Pam R. Factor-Litvak, PhD

  • Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center
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Along with an interdisciplinary group of scientists including dental scientists, toxicologists, neuropsychologists and neurologists, Dr. Factor-Litvak is studying the associations between inorganic mercury exposure, derived from dental restorations, and neurological and neuropsychological function in a large group of adults. This study is the first large epidemiological investigation of the health effects of dental amalgams and is of great public health significance since policy decisions are likely to be based on these data. Dr. Factor-Litvak also studies the effects of exposure to lead on pregnancy outcomes and childhood development. As part of multi-disciplinary team of the Yugoslavia Pb study, she has focused on the effects of lead on childhood growth, development, and blood pressure and renal function. Small adverse associations have been found in this (and other cohorts); this cohort is currently being followed to determine the persistence of these associations. Environmental contaminants are currently of interest in the study of infertility and other impediments to normal reproduction. As the epidemiologist for the National Reproductive Medical Network, a collaborative effort of 8 sites across the country, Dr. Factor-Litvak is exploring associations between environmental exposures and outcomes such as response to treatment for infertility, semen parameters, ectopic pregnancy and recurrent spontaneous abortion. Dr. Factor-Litvak's other interests are in the development of epidemiological methods important for environmental studies, such as missing data on exposure and outcome, biased selection of study subjects and the extrapolation of data from ecologic studies to individuals.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center

Administrative Titles

  • Vice Chair of Epidemiology

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, 1977 University of Rochester
  • MS, 1979 Harvard University
  • M Phil, 1980 Yale University
  • PhD, 1992 Columbia University

Committees, Societies, Councils

Member, American College of Epidemiology

Member, Society for Epidemiologic Research


Dr. Factor-Litvak is an epidemiologist with a strong interest in environmental health and her research focuses on the health effects of environmental contaminants. Her specific current interest encompass the adverse effects of heavy metals on pregnancy outcomes, infant development, adult neuropsychological and neurological function and renal function.

Global Health Activities

Environmental Lead, Thyroid Function and Child Development, Serbia and Montenegro: As a follow up to a study of environmental lead, pregnancy outcomes, and child development, Dr. Pam Factor-Litvak and colleagues are studying whether the adverse effects of lead on cognition and behavior is mediated via inadequate maternal thyroid functioning while pregnant.

Arsenic and Child Development in Bangladesh, Bangladesh: Dr. Pam Factor-Litvak and colleagues are studying whether arsenic exposure, due to the consumption of arsenic contaminated well water, is associated with neuropsychological outcomes in Bangladesh, an area with a wide range of exposure.

Urban Health Activities

Follow up of the Columbia Presbyterian National Collaborative Perinatal Project: Pregnant women receiving prenatal care at CUMC were recruited between 1959 and 1964 into a study that followed their children through age 7. Dr. Pam Factor-Litvak and colleagues are currently following a sample of the male offspring to examine whether exposure to environmental agents, in utero, is associated with reproductive and neuropsychiatic functioning.