, R., Barros-Sierra, D., Velasco-Reyna, R., Ramirez-Polanco, E., & Ortega-Alvarez, M. (2022). Use of Private Sector Workforce Respiratory Disease Short-Term Disability Claims to Assess SARS-CoV-2, Mexico, 2020. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 28(1), 214–218.

Tamayo-Ortiz, M., Riojas-Rodríguez, H., Téllez-Rojo, M. M., Boischio, A., Mañay, N., Menezes-Filho, J. A., Queirolo, E. I., Cortés, S., & Kordas, K. (2022). A Call for Biomonitoring Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Considerations for Potentially Toxic Metals/Metalloids. Annals of Global Health, 88(1), 80.

Osorio-Yáñez, C., Sanchez-Guerra, M., Solano, M., Baccarelli, A., Wright, R., Sanders, A. P., Tellez-Rojo, M. M., & Tamayo-Ortiz, M. (2021). Metal exposure and bone remodeling during pregnancy: Results from the PROGRESS cohort study. Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex: 1987), 282, 116962.

Téllez-Rojo, M. M., Bautista-Arredondo, L. F., Trejo-Valdivia, B., Cantoral, A., Estrada-Sánchez, D., Kraiem, R., Pantic, I., Rosa-Parra, A., Gómez-Acosta, L. M., Romero-Martínez, M., Cuevas-Nasu, L., Shamah-Levy, T., Fuller, R., & Tamayo-Ortiz, M. (2019). [National report of blood lead levels and lead-glazed ceramics use in vulnerable children.]. Salud Publica De Mexico, 61(6), 787–797.

Pantic, I., Tamayo-Ortiz, M., Rosa-Parra, A., Bautista-Arredondo, L., Wright, R. O., Peterson, K. E., Schnaas, L., Rothenberg, S. J., Hu, H., & Téllez-Rojo, M. M. (2018). Children’s Blood Lead Concentrations from 1988 to 2015 in Mexico City: The Contribution of Lead in Air and Traditional Lead-Glazed Ceramics. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(10), 2153.

Tamayo-Ortiz, M., & Navia-Antezana, J. (2018). Reduced Lead Exposure Following a Sensitization Program in Rural Family Homes Producing Traditional Mexican Ceramics. Annals of Global Health, 84(2), 285–291.

Tamayo y Ortiz, M., Téllez-Rojo, M. M., Hu, H., Hernández-Ávila, M., Wright, R., Amarasiriwardena, C., Lupoli, N., Mercado-García, A., Pantic, I., & Lamadrid-Figueroa, H. (2016). Lead in candy consumed and blood lead levels of children living in Mexico City. Environmental Research, 147, 497–502.