Climate change is expected to dramatically impact population health in the next decades through the exacerbation of existing risks such as extreme heat, wildfire smoke, floods and vector borne diseases for example. Climate change may also lead to unprecedented risks and new challenges such as the exacerbation of conflicts and migrations. Epidemiology plays a central role in this context by documenting the current and potential future impacts of climate-related exposures on human health and evaluating the effectiveness of adaptation measures. There are several topics and methods that are specific to this area of research. This playlist does not focus on detailing the links between climate change and public health but rather highlights some methodological approaches and challenges specific to this area of research. We present some pioneering methodological methods for ecological and time-series data, approaches to deal with uncertainty when using climate models, climate attribution studies and some examples of quasi-experimental study designs applied to environmental exposures and to evaluate early warning systems.
Time Series Modelling and Equivalent Designs
Climate Attribution Studies
Use of Climate Models and Projection of Health Impacts
Quasi-Experimental Designs to Study the Impact of Environmental Exposures
Quasi-Experimental Designs to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Environmental Policies
Matthew Fox, Hailey Banack, Onyebuchi Arah, and John Jackson
Nadia Abuelezam, Onyebuchi Arah, Yvette Cozier, Elizabeth Devilbiss, Stephen Gilman, David Lopez, and Alvin Thomas
Anne Marie Jukic, Jonetta Mpofu, Robert Orellana, and Deven Patel
SER Course Development Workshop – Keynote Address
Matthew Fox, Boston University
2020 Excellence in Education Award Winner
Saskia Popescu, Beth S. Linas, Eric Lofgren, and Jaime Slaughter-Acey
We have all been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and as epidemiologists, this disease, prevention efforts, and downstream effects of social distancing policies prompt us to assess the pandemic and its effects as researchers. Broadly, we are interested in understanding risk factors for Covid-19 infection and severity, outbreak projections and predictions, prevention or mitigation strategies (pharmaceuticals and policies) and their impact, and public health communication strategies for outbreaks of this magnitude. During this discussion, four expert panelists will respond to questions on these topics and brainstorm new directions for research, with additional time to respond to audience questions.
Onyebuchi Arah, Yvette Cozier, Sherman James, and Martha Werler
June 3, 2020: Between my submitting the message below for the SER newsletter, George Floyd was murdered. I feel this SER newsletter cannot be distributed without acknowledging this horrific display of police brutality, on top of so many others, and the structural racism that underlie them. I feel grief for communities of color, frustration with my country, and anger toward those who deny systemic racism. I’m sad that our society is stuck in a place where statements that condemn racism, police brutality, and excessive force are needed when they should be inherent in our everyday beings and actions. I know that SER members are concerned about inequality within our organization. Results from the Diversity and Inclusion survey in 2018 showed racial disparities across various dimensions of SER, which we must overcome. Let’s use this moment to effect change! But how? What can SER do to help overcome racial injustices? Your ideas are wanted and needed. On Monday, June 15 at 1:00, SER will host an on-line forum to discuss possibilities. Dr. Sherman James will speak, followed by a panel discussion.
May 22, 2020: Since I last wrote an SER President’s Message, the COVID-19 pandemic has touched all corners of the earth. In early March, attention was mostly directed to infectious disease epidemiology. Here we are 9 weeks later and the pandemic has seemingly touched all corners of epidemiology. The scope of COVID-19-related epidemiologic research has exploded. Just looking at the categories of SER abstract submissions, it is clear the pandemic’s surge and wake has an impact on all of them. A handful of examples from the lay press overlap with the epidemiology of: Aging (isolation and loneliness), Environment (decreased air pollution), Health Services (telemedicine), Mental Health (rise in calls to crisis centers), Neurology (loss of taste and smell), Occupation (is it safe to return to work?), Pharmacoepidemiology (Trump’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine), Violence (increased domestic violence). The full gamut of epidemiology methods are being deployed to study pandemic-related issues, with surveillance at the forefront, an abundance of natural experiments close behind, and the hope of vaccine trials soon to come. There is no shortage of study populations for epidemiologists to target, but the sad truth is that the most marginalized populations are experiencing the worst of this pandemic. In the US, for example, Black and Hispanic persons have disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths, further lengthening the long list of health disparities suffered by people of color. Amidst pleas for a return to normal, I heard a woman on the radio (whose name I didn’t catch and therefore can’t give appropriate credit to and who I must paraphrase) say she didn’t want us to return to ‘normal’ because ‘normal’ isn’t good for too many people. Her sentiment has stuck with me, as I hope for the pandemic’s silver linings to manifest as a better, fairer world. The media is also full of stories of true heroism and acts of compassion and generosity, which do indeed bolster my confidence that we’ll emerge kinder, smarter, and stronger. With epidemiology at the core! Thanks to all of you who are working to help us understand how we can shape a ‘new normal’ that is healthier for all.
I hope this finds you all well. As everyone knows by now, there will not be an in-person meeting in June. Instead, the SER Annual Meeting will be held in Boston from December 15-18, 2020. Registration is open and we hope to see you there.
During the week that the Annual Meeting should have been held, please look out for virtual events. The SER calendar is still being updated, but definitely be on the lookout for a “Get to Know SPC” event that is open to anyone, even people who are not SPC members. This is a great time to learn what we do and let us know what would be most helpful to you (students, postdocs, and early career specifically) in terms of programming, including what you were looking forward to or counting on for the in-person meeting in June. It’s a great time to meet the new Officers, too – including John Pamplin II, who will be stepping into the role of SPC President-Elect beginning in June. John has been an active SPC member for years and we are excited for him to take a more active role.
I regret that I will not have the opportunity to thank in person the excellent SPC Officers with whom I have worked this entire year. My job was easy because of their dedication and motivation. Rebecca Barry, Internal Affairs Chair, scheduled and managed our meetings, developed and analyzed the Fall Survey, and generally kept me on track. Julie Petersen and Kendra Sims, Education Co-Chairs, have worked tirelessly this year to bring you all of the events which define SPC outside of the annual meeting: the SPC Journal Clubs, SPC Career Development Webinars, and SERdigital. They planned multiple overlapping events throughout the entire year. Paige Wartko and Precious Esie, Program Co-Chairs, have already set the program for all SPC events at the Annual Meeting, including Breakfast with the Experts, Speed Mentoring, and the SPC Career Panel. We hope to bring you some form of these events virtually before December. Robert Orellana, Media Chair, has done an excellent job managing our social media. Alvin Thomas, is our newest member as the Diversity and Inclusion Representative from the SER Executive Committee. Since he started with SPC in January and throughout the next year, Alvin will continue to contribute to each SPC activity. I look forward to working more with Cathy Lerro, the incoming President, this year. And of course, my deepest thanks to Yeyi Zhu for setting an excellent example for me to follow as President.
Though the Annual Meeting has been postponed, we still have series of SPC events scheduled throughout the summer and fall. Please join the SPC Journal Club on 15-July-2020 from 12-1pm EST. The next SPC Career Development Webinar is scheduled for 16-September-2020. Again, please check out the SER Calendar for details: https://epiresearch.org/ser-calendar/.
SER and the SPC have been significant to me since I attended my first Annual Meeting the summer after my first year as a doctoral student at UNC, and throughout my entire career thus far as a student and now postdoc. I am grateful to have been able to serve this year to give back to the Society. Thank you. I hope to see you all virtually for these events and in person at the SER 2020 Annual Meeting in Boston.
All the best,
Dana K Pasquale
2019-2020 SER-SPC President