Maria Ospina

I am a generalist clinical epidemiologist interested in research methods applied to health outcomes research (e.g. analysis of large administrative health databases), evidence-based medicine (e.g. systematic reviews, meta-epidemiological approaches to research synthesis), knowledge translation, and implementation science (e.g. mixed methods).

I have extensive previous experience in research in emergency medicine, respiratory health and Indigenous health. The main focus of my current academic activities is in the area of maternal and perinatal health.

I have developed an innovative multidisciplinary translational research program to understand how the first 1,000 days of human life influence future health: DMETRE (Developmental, Maternal-perinatal Epidemiology and Translational Research Evidence: Data, Birth, Babies + Beyond.

DMETRE is based on a knowledge-to-action approach in which epidemiological methods are applied to produce maternal and perinatal epidemiological knowledge in relation to three main themes:

  1. Developmental trajectories of chronic diseases
    To evaluate life course models of gestational and perinatal exposures/events and the development of chronic diseases in both mother and child.
  2. Pathways of inequalities in maternal and perinatal health
    To empirically evaluate the role of social determinants of health on important maternal and perinatal health status and services utilization outcome.
  3. Synthesis of maternal and perinatal research evidence
    To produce high-quality systematic reviews and meta-analyses of maternal and perinatal evidence.


PhD, University of Alberta, 2013
MSc, University of Alberta, 2004
BSc, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, 1993


Instructor of the Year (Distance Class), School of Public Health Students' Association, University of Alberta, 2016

Selected Publications

Amjad S, Chandra S, Osornio-Vargas A, Voaklander D, Ospina MB. Maternal area of residence, socioeconomic status and risk of adverse maternal and birth outcomes in adolescent mothers. Accepted at Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Canada 2019 2019 Apr 29. pii: S1701-2163(19)30244-0. [Epub ahead of print].

Black K, Chambers T, MacDonald I, Ospina MB. Postpartum mental health disorders in Indigenous women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Canada 2019 Apr 10. pii: S1701-2163(19)30080-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2019.02.009. [Epub ahead of print].

Frenette P. Crawford S, Schulz J, Ospina MB. Impact of episiotomy during operative vaginal delivery on obstetrical anal sphincter injuries. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Canada 2019 Apr 16. pii: S1701-2163(19)30091-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2019.02.016. [Epub ahead of print].

Ahmed H, Ospina M, Sideri K, Vliagoftis H. Retrospective analysis of aeroallergen's sensitization patterns in Northern Alberta. Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology 2019; 15(6):

Kozyrskyj AL, Bourque SL, Ospina MB. Microbiota be nimble. EBioMedicine 2019; 39:21-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2018.11.058

Current Projects

Longitudinal health trajectories before pregnancy through postpartum in gestational hypertension and preeclampsia
Principal Investigator
Funded by: Women and Children's Health Research Institute (2019)

POMONA - Precision microbiome modulation in pregnancy and early life trial
Funded by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation Weston Family Microbiome Initiative - Proof-of-Principle Program Year (2019)

Geographic Patterns of pediatric respiratory health inequalities in Alberta
Principal Investigator
Funded by Respiratory Health Strategic Clinical Network (2019)

The joint effects of direct and indirect adverse childhood experiences on the occurrence of asthma in adulthood: a secondary data analysis
Principal Investigator
Funded by PolicyWise - Secondary Analysis to Generate Evidence (SAGE) Grant (2018)

Does being born small for gestational age increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and poor cognitive outcomes: a systematic review and re-examination of the Barker Hypothesis
Funded by Women and Children's Health Research Institute Innovation Grant (2019)

Understanding frequent emergency department visitors in Alberta and Ontario through advanced statistical modeling techniques
Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating Grant: Secondary Data Analysis (2018)

Ehawawisit (With Child): Maternal and perinatal health outcomes among the Métis in Alberta and the influence of proximal, intermediate, and distal determinants of health Principal Investigator
Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research Project Grant Year (2018)

The role of Métis women kinship systems in achieving family, community and land wellness
Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research Catalyst Grant (2018)

Emergency department use during pregnancy and postpartum in Alberta
Principal Investigator
Funded by PolicyWise - Health Outcomes Improvement Fund (2017)