Nancy Potischman, Ph.D., Senior Nutritional Epidemiologist (contractor)

Nancy Potischman, Ph.D., is a Senior Nutritional Epidemiologist at the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). She previously served as director of the Population Studies Program from 2016 until her retirement in April 2023. She now works part-time as a consultant on ODS projects including those focused on folate.

Through the Population Studies Program, Dr. Potischman focused on the benefits and risks of dietary supplement use at various ages and issues related to food fortification. She worked with large datasets, particularly the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), to evaluate dietary supplement usage, as well as characterizing the users and any associated health effects in the population. In addition, she fostered research on the assessment of biological measures of supplement exposure and measurement issues related to supplement ascertainment and laboratory assays.

Dr. Potischman’s research interests include nutritional epidemiology, dietary assessment methods and measurement error, dietary supplements, dietary patterns, nutrition screening, nutritional biomarkers, and population surveillance. She has used her expertise in assessing diet in the distant past to assist radiation epidemiologists address the impact of radiation from the first nuclear test in New Mexico, called Trinity. She led the team to quantify dietary intakes in the 1940s and 1950s among the populations exposed to the radiation. She also worked on current results from a feasibility of a follow-up study of a cohort in China. Most of Dr. Potischman’s current work is related to addressing population nutritional status and exposures from dietary supplements. She has been part of a team at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) developing and updating an automated self-administered 24-hour recall instrument (known as ASA24) and a working group on measurement errors related to dietary intakes and biomarkers.

Prior to joining ODS, Dr. Potischman worked in the field of nutritional epidemiology in the NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. From 1989 to 1999, she was involved in epidemiologic research, particularly of breast, endometrial, and cervical cancers, in the NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. For several years, she worked on a newborn screening program demonstrating the benefit of early diagnosis of hypothyroidism using newborn filter paper blood spots. Dr. Potischman received her B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts and Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from Cornell University.