Occupational and environmental causes of mortality have been studied for centuries, often using classical tabular methods of analysis involving counts of people or person-time. These methods are well-suited to etiological research. However, occupational and environmental epidemiology, like many substantive areas in epidemiology, is changing as a result of increasing access to large administrative databases, high-dimensional output from new tools for exposure and outcome assessments, and new computationally-intensive statistical methods that are now possible given the emergence of low-cost high-performance computing. Consequently, we are seeing some recent papers in occupational and environmental epidemiology that employ analytical models and data structures that have some notable differences from those classical approaches used in the past. Unfortunately, it is not clear that these improve impact of epidemiology research, and in some instances the results are arguably more opaque and less impactful than earlier efforts. I will discuss some approaches to data summarization and communication for epidemiology that focus on potential impacts of an action or policy, and illustrate the approaches using occupational cohorts. The approach may facilitate communication with stakeholders, and help inform decision-making in occupational and environmental settings while overcoming some ‘classic’ problems in epidemiological research.
Speaker Biography - David B. Richardson, PhD
David B. Richardson, PhD
Professor Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
David B. Richardson, PhD is Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on the health effects of occupational and environmental exposures. He has conducted studies of cancer among workers at U.S. Department of Energy facilities, among the Japanese survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and among industrial cohorts in the US and Europe. His current research includes international occupational cohort studies, injury surveillance research, and development of novel methods for occupational and environmental epidemiology. These research activities are supported by grants from the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the US National Cancer Institute. He has served as a visiting scientist at the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, and at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan. He serves as Deputy Director of the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center and Program Director of its Occupational Epidemiology Training Program, funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. He is a core faculty member of the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of North Carolina, and a member of the Exposure and Biomarkers Research Core at the University’s Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility. He currently leads the United Nations Committee on Epidemiological Studies of Radiation and Cancer. He is an Associate Editor of the journals Occupational and Environmental Medicine, American Journal of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Perspectives, and is a member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health. Dr. Richardson received a Ph.D. and M.S.P.H., both in epidemiology, from the University of North Carolina.
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