April 16, 2014

April 29-30, 2013
Workshop on Establishing the scientific foundation for Quantitative Public Health Decision-Making:

Linking surveillance, disease modeling, and simulation
at the Fields Institute

Organizing Committee:
Jianhong Wu (contact), Mprime Centre for Disease Modeling at York University
David Buckeridge,Surveillance Lab at McGill University
Charmaine Dean, University of Western Ontario

This workshop is part of the MPE2013 pan-­-Canadian program on "Models and methods in epidemiology, ecology and public health."


The goal of the workshop is to establish a high-level framework for real-time statistical and mathematical analysis of surveillance data to support public health decision-making.


The breadth of data available for public health surveillance data is increasing rapidly, and data from many sources can now be transmitted to public health with little or no delay following their initial entry. This situation presents a remarkable opportunity to improve decision-making in public health practice, but changes must occur in public health to adapt to this new ‘big data’ reality. In addition to enhancing the skills of the public health workforce and modernizing the public health informatics infrastructure, new strategies are needed to analyze the increasing volume of surveillance data and to derive actionable information.
The last decade has seen an evolution of sophisticated methods for the statistical and mathematical analysis of surveillance data, but these methods have been applied mainly in research and policy settings. There is a need to apply these methods in public health practice contexts where surveillance data must be analyzed quickly to guide actions. Once a framework is defined for applying these methods in practice, analytical software can help to translate the methods into practice settings. Such software could interact with surveillance databases and support routine as well as ad hoc analyses to integrate data, produce alerts, and guide decisions. To guide the development of such software, analytical frameworks must be identified, ideally frameworks that are common across multiple public health issues. This workshop will take an initial step towards defining such a framework.


This 2-day workshop will begin with presentations around decision-making, statistical and mathematical analysis, and visualization in surveillance. Then we will introduce two case studies, one in environmental health and one in infectious diseases. Each case study illustrates a current problem in public health practice where statistical and mathematical models are being used to integrate and analyze large amounts of surveillance data. Participants will work in small groups to develop an analytical framework for their problem. The framework will identify the decisions, values and stakeholders, as well as the data and the analytical methods. The workshop will close with a discussion of the common aspects of the two frameworks developed. Following the workshop, a writing group will describe the results of the case studies and propose a common framework.


April 29th
0900 to 0930 Breakfast
0930 to 0940 Plan for the workshop (David Buckeridge, McGill)
0940 to 1000 Decision making (Beate Sander, PHO)
1000 to 1020 Systems to support decisions (Andre Kushniruk, UVic)
1020 to 1040 Break
1040 to 1100 Visualization of surveillance data (Matt Samore, U of Utah)
1100 to 1120 Visualization of laboratory data (Fran Jameison, PHO)
1120 to 1140 Statistical modeling, spatial data (Trisalyn Nelson, UVic)
1140 to 1200 Statistical modeling, surveillance data (Hedy Jiang, U of Toronto)
1200 to 1330 Lunch
1330 to 1350 Agent-based modeling (Seyed Moghadas, York)
1350 to 1410 Mathematical modeling (Amy Greer, PHAC)
1410 to 1500 Open presentations
1500 to 1520 Break
1520 to 1530 Introduction to case studies (David Buckeridge, McGill)
1530 to 1600 The infectious disease scenario (Cecile Tremblay, INSPQ)
1600 to 1630 The environmental health scenario (Sarah Henderson, BCCDC)
1630 to 1700 Introduction to small groups
April 30th
0900 to 0930 Breakfast
0930 to 1000 Small Group Session 1 [Actions, preferences, effectiveness]
1000 to 1100 Small Group Session 2 [Simulation exercise - develop process]
1100 to 1120 Break
1120 to 1200 Small Group Session 3 [Critique]
1200 to 1330 Lunch
1330 to 1400 Presentation of ID Framework + critique
1400 to 1430 Presentation of EH Framework + critique
1430 to 1500 Discussion towards a common Framework
1500 to 1530 Closing and next steps

Confirmed Participants (as of April 24, 2013)

Full Name University/Affiliation
Albert-Green, Alisha University of Western Ontario
Andrews, Rob (no affiliation)
Artaman, Ali Eastern Ontario Health Unit
Brown, Kevin University of Toronto
Buckeridge, David University of Toronto
Cao, Yurong York University
Chan, Ellen Public Health Ontario
Chen, Longbin York University
Dean, Charmaine Western University
Demarsh, Alex McGill
Do, Minh T. Public Health Agency of Canada
Duvvuri, Venkata York University
Earn, David McMaster University
Greer, Amy Public Health Agency of Canada
Henderson, Sarah British Columbia Center for Disease Control
Hu, Weimin Public Health Agency of Canada
Hughes, Josie University of Toronto
Hyder, Ayaz Yale University
Jamieson, Frances Public Health Ontario
Jiang, Hedy University of Toronto
Kushniruk, Andre University of Victoria
Lavigne, Eric Public Health Agency of Canada
Leonard, Erin Centre for Food-borne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
Li, Lihua Western University
Lundy, Erin Western University
Moghadas, Seyed York University
Nelson, Trisalyn University of Victoria
Pang, Peter National University of Singapore
Rababah, Abedallah Jordan University of Science and Technology
Rajbhandary, Sameer Office of Public Health Practice
Samore, Matthew University of Utah
Sander, Beate Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion
Tremblay, Cécile Laboratoire de santé publique du Québec
Tuite, Ashleigh University of Toronto
Ventresca, Mario University of Toronto
Vrbova, Linda Public Health Agency of Canada
Walton, Ryan Public Health Ontario
Winter, Anne Public Health Ontario
Wu, Jianhong Centre for Disease Modelling
Xiao, Yanyu York University
Yang, Yong York University
Zinszer, Kate McGill University