Allen A. Mitchell, MD

Professor, Epidemiology

Allen Mitchell
72 E. Concord St Instructional (L)


Allen A. Mitchell is Professor of Epidemiology Pediatrics at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine. He is also Director Emeritus of the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, having served as Director from 1998-2015.

Dr. Mitchell obtained his BA degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1966 and his M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston in 1970. After pediatric residency training at the Boston Floating Hospital for Infants and Children (Tufts-New England Medical Center), he joined the Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program where, among other activities, he worked with Drs. Slone, Shapiro, and Heinonen in the analysis of Collaborative Perinatal Project data on birth defects and drugs in pregnancy.

In 1973-75 he was a fellow in pediatric clinical pharmacology at Children’s Hospital in Boston (jointly with the Center for the Evaluation of Clinical Procedures at the Harvard School of Public Health), during which time he established the Pediatric Drug Surveillance (“PeDS”) Program, an intensive drug surveillance effort focused on the frequency of medication use and adverse effects among hospitalized children. In 1975 he joined Drs. Slone and Shapiro at the newly-created Drug Epidemiology Unit (now Slone Epidemiology Center–SEC) at Boston University, where he continued to direct the PeDS Program.

Following his interest in both pharmacoepidemiology and birth defects, Dr. Mitchell in 1975 applied the concept of case-control surveillance to the study of teratogenesis, and initiated the SEC Birth Defects Study (BDS) which continued uninterrupted data collection until November, 2015. During that time, the BDS collected data on prenatal exposures for over 50,000 malformed infants (and controls) identified at over 90 hospitals and state birth defects registries in the regions surrounding Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, San Diego, New York State, and Nashville. The BDS was one of two data collection components collaborating with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in a national systematic surveillance effort (Vaccines and Medication in Pregnancy Safety Surveillance—“VAMPSS”) designed to evaluate the risks and safety of the wide range of medications taken by pregnant women.

Dr. Mitchell designed and directed a practitioner-based trial of 84,000 children to assess the safety of pediatric ibuprofen, and in the process created a network that continued to conduct clinically-relevant office-based research. He also developed and directed epidemiologic efforts to evaluate pregnancy prevention efforts as part of risk management programs associated with isotretinoin (Accutane and others) and thalidomide (Thalomid), and designed the Slone Survey, a random sample of the U.S. population designed to identify the broad range of medications used in the week prior to interview.

Dr. Mitchell is the author of numerous publications in the fields of pediatric and birth defects pharmacoepidemiology and serves on many editorial boards and advisory committees.

Other Positions

  • Professor, General Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine


  • Tufts University School of Medicine, MD
  • Washington University in St. Louis, BA


  • Published on 10/9/2018

    Weber KA, Yang W, Carmichael SL, Lupo PJ, Dukhovny S, Yazdy MM, Lin AE, Van Bennekom CM, Mitchell AA, Shaw GM. An application of data mining to identify potential risk factors for anophthalmia and microphthalmia. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2018 Oct 09. PMID: 30300919.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/19/2018

    Ephross SA, Mitchell AA, Sacks S, Straus W, Stürmer T. Principles and considerations for effective academia-industry collaboration in pharmacoepidemiology. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2018 Nov; 27(11):1153-1156. PMID: 30232825.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/2018

    Parker SE, Van Bennekom C, Anderka M, Mitchell AA. Ondansetron for Treatment of Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy and the Risk of Specific Birth Defects. Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Aug; 132(2):385-394. PMID: 29995744.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/1/2018

    Dukhovny S, Van Bennekom CM, Gagnon DR, Hernandez Diaz S, Parker SE, Anderka M, Werler MM, Mitchell AA. Metformin in the first trimester and risks for specific birth defects in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Birth Defects Res. 2018 Apr 17; 110(7):579-586. PMID: 29388358.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/2/2017

    Kerr SM, Parker SE, Mitchell AA, Tinker SC, Werler MM. Periconceptional maternal fever, folic acid intake, and the risk for neural tube defects. Ann Epidemiol. 2017 Dec; 27(12):777-782.e1. PMID: 29133009.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/20/2017

    Kerr S, Van Bennekom CM, Liang JL, Mitchell AA. Tdap Vaccination Coverage During Pregnancy - Selected Sites, United States, 2006-2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Oct 20; 66(41):1105-1108. PMID: 29049273.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/25/2017

    Chambers CD, Xu R, Mitchell AA. Commentary on: "Association of spontaneous abortion with receipt of inactivated influenza vaccine containing H1N1pdm09 in 2010-11 and 2011-12". Vaccine. 2017 09 25; 35(40):5323-5324. PMID: 28917296.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/9/2016

    Kerr S, Van Bennekom CM, Mitchell AA. Influenza Vaccination Coverage During Pregnancy - Selected Sites, United States, 2005-06 Through 2013-14 Influenza Vaccine Seasons. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016 Dec 09; 65(48):1370-1373. PMID: 27932781.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/5/2016

    Rhodes ET, Vernacchio L, Mitchell AA, Fischer C, Giacalone P, Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB. A telephone intervention to achieve differentiation in dietary intake: a randomized trial in paediatric primary care. Pediatr Obes. 2017 Dec; 12(6):494-501. PMID: 27492865.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/21/2016

    Louik C, Kerr S, Van Bennekom CM, Chambers C, Jones KL, Schatz M, Mitchell AA. Safety of the 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14 seasonal influenza vaccines in pregnancy: Preterm delivery and specific malformations, a study from the case-control arm of VAMPSS. Vaccine. 2016 Aug 17; 34(37):4450-9. PMID: 27452865.

    Read at: PubMed

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