Ross Brownson

This month (September) is a big month for the American College of Epidemiology.  ACE hosts their Annual Meeting which will feature a variety of workshops, presentations, and posters, with a focus on this year’s theme of “Innovation in Epidemiology: Reframing Approaches to Research Questions.”  Also in September, ACE transitions to new leadership with Dr. Ross Brownson taking over as President after serving for one year as President-Elect.  He initially decided to join ACE and become involved in its leadership because, “I have always had a close connection to the make-up and mission of ACE, particularly because ACE covers a variety of settings and draws in people with diverse backgrounds. I also appreciate the policy orientation of ACE and its role in supporting the profession of epidemiology.”  Dr. Brownson is currently a Professor of Epidemiology, Research Member and Co-Director for Dissemination at the Washington University School of Medicine and the Co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Evidence-Based Chronic Disease Prevention and Control.  He is extremely involved in the epidemiology and public health community serving as the current chair of the Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health Review Panel at the NIH, past chair of the Policy Committee of ACE, and Associate Editor and Member of the Editorial Board for Annual Review of Public Health, among many other groups where he is an active participant.  Dr. Brownson began his training at the University of Montana where he obtained a B.A. in Cellular Biology/Chemistry and then obtained a PhD from Colorado State University in Environmental Health/Epidemiology.  His first job in epidemiology was at the Missouri Department of Health where he focused on cancer epidemiology, chronic disease prevention and, and state policy development.  This connection to public health practice will also be a focus during his tenure as President.  “I want to first continue the outstanding work that is already occurring across the numerous committees of ACE. Because I began my career in epidemiology in a practice setting, I want to continue to emphasize priorities of ACE that will support not only epidemiologic research but also the practice of epidemiology. This could involve a number of activities to support policy changes, training the next generation, and connecting more strongly with applied epidemiologists.” 

Dr. Brownson’s research has focused on dissemination and implementation science, health policy and evidence-based applied public health, among many other topics and one of his most important contributions to the epidemiological community is, “the work of my numerous teams in furthering applied epidemiology under the umbrella of evidence-based public health. This work bridges research, teaching and service and seeks to make epidemiology and analytic decision making more accessible for public health practitioners.”  Along these lines, Washington University in St. Louis was awarded a Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Initiative grant from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Brownson and his colleague Dr. Aaron Hipp are leading the Supports at Home and Work for Maintaining Energy Balance (SHOW-ME) Study, one of the sub-projects of the TREC center at Washington University. The TREC centers have a primary goal to increase transdisciplinary collaboration of scientists to improve projects that have a focus on reducing the incidence of cancer, morbidity and mortality associated with obesity, low physical activity levels and inadequate diet [1].  The projects are being evaluated in collaboration with the TREC Collaborations and Outcomes Working Group and the NCI Science of Team Science (SciTS) team. Based on this and his other successful collaborative work, Dr. Brownson will be moderating a plenary session at the ACE Annual Meeting entitled “Epidemiologic Contributions to the Science of Team Science.”  This session will feature Andre Foulkes, ScD, Sarah Gehlert, PhD, and Robert A. Hiatt, MD, PhD, as speakers.  “Our main goal is to get epidemiologists excited about the numerous opportunities in Team Science. There is a growing and substantial literature on the topic and epidemiologists are key parts of numerous teams – in leadership and in supporting roles.”

Information about the ACE Annual Meeting can be found here, and Dr. Brownson can be contacted at

Reference list

1. Patterson RE, Colditz GA, Hu FB et al. The 2011-2016 Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) initiative: rationale and design. Cancer Causes Control 2013; 24: 695-704.