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Faculty Profile

Karen A. Bonuck, Ph.D.

Dr. Karen A. Bonuck

Professional Interests


            My search for a study for my doctoral dissertation in Social Work landed me at Montefiore/Einstein in 1990. After my PhD on the unmet needs of persons with HIV/AIDS, I conducted assessments of the housing and nutritional needs of persons with HIV/AIDS for New York State and New York City.  

            A major shift in focus, in part from my own experience with a lactation consultant (LC) — prenatal and hospital visits, and post-partum contacts—  led me to develop and test this model of care in a HRSA supported randomized controlled trial (RCT).  In 2007, I received NIH funding for two new breastfeeding promotion RCTs. Both now incorporate an LC as part of the prenatal health care team, as well as electronically prompted prenatal care provider encouragement to breastfeed.  Secondary outcomes include infant illnesses and infant growth (breastfeeding  being protective against obesity in later life). 

            Spanning the continuum of infant feeding, I work with a WIC nutritionist on the pernicious effects (i.e., obesity, iron deficiency) of prolonged/excessive bottle-feeding in children. In 2008, we were funded by the USDA to conduct an RCT of a bottle-weaning interventions. Our primary outcomes are bottle use and velocity of weight gain over 12 months. The grant’s final year is dedicated to developing multi-media public education messages, including a downloadable infomercial, and a segment for a public TV show.  

            I also conduct research on sleep disordered breathing in children (SDB) as a potential contributory factor to poor growth.with a 2008 NIH grant, I am analyzing the relationship between SDB and growth in collaboration with British researchers from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a population-based cohort study of child development and growth.  Building upon this work, I received a supplement to this grant in 2009, to examine the effects fo a wider range of sleep problems upon behavior, cognition, and development in the Avon cohort.

            I joined the Department of Family and Social Medicine in 2007, after 17 years at another MMC/AECOM department. This is a wonderful “coming home’ for me, after many years of collaborating with DFSM faculty. I am an adjunct at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, where I teach in the doctoral program and mentor faculty on research.  I also have an appointment in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health. 

            I live in New Jersey with my husband and three children.  In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, Tae Kwon Do training, and following the New York Yankees.


Selected Publications

A. Original Communications in Reviewed Journals 

1.      Bonuck KA, Arno PS, Memmott MM, Freeman K., Gold M, McKee D. Breast-feeding promotion interventions: Good public health and economic sense. Journal of Perinatology. 2002; Jan/Feb 22 (1).

2.      Arno PS, Gourevitch MN, Drucker E, Fang J, Goldberg C, Memmott M, Bonuck K, Deb N, Schoenbaum E.  Analysis of a population-based Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia index as an outcome measure of access and quality of care for the treatment of HIV disease. Am J Public Health. 2002 Mar;92(3):395-8.

3.      Bonuck K, Drucker E, Hartel D, Tuchman E. Initiating Office Based Prescribing of Methadone: Experience of Primary Care Providers: New York.Journal of Maintenance in the Addictions. 2002; 2 (3).

4.      Bonuck K, Memmott M. Assessment of the meal program needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS in New York City. AIDS and Public Policy. 2002;Vol. 17 (1).

5.      Memmott M, Bonuck K. Nutritional needs assessment of persons living with HIV/AIDS in New York City. AIDS and Public Policy. 2002; Vol. 17 (1).

6.      Jacobs L, Bonuck K, Burton W. Can Palliative Care Reports Improve End-of-life Care for Hospitalized Patients? Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2002; Sept 24 (3): 299-311.

7.      Jacobs L, Bonuck K, Burton W. Hospital Care at the End-of-life: an Institutional Assessment and Development of a QI Program. J Pain and Symptom Management. 2002; Sept 24 (3): 291-298.

8.      Bonuck K, Kahn R. Prolonged bottle use and its association with iron deficiency anemia and overweight: A preliminary study. Journal of Clinical Pediatrics. 2002; Vol. 41 (8): 603-607.

9.      Tuchman E, Bonuck K, Tommasello A, Drucker E. Office based methadone treatment: A role for community pharmacists.Addictive Disorders and Their Treatment. 2003;Vol 2:91-96.

10.  Cunningham C, Drucker E, Meissner P, McCoy K, Zallman LA, Bonuck K, Selwyn P Estimated heroin use, treatment experiences, and interest in new office-based treatment options among family and social networks in a south Bronx Community health center.  Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2003;April (18): 204.

11.  Bonuck, K, Kahn R, Schechter C. Is late bottle weaning associated with overweight and iron Deficiency Anemia? Analysis of NHANES III data. Clinical Pediatrics. 2004; 43: 535-540.

12.  Bonuck K.  Sleep Disordered Breathing and Failure to Thrive: Research vs. Practice.  Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. 2005; 159 (3): 299-300.

13.  Bonuck K, Freeman K, Trombley M.  Country of origin and race/ethnicity: Impact on breastfeeding intentions. Journal of Human Lactation, August 1, 2005; 21(3): 320 - 326

14.  Bonuck, K, Trombley M, Freeman K, McKee D. Randomized controlled trial of a pre- and post-natal lactation consultant Intervention upon duration and intensity of breastfeeding up to 12 months.  Pediatrics.  December 2005; 116 (6): 1413-1426.       

15.  Memmott M, Bonuck K. Mother’s reactions to a skills-based breastfeeding promotion intervention.  Maternal and Child Nutrition Journal. January 2006 2 (1): 40-50.

16.  Bonuck K.  Increased exclusive breastfeeding rates fall short of proposed Healthy People 2010 goals.  Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. March 2006; 160: 323-324 [letter].


17.  Bonuck K, Parikh S, Bassila M.  Growth failure and sleep disordered breathing: A review of the literature. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology.May2006;70(5):769-78.

18.  Bonuck K. (Invited) Commentary on "Metoclopramide did not increase milk volume or duration of breastfeeding for preterm infants." Evidence-based Obstet Gynecol June 2006; 8(2): --.

19.  Bonuck K, Freeman K, Trombley M. Randomized Controlled Trial Of A Pre- And Post-Natal Lactation Consultant Intervention Upon Infant Health Care Use.  Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine  2006; 160: 953-960.

20.  Kahn R, Bonuck K, Trombley M. Randomized Controlled Trial of Bottle Weaning Intervention: A Pilot Study.  Clinical Pediatrics,  March 2007;46(2):163-74. PMID: 17325091

21.  Bonuck K. Exclusive Breastfeeding Now a Healthy People 2010 Goal—But Paucity Of Evidence- Based Research On How To Achieve This.  Pediatrics.  2007; 120 (1): 248-9.  [letter].

22.  Drucker E, Rice S, Ganse G, Bonuck K, Tuchman E. The Lancaster Office Based Opiate Treatment Program: A Case Study and Prototype for Community Physicians and Pharmacists Prescribing Methadone Maintenance Treatment in the U.S. Addictive Disorders and Their Treatment.  September 2007;6 (3): 121-136.

23.  Freeman, K, Bonuck K, Trombley M. Breastfeeding and Infant Illness in Low-Income Minority Women: A Prospective Cohort Study of the Dose-Response Relationship. Journal of Human Lactation. 2008 Feb;24(1):14-22; quiz 23-6.

24.  Utilization of mental health and substance abuse care for people living with HIV/AIDS, chronic mental illness, and substance abuse disorders. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 Apr 1;47(4):449-58. [Collaborator named on paper]

25.  Bonuck K, Freeman K, Henderson J. Growth and Growth Biomarker Changes After Adenotonsillectomy: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Arch Dis Child. 2008 Aug 6.

26.  Brittner M, Lischewski J, Bonuck K. Breastfeeding Workshop Attracts Diverse Group of Providers.  Journal of Human Lactation, May 2009.

27.  Bonuck, K, Lischewski J, Brittner M.  Clinical Translational Research Hits the Road: RCT of Breastfeeding Promotion Interventions in Routine Prenatal Care. Journal of Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2009 Sep;30(5):419-26. Epub 2009 Jun 9 

28.  Bonuck, K, Huang V, Fletcher J. Inappropriate Bottle Use An Early Risk for Overweight?: Literature Review and Pilot Data for a Bottle-Weaning Trial.  Maternal and Child Nutrition Journa,. 2010 Jan;6(1):38-52.  

29.  Bonuck K, Lischewski J, Ury G, Barnett J. Qualitative data highlight need for obstetrics & gynecology resident curriculum on breastfeeding. Pediatrics. eLetter.  17 August 2010.

30.  Hyden C. Kahn R. Bonuck K.  Bottle-weaning intervention tools.  The “How” and “Why” of a WIC-based educational flipchart, parent brochure, and website. Health Promotion Practice. (accepted October 2010).

31.  Stuebe A, Bonuck K.  Modifiable predictors of intent to breastfeeding exclusively in a diverse urban population. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2011 Feb 22 Epub ahead of print.

32.Bonuck K, Chervin RD, Cole T et al. Prevalence and persistence of sleep disordered breathing symptoms in young children: A 6 year population-based cohort study.  Sleep. 2011; 34 (7): 875-884.

33. Bonuck K. Hyden C, Ury G, Barnett J, Ashkinaze H, Briggs R. Screening for Sleep Problems in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education: A Systematic Review of Screening and Assessment Instruments. Infants and Young Children. 2011; 24 (4): 1-14.

34.  Bonuck K, Grant R. Sleep Problems and Early Developmental Delay: Implications for Early Intervention Programs.  Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  2012; 50 (1):xxx



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Media Coverage

NPR’s Shots blog interviews Dr. Karen Bonuck about her study that found lack of sleep and sleep-disordered breathing doubled kids’ risk for obesity.

Is ADHD caused by bad sleep? U.S. News & World Report interviews Dr. Karen Bonuck about her research linking nighttime breathing and ADHD.

More media coverage