headshot of Candice Price, Ph.D.
NHLBI Celebrates Women Scientists

Candice Price, Ph.D.


Ask Candice Price, Ph.D., about the reason for her life’s work, and she tells a story about seeing first-hand how health disparities can impact the medical care of pregnant women. While working as an assistant professor at the University of California-Davis, Price interviewed Black women as part of a study to unearth perinatal, birthing, and breastfeeding support in their community. One story in particular stood out. It was from a woman in her second trimester who’d learned she failed her glucose tolerance test – an indicator that she had developed gestational diabetes, which causes high blood glucose during pregnancy. Instead of scheduling a follow-up to discuss her condition and how to best manage it, the physician mailed her an at-home glucose test with no guidance on what to do next or how to best care for her and her baby.

“This not only highlighted the lack of maternal care provided to some underserved mothers, but it also underscored how deficient preventative care is for pregnant women,” said Price. “Gestational diabetes is known to increase the risk of preterm birth and cardiovascular disease, so these women in particular need extra support during pregnancy and beyond.”

Now a program director in NHLBI’s Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, Price uses stories like this to promote research aimed both at improving health before, during, and after delivery and at reducing preventable causes of maternal deaths. Currently, she is the co-scientific program lead for the Implementing a Maternal health and PRegnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone Community Intervention Program (IMPROVE-CIP) and the Maternal Health Community Implementation Program (MH-CIP). These are nationwide community engaged research efforts to test evidence-based interventions, such as regular blood pressure monitoring, with a particular focus on people most affected by maternal death and severe maternal illness.  

Price also assists in overseeing the Early Intervention to Promote the Cardiovascular Health of Mothers and Children (ENRICH) study, a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of early childhood home visiting in addressing disparities in maternal and early childhood cardiovascular health. 

Price earned her doctoral degree in endocrinology at University of California-Berkely, but she said her interest in maternal health grew during her time as a K12 scholar in Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health. During that time, her research focused broadly on the mechanisms of cardiovascular disease development in women, but Price saw an opportunity to also investigate how pregnancy and the postpartum period could raise the risk for these diseases. 

“It’s so critical that we take care of women during these critical times,” she said. “They're raising the next generation.”