University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-6320
Phone: 206 543-2465
Dr. Polifka is Co-Director of CARE Northwest, a teratogen information service located at the University of Washington. CARE Northwest receives approximately 70 inquiries per month regarding exposures to drugs and chemicals during pregnancy and lactation. She also manages the TERIS database, which provides up-to-date, authoritative information regarding the effects of drugs and chemicals on the developing embryo.
CARE Northwest is part of a North American multi-center research effort to study the safety of suing certain medications during pregnancy. Recently completed research includes a study of asthma medications in pregnancy and the North American Isotretinoin information and survey line. Current research involves following the pregnancies of women who have used medications to treat rheumatoid arthritis during pregnancy in order to detect any potential increase in the risk of birth defects and the potential effect of exposure on other adverse pregnancy outcomes, including reduced birth size and preterm delivery. Upcoming research is planned to study the use of statins (e.g. lovastatin, simvastatin, etc.) during pregnancy and whether they increase the risk of congenital anomalies in infants whose mothers have inadvertently used these drugs during pregnancy.
She serves on the PEHSU (Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit) committee which provides specially-trained experts in both pediatrics and environmental medicine to assist health care professionals and their patients who have concerns about long and short-term exposures to environmental contaminants. It serves a broad geographic region including Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.
Dr. Polifka is also on the staff of the Community Outreach & Education Program (COEP) of the Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health (CEEH) here at the UW. Its mission is to improve public understanding of the ways that genetic and environmental factors interact to produce disease. COEP staff members have been developing curriculum materials and hosting teacher workshops that help bridge the gap between school and the research that takes place at the center. This focus on K-12 education has resulted in the development of print and electronic classroom materials that cover a variety of basic environmental health topics.
Dr. Polifka is a past president of OTIS (Organization of Teratology Information Services). OTIS is a national organization that oversees 19 teratology information services throughout the United States and Canada. She currently serves on the Board of Directors, Meeting Planning Committee, and Research Committee. She also serves on the Public Affairs Committee of the Teratology Society.