Palatnik Lab

Dr. Palatnik is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine. She received her Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees from Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel. She completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Northwestern University. Dr. Palatnik is a clinician-scientist and is the Patrick J. and Margaret G. McMahon Endowed Chair and an Associate Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a member of the Cardiovascular Center (CVC) at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a member of Center for Advancing Population Science. Dr. Palatnik’s research focuses on reducing health disparities in preeclampsia and gestational diabetes and improving health outcomes for birthing people during and after pregnancy.

Palatnik, Anna, MD

Associate Professor; The Patrick J. and Margaret G. McMahon Endowed Chair
Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Erica Marion, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Zaira Peterson, RN
Nadine Sunji, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Amandla Stanley, MSN, RN

Gestational Diabetes and Pharmacotherapy (GAP) study

Funded by the National Institute of Health the GAP study is a randomized controlled trial that investigates the optimal glycemic threshold for pharmacotherapy addition to medical nutrition therapy in gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) affects about 10% of pregnant women, many of whom will require treatment beyond diet and exercise. Despite this high prevalence, there is no consensus due to lack of evidence regarding the glycemic threshold for conversion from diet to medical treatment for GDM. No randomized studies have been performed on how to define failure with diet and exercise. It is important to establish criterion for pharmacotherapy initiation and titration for GDM in pregnancy as GDM under-treatment leads to increased rates of adverse obstetric outcomes associated with poor glycemic control including macrosomia, preeclampsia, cesarean birth, shoulder dystocia, birth trauma, and more. The GAP study will enroll 416 pregnant women with GDM and will compare two different thresholds for initiation of insulin for GDM. The GAP study will promote standardization in gestational diabetes management and will have direct relevance for clinical practice. The study will recruit 416 pregnant participants with gestational diabetes.

For more information contact Eleanor Saffian: 414-805-6605

Social Risks-Focused Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Preeclampsia (SAIL)

Funded by the American Heart Association Career Development Award the SAIL study investigates stress management and resource navigation intervention for preeclampsia prevention in first-time Black birthing people. Preeclampsia is a disease of pregnancy and first few weeks after birth. It is diagnosed as new onset of high blood pressure and injury to organs such as kidneys, liver, and brain. Preeclampsia is growing at a rapid rate – rate that exceeds diabetes and heart disease. Over half a million lives lost each year to preeclampsia. Women with a history of preeclampsia have 3-4 times the risk of high blood pressure. They also have double the risk for heart disease and stroke. Black women are at higher risk of developing preeclampsia. They are also at much higher risk of dying from preeclampsia than other women. The contribution of social determinants to differences in preeclampsia is well recognized. However, a major gap in research remains strategies that address these factors. Our study will test a lifestyle intervention incorporating social risk factors to reduce the risk of preeclampsia.

The study will recruit 100 pregnant participants randomized to routine prenatal care or to group intervention led by high-risk obstetrician, perinatal nurse, perinatal psychologist, and a social worker. The group sessions will include preeclampsia education, coaching on stress management, resource navigation, and training in problem solving.

For more information contact Eleanor Saffian: 414-805-6605

Intensive Postpartum Antihypertensive Treatment (IPAT)

Funded by Advancing Healthier Wisconsin Endowment and the NIH (National Institute of Health), the IPAT study will evaluate the effect of intensive postpartum blood pressure control on risk of chronic hypertension, and on vascular function following hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP). The IPAT will randomize 60 postpartum patients with HDP at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) to intensive blood pressure control or to usual care. Patients enrolled in both arms will undergo education on healthy lifestyle following American Heart Association’s “Life’s Essential 8” of tobacco cessation, physical activity, healthy sleep, and healthy diet with detailed overview of DASH eating plan throughout the first year postpartum with monthly virtual educational session delivered by a registered dietician and a life coach. Cardiovascular health score will be assessed at 12 months postpartum in both groups. Participants will also undergo vascular function assessment: endothelial dysfunction with brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD), arterial stiffness with carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) and measurement of anti-angiogenic and inflammatory cardiac risk biomarker, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase (sFlt-1), at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 months postpartum.

For more information contact Eleanor Saffian: 414-805-6605


Our aim is to improve outcomes and quality of care for mothers and babies. We are looking for research volunteers to participate in our studies and help us improve women’s health. We provide compensation for your time participating in research.

Please reach out to our research team at (414) 805-6605.