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Rachel Novotny, PhD

Rachel Novotny, PhD
  • Professor
    Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Epidemiology)
    University of Hawaii Cancer Center
  • Professor
    Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences
    College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Clinical Faculty
    Public Health Science and Epidemiology
    John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Graduate Faculty
    Biomedical Science Graduate Program, University of Hawaii at Manoa;
  • Affiliate Investigator
    Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Honolulu
    HIMPH (Public Health Nutrition)
    University of Hawaii


  • PhD, MS, Nutrition
    Cornell University
  • RD, Registered Dietitian

Research Focus

Dr. Novotny's research focus is in ethnic differences in diet, physical activity and body size and composition, especially patterns of growth and development, using anthropometry and DXA. She and colleagues have shown that Asian adolescent girls carry more trunk to peripheral DXA body fat than white girls, and that birth weight and birth length are inversely related to this relationship. They have also developed a novel measure of breast density, using DXA, which they are examining in girls and their mothers; and they are building a breast cancer risk model for Pacific Islanders that will expand the Gail model with novel risk factors. She was recently awarded a multi-million dollar multi-institutional grant to prevent child obesity throughout the Pacific Region.

Selected Publications

  • Novotny R, Daida Y, Morimoto Y, Shepherd J, Maskarinec G. Puberty, body fat and breast density in girls of several ethnic groups. Am J Hum Bio, 2011 May:23(3):359-65. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.21145. Epub 2011 Mar 28.
  • Maskarinec G, Shepherd J, Morimoto Y, Daida YG, Novotny R. Comparison of breast density measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) with mammographic density among adult women in Hawaii. Cancer Epidemiol. 2011 Apr;35(2):188-93. Epub 2010 Aug 4
  • Gittelsohn J, Vijayadeva V, Davison N, Ramirez V, Cheung LW, Murphy S, Novotny R. A food store intervention trial improves caregiver psychosocial factors and children's dietary intake in Hawaii. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010;18 Suppl 1:S84-90.
  • Epplein M, Novotny R, Daida Y, Vijayadeva V, Onaka AT, Le Marchand L. Association of maternal and intrauterine characteristics with age at menarche in a multiethnic population in Hawaii. Cancer Causes Control. 2010;21(2):259-68. PMCID: 2811221.

Publication list via PubMed

Active Grants

  • R. Novotny, Principal Investigator
    USDA 2011- 68001-30335
    "Children's Healthy Living Program in Remote Underserved Minority Populations of the Pacific (CHL)"
    April 2011-March 2016
  • R. Novotny, Co-Leader (C. Vogel, Principal Investigator)
    NCI U54 CA143727
    "University of Guam/Cancer Research Center of Hawaii Partnership – Project 1" "Breast Cancer Risk in Pacific Islander Populations"
    September 1, 2009 – August 31, 2012
  • R. Novotny, Co-Investigator (C. Vogel, Principal Investigator)
    NCI U54 CA143727
    "University of Guam/Cancer Research Center of Hawaii Partnership – Pilot Project"
    September 1, 2009 – August 31, 2012
  • Hawaii Site PI for Vanguard Project (Millar-Sauvage, Principal Investigator; Anna Siega-Ruiz, Subcontract Principal Investigator)
    NIH Work Assignment #3, LOI 14, HHSN267200700025C
    "National Children's Study. Improving Dietary Assessment in Pregnant Women and Children in the National Children's Study NIH"
    January 2011-February 2012