2017 Special Sessions

In addition to the traditional Symposia and Concurrent Contributed Sessions (CCS), the 2017 Conference will offer several different Sessions to attend throughout the week.

Early Stage Investigator (ESI) Session


  • The objective of this early stage investigator session is to present issues that academics should consider when choosing between applying for a K award or an R award from NIH.

    Dr Gwen Collman
    – Provide a background on the success rates of K vs. R at NIH.

    Dr Victoria Holt
    Chair of the department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington
     – Speak on the pros and cons of K vs. R from an academic chair’s position.

    Dr Katherine Keyes
    Associate professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University
     – Provide her perspective as a previous early stage investigator who received a K award.

    Dr Daniel Westreich
    Associate professor of Epidemiology at University of North Carolina
     – Provide his perspective as a previous early stage investigator who received a K99/R00 award.

    These short presentations will be followed by questions from the audience.

History Sessions

  • Speakers will summarize the results of a National Academy of Medicine funded, first systematic investigation of the history of epidemiology. After briefly reviewing the lack of population thinking and group comparisons before 1600, we will discuss 5 phases: 1) Foundation & Emergence: during the 17th and 18th c, in relation to plague, smallpox inoculation, and scurvy. 2) Installation (19th c): in the UK around the investigation of the etiology, treatment or prevention of infectious diseases. 3) Academia (early 20th c): first Departments and schools, and implementation of the main designs (cohort studies, case-control studies, and randomized controlled trials). 4) Recognition (1945-1973): as a major science of public health because of identifying causes of cancer and CVD, and a growing role in clinical research. 5) Integration (since 1976): of epidemiology and biostatistics in Universities and Health Care settings.

    Session Chair:
    Alfredo Morabia

    Alfredo Morabia, Columbia University
    “Intro & Epidemiology before the 17th Century”

    Kristin Heitman, Historian, Independent Scholar
    “Foundation and Emergence, 17th and 18th Century)

    Anne Hardy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
    “Installation and Academia, 19th and pre 1945 20th Century”

    Henry Blackburn, University of Minnesota
    “Recognition, 1945-1973”

    Alfredo Morabia, Columbia University
    “Integration, 1974 – Today”

  • Panelists:

    Allison Aiello, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    Invited Commentary: Evolution of Social Networks, Health, and the Role of Epidemiology

    Clarice Weinberg, NIH
    Invited Commentary: Self-Control Is a Virtue

    Henry Blackburn, University of Minnesota
    Invited Commentary: 30-Year Perspective on the Seven Countries Study

    Ken Rothman, RTI
    Invited Commentary: When Case-Control Studies Came of Age

    Sherman James
    Invited Commentary: Cassel’s Contribution of the Social Environment—A Modern Classic

    Tyler VanderWeele, Harvard University
    Invited Commentary: The Continuing Need for the Sufficient Cause Model Today

    Yvette Cozier, Boston University
    Invited Commentary: The Enduring Role of “Place” on Health—A Historic Perspective

    Aaron Folsom, University of Minnesota
    Invited Commentary: Heterogeneity of Cardiovascular Diseases Among Populations—Recognition and Seminal Explanations

Lunchtime Sessions

  • Based on the game show Who wants to be a Millionaire, this session is great for trainees and applied epidemiologists looking to brush up on their methodology. Come for a lighthearted but educational epidemiology show-down with interactive participation between audience members, contestants, host, and judges. This session will take place during the lunch hour on Wednesday.

    Ian Shrier, McGill University

    Katherine Keyes, Columbia University
    Jay Kaufman, McGill University
    Daniel Westreich, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Morning Sessions

  • Students and post-docs will have the opportunity to meet and network with senior and mid-career epidemiologists in small groups. Following a “speed dating” format, each mentor will be paired with 2-3 student/post-doc attendees at a time, and students will rotate around the room during the session. This will be an opportunity to network with potential mentors and discuss career and professional development experiences and opportunities. This event will be capped at 30 attendees.

    Matthew Fox, Boston University
    Magdalena Cerda, UC Davis
    Jaimie Gradus, VA National Center for PTSD
    Michael Oakes, University of Minnesota
    Maria Glymour, University of California, San Francisco
    Cuilin Zhang, NICHD
    Lauren Wise, Boston University
    Nigel Paneth, Michigan State University
    Lauren McCullough, Emory University

    Pre-Registration is required. Click here to register.

  • This early morning roundtable session will take place for one hour before Wednesday’s opening Plenary Sessions. Senior SER colleagues will lead discussion groups on topics based on their areas of expertise, a specific topic in epidemiology, or potential advice on career development and advancement. These sessions provide an excellent opportunity for you to meet the experts of our science.

    Alfredo Morabia, Columbia University
    “Breakfast Roundtable with the Editor-in-Chief of AJPH”

    Sandro Galea, Boston University

    Diane Lauderdale, University of Chicago

    Louise Brinton, NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
    “Opportunities for and Importance of Involvement with Primary Data Collection”

    Ichiro Kawachi, Harvard University

    Pre-Registration is required. Click here to register.

Professional Development Sessions

  • Statistical adjustment is a ubiquitous practice in epidemiology, and is meant to correct for improprieties or limitations in observed data, to remove the influence of nuisance variables or to turn observed correlations into causal inferences. These adjustments proceed by reporting not what was observed in the real world, but instead modeling what would have been observed in an imaginary world in which specific nuisances or improprieties are absent. These techniques are powerful and useful inferential tools, but their application can be hazardous or deleterious if consumers of the adjusted results mistake the imaginary world of models for the real world of data. Adjustments require decisions about which factors are of primary interest and which are imagined away, and yet many adjusted results are presented without any explanation or justification for these decisions. Adjustments can be harmful if poorly motivated, and are frequently misinterpreted in media reporting of scientific studies. Adjustment procedures have become so routinized that many scientists and readers lose the habit of relating the reported findings back to the real world in which we actually live.

  • As researchers, it is essential that we publish our papers — but where and how is increasingly open to question. There is upheaval in academic publishing, with controversy over the accessibility of science, open access publishing, academic ownership, publisher profits and openly predatory journals. This session brings together experts with diverse perspectives on the costs of scientific publishing, who should pay those costs. There will be ample time for audience participation.

    Anne Marie Jukic, Yale School of Public Health
    Allen Wilcox, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


    Frances Chu, MSN, MLIS, RN
    Acting Lead Liaison and Clinical & Content Librarian
    University of Washington Health Sciences Library

    Anna Hernandez-French
    Associate Publisher
    Science and Medical Journals at Oxford University Press

    Moyses Szklo, MD, MPH, DrPH
    Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine
    The Johns Hopkins University
    Editor-in-Chief, American Journal of Epidemiology