Mary D. Willis, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health

High quality existing data sources can be efficiently integrated to assess the population health impacts of emerging environmental hazards. However, assimilating these sources into a coherent data set for health analysis presents many challenges. My goal is to utilize environmental data integration to pursue health-based investigations of environmental hazards and evaluate these issues in a policy-relevant framework to inform population health.


My research examines the health impacts of environmental and energy sector exposures, including oil and gas development, traffic-related air pollution, and emerging hazards. These projects broadly leverage policy-relevant methods related to spatial exposure assessment and econometric-based causal inference techniques. Below, you’ll find a list of my published work.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  1. Wesselink AK, Lovett SM, Weinberg J, Geller RJ, Wang TR, Regan AK, Willis MD, Perkins RB, Yland JJ, Koenig MR, Rothman KJ, Hatch EE, Wise LA. COVID-19 vaccination and menstrual cycle characteristics: A prospective cohort study. Vaccine. 2023;41(29):4327-4334. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2023.06.012
  2. Willis MD, Cushing LJ, Buonocore JJ, Deziel NC, Casey JA. It’s electric! An environmental equity perspective on the lifecycle of our energy sources. Environ Epidemiol. 2023;7(2):e246. Published 2023 Apr 3. DOI: 10.1097/EE9.0000000000000246
  3. Willis MD, Wesselink AK, Hystad P, Pescador Jimenez M, Coleman CM, Kirwa K, Hatch EE, Wise LA. Associations between Residential Greenspace and Fecundability in a North American Preconception Cohort Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2023;131(4):47012. DOI: 10.1289/EHP10648
  4. Campbell EJ, Sims KD, Hill EL, Willis MD. Associations among Historical Neighborhood Disinvestment, Hazardous Air Pollutants, and Current Adult Asthma Prevalence. Environ Health Perspect. 2023;131(3):37702. DOI: 10.1289/EHP11371
  5. Willis MD, Carozza SE, Hystad P. Congenital anomalies associated with oil and gas development and resource extraction: a population-based retrospective cohort study in Texas. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2023;33(1):84-93. DOI: 10.1038/s41370-022-00505-x
  6. Harper T, Kuohung W, Sayres L, Willis MD, Wise LA. Optimizing preconception care and interventions for improved population health. Fertil Steril. 2022;S0015-0282(22)02101-X. DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2022.12.014
  7. McKinnon CJ, Joglekar DJ, Hatch EE, Rothman KJ, Wesselink AK, Willis MD, Wang TR, Mikkelsen EM, Eisenberg ML, Wise LA. Male personal heat exposures and fecundability: A preconception cohort study. Andrology. 2022;10(8):1511-1521. DOI: 10.1111/andr.13242
  8. Willis MD, Schrank D, Xu C, Harris L, Ritz BR, Hill EL, Hystad P. A population-based cohort study of traffic congestion and infant growth using connected vehicle data. Sci Adv. 2022;8(43):eabp8281. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abp8281
  9. Geller RJ, Wesselink AK, Upson K, Claus Henn B, Schildroth S, Wright R, Coleman CM, Willis MD, Bethea TN, Williams PL, Harmon QE, Baird DD, Wegienka G, Wise LA Correlates of whole blood metal concentrations among reproductive-aged Black women. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2022;10.1038/s41370-022-00477-y. DOI: 10.1038/s41370-022-00477-y
  10. Willis MD, Orta OR, Ncube C, Wesselink AK, Ðoàn LN, Kirwa K, Boynton-Jarrett R, Hatch EE, Wise LA. Association Between Neighborhood Disadvantage and Fertility Among Pregnancy Planners in the US. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(6):e2218738. Published 2022 Jun 1. DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.18738
  11. Willis MD, Hill EL, Kile ML, Carozza S, Hystad P. Associations between residential proximity to oil and gas extraction and hypertensive conditions during pregnancy: a difference-in-differences analysis in Texas, 1996-2009. Int J Epidemiol. 2022;51(2):525-536. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyab246
  12. Wesselink AK, Wang TR, Ketzel M, Mikkelsen EM, Brandt J, Khan J, Hertel O, Laursen ASD, Johannesen BR, Willis MD, Levy JI, Rothman KJ, Sørensen HT, Wise LA, Hatch EE. Air pollution and fecundability: Results from a Danish preconception cohort study. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2022;36(1):57-67. DOI: 10.1111/ppe.12832
  13. Willis M, Hill E, Boslett A, Kile M, Carozza S, Hystad P. Associations between Residential Proximity to Oil and Gas Drilling and Term Birth Weight and Small for Gestational Age Infants in Texas: A Difference-in-Differences Analysis. Environ. Health Perspect. 2021:129(7). DOI: 10.1289/EHP7678.
  14. Denham A, Willis MD, Croft DP, Liu L, Hill EL. Acute myocardial infarction associated with unconventional natural gas development: A natural experiment. Environ Res. 2021;195:110872. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.110872
  15. Denham A, Willis M, Croft D, Liu L, Hill E. Unconventional Natural Gas Development Associated with Acute Myocardial Infarction Hospitalizations and Mortality. Environ. Res. 2021: 195. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.110872.
  16. Willis M, Hill E, Kile M, Carozza S, Hystad P. Assessing the Effectiveness of Vehicle Emission Regulations on Improving Perinatal Health: A Population-Based Accountability Study. Int. J. Epidemiol. 2021 Jan; 49(6) 1781-1791. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyaa137.
  17. Willis M, Hystad P, Denham A, Hill E. Natural Gas Development, Flaring Practices, and Pediatric Asthma Hospitalizations from 2000 to 2010 in Texas, USA. Int. J. Epidemiol. 2021 Jan; 49(6) 1883-1897. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyaa115.
  18. Thessen AE, Grondin CJ, Kulkarni RD, Brander S, Truong L, Vasilevsky NA, Callahan TJ, Chan LE, Westra B, Willis M, Rothenberg SE, Jarabek AM, Burgoon L, Korrick SA, Haendel MA. Community Approaches for Integrating Environmental Exposures into Human Models of Disease. Environ. Health Perspect. 2020 Dec; 28(12):e125002. DOI: 10.1289/EHP7215.
  19. Denham A, Willis M, Zavez A, Hill E. Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Hospitalizations: Evidence from Pennsylvania, United States, 2003–2014. Public Health. 2019 Mar; 1(168):17–25. DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2018.11.020
  20. Willis M, Hystad P. Hazardous Air Pollutants and Adverse Birth Outcomes in Portland, Oregon. Environ Epidemiol. 2019 Feb; 3(1):e034. DOI: 10.1097/EE9.0000000000000034.
  21. Willis M, Jusko T, Halterman J, Hill E. Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Pediatric Asthma Hospitalizations in Pennsylvania. Environ Res. 2018; 166: 402-408. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.022.