Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH

Office Location903, Blockley Hall
Office Phone215-898-6604

Faculty Information

CCEB AppointmentSenior Scholar, Epidemiology
Primary Faculty AppointmentProfessor of Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman SOM

Additional Positions

Adjunct Associate Professor
Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

Research Statement

Dr. Schmitz focuses her research on the role of physical activity on the etiology, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation from chronic diseases, with primary focus on obesity and cancer.

In her SHE trial (Strong, Healthy, and Empowered), Dr. Schmitz observed that twice weekly strength training was adequate to prevent age associated increases in % body fat and to attenuate age associated increases in intra-abdominal (visceral) fat among overweight and obese midlife women. These findings are of public health relevance in determining the dose of exercise needed to avoid age associated increases in obesity.

Her PAL (Physical Activity and Lymphedema) Trial (NCI R01-106851) recruited 295 breast cancer survivors into a 2 group parallel design randomized controlled trial to assess the safety of twice weekly strength training for women with or at risk for lymphedema.

Her ongoing WISER Sister trial is recruiting 150 premenopausal women at high risk for breast cancer into a dose response exercise intervention trial. See: http://bmic.upenn.edu/wiser/ for further info.

Dr. Schmitz has won multiple awards from the American Heart Association, including the Jeremiah Stamler Award for New Investigators and the Trudy Bush Fellowship for Cardiovascular Research in Women's Health, as well as an Award of Excellence from her own colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Courses Taught

EPID 645- Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention
EPID 801 - Fundamentals of Epidemiology
PubH 500 - Introduction to Public Health
PubH 502 - Introduction to the Principles and Methods of Epidemiology

Selected Publications

Recent publications:

1. Schmitz, K.H., Ahmed, R.L., Troxel, A., Cheville, A., Smith, R., Grant, L.L., Bryan, C.J., Williams-Smith, C.T., Greene, Q.P. Weight lifting in women with breast cancer-related lymphedema. New England Journal of Medicine. 361:664-673, 2009.

2. Speck, R.M., Gross, C.R., Hormes, J.M., Lytle, L.A., Hwang, W.T., Schmitz, K.H. Changes in the Body Image and Relationship Scale following a one-year strength training trial for breast cancer survivors with or at risk for lymphedema. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, published online ahead of print September 22, 2009.

3. Speck, R.M., Courneya K.S., Masse, L.C., Duval, S., Schmitz, K.H. An Update of Controlled Physical Activity Trials in Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Cancer Survivorship. Published online ahead of print Jan 6, 2010.

4. Kwan M.L., Darbinian J., Schmitz, K.H., Citron R., Partee P., Kutner S.E., Kushi L.H. Risk Factors of Lymphedema in a Prospective Breast Cancer Survivorship Study within an HMO Setting. Archives of Surgery, In press, 2009.

49. Arikawa, A.Y., O'Dougherty, M., Schmitz, K.H. Adherence to a Strength Training Intervention in Adult Women. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, In press, 2009.

5. Hormes, J.M., Bryan, C., Lytle, L.A., Gross, C.R., Ahmed, R.L., Troxel, A.B., Schmitz, K.H. Impact of Lymphedema and Arm Symptoms on Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors. Lymphology. In press, 2010.

6. Campbell, P.T., Gross, M.D., Potter, J.D., Schmitz, K.H., Duggan, C., McTiernan, A., Ulrich, C.M. Effect of Exercise on Oxidative Stress: A 12-Month Randomized, Controlled Trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc. In press, August 2010.

7. Schmitz, K.H. Balancing Lymphedema Risk: Exercise Versus Deconditioning for Breast Cancer Survivors. Exercise Sport Sci Reviews. 38(1):17-24, 2010. (Invited review)

8. Schmitz, K.H. and R.M. Speck. Risks and Benefits of Physical Activity among Breast Cancer Survivors who have Completed Treatment. Women's Health. 6(2):221-38, 2010. (Invited review)

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