Thacker, Evan

Health Science

Email: 5jqyEg~z3jiz  (Email Form)

2051  LSB
Provo, UT 84602
(801) 422-2214

Assistant Professor

Curriculum Vitae

 Biography
I am a chronic disease epidemiologist. I study the connections of cardiovascular and metabolic health with neurological health in older adults. I completed a bachelors degree in neuroscience at BYU, a masters degree in epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a doctoral degree in epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Prior to joining the Health Science faculty at BYU I worked as an epidemiologist/biostatistican at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health. I served a proselyting mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sapporo, Japan, from 1997-1999. I live in Orem, Utah, with my wife JaNeece and our two children.
 Teaching Interests
I currently teach two undergraduate courses in the Department of Health Science:

HLTH 310 -- Chronic Diseases: Prevention and Control. The purpose of this course is for students to learn basic concepts about major chronic diseases. These concepts include chronic disease pathophysiology, population patterns, causes & risk factors, consequences, and prevention & control. Students engage in a semester-long in-depth project about a chronic disease of their choice, culminating in a research paper about a controversial issue or unresolved problem in the prevention & control of that disease from a public health perspective.

HLTH 447 -- Introduction to Biostatistics. The purpose of this course is for students to apply biostatistics concepts and procedures to the study of epidemiologic research questions. The approach combines learning statistical concepts with practical application of statistical methods in data analysis. Students complete a series of data analysis assignments using SAS software in which they analyze epidemiologic data to address research questions using basic statistical methods, culminating in an end-of-semester data analysis project.
 Research Interests
The purpose of my research program at BYU is to involve undergraduate and graduate students in creating new knowledge through epidemiologic research that will benefit the health of older adults. Currently we focus on projects exploring vascular and metabolic contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia.

To research the associations of cardiovascular and metabolic variables with cognitive function we use data from three epidemiologic cohort studies in the United States: the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) cohort, the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort, and the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS) cohort.

Undergraduate students who wish to work with us on epidemiologic research projects can best prepare by completing HLTH 310 -- Chronic Diseases: Prevention & Control, HLTH 345 -- Principles of Epidemiology, HLTH 440 -- Computer Applications in Epidemiology, and HLTH 447 -- Introduction to Biostatistics.
 Education
  • PhD, Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health, 2011
  • SM, Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 2005
  • BS, Neuroscience, Brigham Young University, 2003
 Memberships
  • American Heart Association, Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, 2014-Present
  • Society for Epidemiologic Research, 2014-Present
  • American Heart Association, Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, 2008-Present
 Courses Taught

Spring 2017
  • HLTH 688R: Field Experience Section 015
Winter 2017
  • HLTH 310: Chrnc Disease:Prevntn & Cntrl Section 003
  • HLTH 447: Introduction to Biostatistics Section 001
Fall 2016
  • HLTH 310: Chrnc Disease:Prevntn & Cntrl Section 002
  • HLTH 447: Introduction to Biostatistics Section 001
  • HLTH 491R: Mentored Research Section 011
Spring 2016
  • HLTH 491R: Mentored Research Section 007

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Ehlert AN, Heckbert SR, Wiggins KL, Thacker EL. 2017. Administrative billing codes accurately identify occurrence of electrical cardioversion and ablation/maze procedures in atrial fibrillation patients. Submitted.

Kuzma E, Airdrie J, Littlejohns TJ, Lourida I, Thompson-Coon J, Lang IA, Scrobotovici M, Thacker EL, Fitzpatrick A, Kuller LH, et al. 2017. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery and dementia risk in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders. In press.

Cushman M, Callas PW, McClure LA, Unverzagt FW, Howard VJ, Gillett SR, Thacker EL, Wadley VG. 2016. N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide and risk of future cognitive impairment in the REGARDS cohort. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. 54(2):497-503. <website> doi:10.3233/JAD-160328

Thacker EL, Soliman EZ, Pulley L, Safford MM, Howard G, Howard VJ. 2016. Investigation of selection bias in the association of race with prevalent atrial fibrillation in a national cohort study: REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS). Annals of Epidemiology. 26(8):534-549. <website> doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2016.06.012

Brutsaert EF, Shitole S, Biggs ML, Mukamal KJ, de Boer IH, Thacker EL, Barzilay JI, Djousse L, Ix JH, Smith NL, et al. 2015. Relations of post-load and fasting glucose with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and mortality late in life: the Cardiovascular Health Study. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 71(3):370-377. <website> doi:10.1093/Gerona/glv106

Gillett SR, Thacker EL, Letter AJ, McClure LA, Wadley VG, Unverzagt FW, Kissela BM, Kennedy R, Glasser SP, Levine DA, et al. 2015. Correlates of incident cognitive impairment in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study. The Clinical Neuropsychologist. 29(4):466-486. <website> doi:10.1080/13854046.2015.1042524

Kamel H, Bartz TM, Longstreth WT, Okin PM, Thacker EL, Patton KK, Stein PK, Gottesman RF, Heckbert SR, Kronmal RA, et al. 2015. Association between left atrial abnormality on ECG and vascular brain injury on MRI in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Stroke. 46(3):711-716. <website> doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.114.007762

Thacker EL, Jensen PN, Psaty BM, McKnight B, Longstreth WT, Dublin S, Newton KM, Smith NL, Siscovick DS, Heckbert SR. 2015. Use of statins and antihypertensive medications in relation to risk of long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 49(4):378-386. <website> doi:10.1177/1060028014568447

Thacker EL, Gillett SR, Wadley VG, Unverzagt FW, Judd SE, McClure LA, Howard VJ, Cushman M. 2014. The American Heart Association Life’s Simple 7 and incident cognitive impairment: the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Journal of the American Heart Association. 3(3):e000635. <website> doi:10.1161/JAHA.113.000635

Thacker EL, Muntner P, Zhao H, Safford MM, Curtis JR, Delzell E, Bittner V, Brown TM, Levitan EB. 2014. Claims-based algorithms for identifying Medicare beneficiaries at high estimated risk for coronary heart disease events: a cross-sectional study. BMC Health Services Research. 14:195. <website> doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-195

Thacker EL, McKnight B, Psaty BM, Longstreth, Jr WT, Sitlani CM, Dublin S, Arnold AM, Fitzpatrick AL, Gottesman RF, Heckbert SR. 2013. Atrial fibrillation and cognitive decline: a longitudinal cohort study. Neurology. 81(2):119-25. <website> doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e31829a33d1

Jensen PN, Thacker EL, Dublin S, Psaty BM, Heckbert SR. 2013. Racial differences in the incidence of and risk factors for atrial fibrillation in older adults: the cardiovascular health study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 61(2):276-80. <website> doi:10.1111/jgs.12085

Thacker EL, McKnight B, Psaty BM, Longstreth, Jr WT, Dublin S, Jensen PN, Newton KM, Smith NL, Siscovick DS, Heckbert SR. 2012. Association of body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, and blood pressure levels with risk of permanent atrial fibrillation. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 28(2):247-53. <website> doi:10.1007/s11606-012-2220-4

Thacker EL, Psaty BM, McKnight B, Heckbert SR, Longstreth, Jr WT, Mukamal KJ, Meigs JB, de Boer IH, Boyko EJ, Carnethon MR, et al. 2011. Fasting and post-glucose load measures of insulin resistance and risk of ischemic stroke in older adults. Stroke. 42(12):3347-51. <website> doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.620773

Thacker EL, Wiggins KL, Rice KM, Longstreth, Jr WT, Bis JC, Dublin S, Smith NL, Heckbert SR, Psaty BM. 2009. Short-term and long-term risk of incident ischemic stroke after transient ischemic attack. Stroke. 41(2):239-43. <website> doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.109.569707

Presentations

Ernstsen L, Sui X, Howard VJ, Wadley VG, Thacker EL. Estimated Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Incident Cognitive Impairment: Results From the REGARDS Study. American College of Sports Medicine Conference. Denver, CO. 2017 .

Nielsen N, Palmer V, Bradshaw R, Thacker EL, Johnston JD. Estimating children's exposure to indoor particulate matter (PM10) using a statistical prediction model. American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expo. Seattle, WA. 2017 .

Ehlert AN, Heckbert SR, Wiggins KL, Thacker EL. Administrative billing codes accurately identify occurrence of electrical cardioversion and ablation/maze procedures in atrial fibrillation patients. AHA Epidemiology and Prevention Conference. Portland, OR. 2017 .

Thacker EL. Modeling longitudinal trajectories of cognitive performance. Invited Seminar Presentation. Division of Neurology Clinical Outcomes Research and Population Science (NeuroCORPS), Department of Neurology, Columbia University, New York, NY. 2016 .

Thacker EL. Long-term cognitive decline in older adults after newly diagnosed heart failure. Invited Seminar Presentation. Cardiovascular Health Study Steering Committee meeting, Rosemont, IL. 2016 .

Kuzma E, Airdrie J, Littlejohns TJ, Lourida I, Thompson-Coon J, Lang IA, Scrobotovici M, Thacker EL, Fitzpatrick A, Kuller LH, et al. Coronary artery bypass graft surgery and dementia risk in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Toronto, CA. 2016 .

Palmer V, Nielsen N, Cox A, Bradshaw R, Brown M, Barney T, Graul RJ, Torgersen B, Tuttle SC, Thacker EL, et al. Development of a model to predict preadolescent children's indoor PM10 exposures. NEHA 2016 AEC and HUD Healthy Homes Conference. San Antonio, TX. 2016 .

Harding MC, Sloan CD, Merrill RM, Harding TM, Thacker BJ, Thacker EL. Transition from cardiovascular disease to cancer as the leading cause of death in the United States, 1999-2013. AHA Epidemiology and Prevention Conference. Phoenix, AZ. 2016 .

Unverzagt FW, Wadley VG, McClure LA, Kelly BJ, Tsivgoulis G, Alexander AS, Thacker EL, Howard VJ. Incident cognitive impairment in the REGARDS Study: rates and risk factors. GSA Annual Scientific Meeting. Orlando, FL. 2015 .

Karki R, Cushman M, Gillett SR, Judd SE, Kennedy RE, Kizer JR, Levine DA, McClellan WM, Kurella TM, Unverzagt FW, et al. Adiponectin, leptin, resistin and incident cognitive impairment in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke study (REGARDS). SER Conference. Denver, CO. 2015 .

Schank C, Blades NJ, Chaudhry SI, Dodson JA, Longstreth WT, Heckbert SR, Psaty BM, Arnold AM, Dublin S, Sitlani CM, et al. Incident heart failure and longitudinal cognitive trajectories in the Cardiovascular Health Study. AHA Epidemiology and Prevention Conference. Baltimore, MD. 2015 .

Thacker EL. Cardiovascular health and longitudinal cognitive trajectories. Invited Seminar Presentation. Department of Statistics, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. 2015 .

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