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Do you ever find yourself struggling to figure out a question about epidemiologic methods, or other topics in epidemiology, and don’t know who to ask? The SERforum allows for individuals to answer questions that come up in our daily work around substantive and methodological topics in epidemiology.
 
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SERforum - Live with Dr. Martha Werler

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Thanks Martha. How about SER Visits? How does that fit in to the SER approach to increase diversity, and how is it going?

Maybe SER can talk with some public health departments, etc. and ask them what they would find useful / if they have needs that aren't currently being met that SER could help with.  My impression is that the current sessions at the SER annual meeting are great for people like me (academic researcher), but we may need to add sessions / workshops on other topics to attract a more diverse group of epidemiologists.

Quote from Anusha Vable on November 7, 2018, 10:36 am

Maybe SER can talk with some public health departments, etc. and ask them what they would find useful / if they have needs that aren't currently being met that SER could help with.  My impression is that the current sessions at the SER annual meeting are great for people like me (academic researcher), but we may need to add sessions / workshops on other topics to attract a more diverse group of epidemiologists.

One way to do this also might be to solicit input from current active SER members who have or have in the past had key positions in health departments. They might have ideas for how to expand the perspectives covered in SER to speak to the needs of public health practitioners in these types of spaces.

Thanks for starting this topic Martha! It seems like another barrier to becoming involved with SER, especially the annual meeting, is travel and registration costs (this is especially true in my experience from my colleagues at health departments who often have limited travel funds). Does SER have any initiatives that might support students and faculty who do not have access to travel funds that are sufficient to attend the meeting?

Magda,

SER Visits has new financial backing from Columbia Mailman SPH to support this program which I'm thrilled about (thank you Dr. Branas) because it is very direct outreach.  They way it works is a senior SER member visits a school with an epi program but little involvement in SER.  They travel on their own dime and present to the students about their work, SER, and the field.  Students are selected to attend SER the following year with financial backing (again, thanks Columbia!).  Tim Lash visited Arizona and Enrique Schisterman visited CUNY.  Both very successful visits!  The more of this we can do the better.

Hi Katherine, You raise a great issue.  SER has travel scholarships for students.  We could offer travel support to health department employees - another opportunity for an SPH or other institution to sponsor!   Thanks for the idea.

Quote from Anusha Vable on November 7, 2018, 10:36 am

Maybe SER can talk with some public health departments, etc. and ask them what they would find useful / if they have needs that aren't currently being met that SER could help with.  My impression is that the current sessions at the SER annual meeting are great for people like me (academic researcher), but we may need to add sessions / workshops on other topics to attract a more diverse group of epidemiologists.

Yes! I think this could be really mutually beneficial. I recall a representative from the CDC spoke at a session at the last annual meeting regarding including more boots on the group related topics such as surveillance and outbreak control are needed in Epidemiologic training. I agree and found this really inspiring since many of us trainees do not go into academic research. I think SER-SPC trainings from health departments with respect to surveillance methods would be beneficial.

Magda, Last year at a symposium related to the future of teaching epidemiology, Dr. Barbara Mahan from the CDC talked about the skills that epidemiologists in her agency need.  She actually collected data from her peers at CDC.  It was really great to hear what this huge employer of epidemiologists sees as the essentials (and it didn't include instrumental variables, propensity scores.... ).  There is a wealth of experience and vision and knowledge that health department folks have to offer.

Since we’re getting close to the end of the forum time, I’m curious... for those involved in other professional organizations, how do you feel they are doing with respect to the topics of diversity and inclusion? How do you think SER compares? Can SER learn anything from what those other groups are doing?

Another idea regarding expanding diversity of SER membership/engagement/leadership:  senior SER members can be proactive when we submit symposium ideas or other SER activities to find a partner who is not part of the SER mainstream to be a co-leader.

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