2020 ACE Annual Meeting Agenda

*Note that this agenda is subject to change but overall should help in planning your schedule.

All times listed are in EDT.

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Monday, September 21, 2020

Concurrent Workshops

11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.: Qualitative Mixed Methods for Quantitative Researchers, Joe Gallo, Timothy Guetterman 

This session will examine the use of mixed methods for applications in health sciences. The workshop will (1) review the history of mixed methods, describe when mixed methods are used, discussing how ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’ methods differ (in terms of epistemology, sample size, analysis, inference), and common designs for integrating quantitative and qualitative methods in a single research project. (2) We will review basic concepts of qualitative research, and strategies for integration of qualitative and quantitative data and analyses. (3) Approaches to writing publications and proposals will be illustrated with examples, and informed by our study of study section responses to mixed methods proposals. Time will be allotted for discussion of examples of applications (in epidemiology, intervention development, and trials), as well as how mixed methods may be relevant to participants’ ideas for their own research.

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. & 12:30-2:30 p.m.: Mixed Models in Epidemiologic Research, Paul Albert, Ortega-Villa, Ana, Choo-Wosoba, Hyoyoung 

This workshop will provide a conceptual view of mixed models with applications in epidemiologic studies. We will introduce the linear mixed model framework and show how they can be used to understand overall effects as well as individual variation. Generalized linear mixed models will be introduced for analyzing longitudinal data with discrete outcomes. We will review the different methods of estimation with the focus on implementation for the practitioner. We will compare mixed models with other methods for analyzing longitudinal data such as generalized estimation equations. A few datasets will be analyzed with R including some data from the recent NICHD fetal growth study that was designed with health disparities in mind. Time permitting, we will discuss issue of missing data (outcome and covariates), dropout, and using mixed models for dynamic prediction of disease outcomes.

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. & 12:30-2:30 p.m.: Methods for Spatial Epidemiology, Michael Kramer              

Spatial epidemiology is at the intersection of conventional epidemiologic thinking and methods, and geospatial processes and analysis. While ‘GIS’ software may be one necessary (or at least useful) component of spatial epidemiology, it is far from sufficient. In this 2-part sequenced workshop participants will be introduced to challenges and strategies for incorporating georeferenced data into epidemiologic analyses.

AM Session: Spatial thinking in epidemiology

This module will use lecture, case studies, and discussion to introduce concepts important to ‘thinking spatially’ in epidemiology. There is no assumption of prior experience with spatial epidemiology or GIS software. The following are possible topics to cover:

  • Overview of types and sources for geographically referenced data in applied epidemiology
  • Spatial ethics: spatial data visualization and privacy
  • Epidemiologic cartography: opportunities and pitfalls in representing epidemiologic parameters on maps
  • What are spatial processes: introduction to spatial clustering, heterogeneity, and diffusion, and the fundamental importance of spatial adjacency/proximity in operationalizing analyses

PM Session: Introduction to (some) fundamental spatial analyses using R

This module is a hands-on workshop designed to give epidemiologists experience working with spatial data using the open-source R statistical software platform. Participants should have some prior comfort/experience working in R, but need not have any prior GIS or spatial experience. Participants will need to come with laptops with R-Studio and selected packages pre-installed. The following are possible topics to cover:

  • Spatial data in R: Introduction to importing, manipulating, and exporting spatial data using the ‘sf’ package
  • Epidemiologic cartography: Introduction to simple map creation using the ‘tmap’ package
  • Small area estimation: disease mapping using spatial and aspatial Empirical Bayes estimates
  • Spatializing regression: using spatial thinking and analysis to diagnose spatial autocorrelation from conventional regression models

4:15 - 5:15 p.m. Mentoring Session

This moderated panel discussion will explore mentoring across the life course including: best mentoring practices and experiences, changes in mentoring needs, successes and challenges of mentoring different demographic groups, and the challenge of mentoring during the COVID-19 pandemic. The three panelists, Dr. Michele Forman, Dr. Stephen Waring, and Dr. Jewel Wright, have diverse, extensive experiences throughout their careers. Questions will be taken after the panelists’ comments.

Moderator: Angela Liese

Panelists: Michele Forman, Stephen Waring, Jewel Wright  

Dynamic career mentoring across the life course through the diverse lens of ACE mentors

5:00 p.m. Associate Member Roundtable, Contact person: Sazid Khan 


Tuesday, September 22, 2020 

10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Call to Order by ACE President - Dr. Diana Bensyl, Welcome by Local Host and Program Committee Chair, Dr. Edmond Shenassa 

10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Plenary Session

Social Media and Misinformation in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for Public Understanding and Actions 

Sylvia Chou, PhD, National Cancer Institute; Amelia Montgomery Jamison, MAA, MPH, Maryland Center for Health Equity, University of Maryland; Sandra Crouse Quinn, PhD, Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland

This year, the world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rumors, falsehoods, and conspiracy theories regarding the origins of COVID-19, the severity and prevalence of the disease, the vaccine development process, and prevention and treatment measures continue to propagate online, significantly hindering the public health response.  With this crisis came renewed acknowledgement of the challenges of misinformation on social media. This plenary talk will highlight key types of misinformation, both general and specific to the pandemic, examine how misinformation is transmitted, and introduce two taxonomies for characterizing misinformation.  We will share results of several COVID-19 studies of social media data since the start of the pandemic. We will explore how the context of the pandemic has complicated the sharing of information on social media, examine the limitations of fact checking, and consider what are feasible recommendations for public health actions and future priorities.

Roundtable Discussions

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. 

  • Current National and International Efforts in Training Future Epidemiologists, WayWay Hlaing, Alison Abraham
  • Annals of Epidemiology, Patrick Sullivan 
  • Cancer Health Disparities and Training Opportunities with GMaP (Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program) and CURE (Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences), Mabinty Conteh, Debbie Cadet, Erin Oakley 
  • Climate change health impacts in the context of equity, policy, and the role of epidemiology, 

    Bruce Jennings, Kathryn Gwiazdon, Wael Al-Delaimy, Melinda Aldrich (Moderator)

  • Funding opportunities with NIMHD, Nishadi Rajapakse 

Concurrent Sessions

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

  • Urban-rural health disparities: an overview of the field and methods, Gopal K. Singh, Ph.D, Whitney E. Zahnd, Ph.D, Jan M. Eberth, Ph.D. (Moderator)
    Urban-rural health disparities: An overview of the field and methods

    This session will examine urban-rural disparities across a variety of population health indicators (e.g., mortality, life expectancy, etc.), introduce the audience to the definitions used to measure rurality, explore some of the methodologic challenges with studying rural health disparities, and offer practical solutions to mitigate those challenges using sampling and statistical modeling approaches.

    The first presentation will focus on population health indicators across levels of rurality, overall and by population subgroups (e.g., racial/ethnic groups within rural communities), and highlight trends over time. The primary focus will be on the growing urban-rural mortality disparities including child and maternal mortality.

    The second presentation will focus on methodologic considerations necessary to address the challenges of rural health research including, but not limited to, different definitions of rurality, data masking/suppression, sample size/power, regression modeling approaches, spatial considerations, and survey sampling approaches that favor large urban areas. Concrete examples from the epidemiologic literature and federally sponsored surveys will be presented, such as respondent driven sampling for small populations.  

    At the end of the session, the moderator will have a discussion with the authors and audience regarding the take-home message of the talks, particularly as it relates to needed policy and practice changes to increase the quality of rural health research and improve rural health outcomes.

  • Epidemiology in Environmental Justice Research, Policy and Action, Jennifer Horney, Edmond Shenassa, Andrew Williams , Pauline Mendola 
    Previously published research demonstrates that minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups have disproportionately high and inequitable health risks from environmental contamination. In addition, residents of environmental justice neighborhoods have less access to environmental amenities and environmental advocacy, and lower levels engagement with their environmental concerns from governmental agencies and regulators. Residents of environmental justice neighborhoods generally have high levels of uncertainty, distrust, and suspicion of research related to the environmental conditions present in their communities. As efforts to remediate or redevelop legacy sites progress around the U.S., epidemiologists are being sought to participate in the design and implementation of environmental monitoring and human health studies, and to work with communities as part of translational research teams. This requires a wide range of skill sets related to study design, causal inference, and community engagement, as well as the ability to work effectively in an interdisciplinary research environment. Therefore it is important to highlight challenges and lessons learned, outline potential roles for epidemiologists in environmental justice research, and discuss the application of epidemiologic data to education, policy, and practice around environmental justice.

  • New resource for epidemiological research of major epidemic: Sierra Leone Epidemiologic Database (SLED), Yelena Gorina,  
    John Redd, Tushar Singh

    The Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) and the Sierra Leone Office of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated on consolidating 500,000 records collected by 29 Ebola-responding organizations during the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone. This resource and the team behind it was able to modify and adapt what was originally called an Ebola database into a useful and current COVID-19 and other infectious disease tool. With the team adaptations beyond Ebola, the team recently changed the name to the Sierra Leone Epidemiologic Database (SLED). The proposed session will educate the audience on how this unique resource can be used by interested investigators for epidemiological and health emergency studies and on best practices for responses and data management during outbreaks. Ethical access to the SLED data, a result of the collaboration between the MoHS, CDC, and Sierra Leonean data managers, will be described. The session will discuss how the SLED program can be a tool for building research capacity in Sierra Leone. The CDC-supported SLED Family Reunification Program, which helps families find the graves of their loved ones, will also be described. Opportunities presented by linking different types of epidemic data will be outlined, and a case study will be presented.

Keynote Speaker

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable, MD, Director of NIH’s National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

Epidemiology Foundation Endowed Lecturer

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Dr. Paul Leaverton

Paul was the founding Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Florida’s first public health school, University of South Florida College of Public Health.

Plenary Session

5:00 - 5:45 p.m.

The COVID Pandemic: The Evolving Reality, Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH

Describe the epidemiology of the SARS-CoV-2 infection; Describe what public health strategies can be used to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission; Understand how the world will likely look one year from now as a result of the pandemic

September 23, 2020

MAC Workshop

This is a free workshop, everyone is welcome to attend. Click Here to join the session.

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable, MD, Director of NIH’s National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

ACE Presidential Address

12:00 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Dr. Diana Bensyl

Plenary Session

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Health Policies, Health Equity and the Presidential Election
Norbert Goldfield, Ask Nurses and Doctors; Nicole Huberfeld, Boston University

This talk will explore the role of federalism -- the division of power between federal and state governments -- and its impact on health equity during a national emergency.

Concurrent Sessions

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

  • Novel population-based approaches for examining health disparities
    Marie Thoma, PhD, University of
    Dr. Lauren Rossen, National Center for Health Statistics
    Quyhn Nguyen, PhD, University of Maryland

    This session will examine novel approaches for quantifying health disparities and related risk and protective factors. The presentation will cover the use of unique data sources, data tools, and methodologies that can further elucidate health inequities and provide richer information to inform public health programs and policies. While health disparities in pregnancy outcomes are an integrating theme across each presentation, these approaches are relevant to examining other health disparities. The first presentation will discuss the use of Twitter to characterize racial hostility at the area level and examine influences on birth outcomes. This will be followed by an application of HD*Calc software, designed to generate multiple summary measures to evaluate and monitor health disparities, to infant mortality. The final presentation will describe multivariate decomposition methods, which emerged from the econometrics literature, and their application to racial disparities in preterm birth. Each presentation will highlight what new information these approaches can provide for strengthening programmatic and policy efforts to reduce health disparities in pregnancy outcomes.

  • COVID -19 
    Hillary Marston, NIAID

Plenary Session

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ACE Student Paper, Annals Junior Best Paper, Annals Best Paper

BEST OVERALL PAPER - Keri N. Althoff for the manuscript “ Mind the gap: observation windows to define periods of event ascertainment as a quality control method for longitudinal electronic health record data”. Annals of Epidemiology 33: 54-63. May 2019.

BEST JUNIOR PAPER is Sara McKetta for the manuscript “Oral contraceptive use and depression among adolescents"Annals of Epidemiology 29: 46-51. January 2019.

Oral Presentations

4:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

ACE Award Presentations

Gastrointestinal Symptoms reported by Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill responders.
CP Anderson, J Krishnamurthy, H Denic-Roberts, DL Thomas, LS Engel, JA Rusiecki, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD

Female employment associated with physical abuse, transactional sex, and low relationship power in young South African women: An HPTN 068 study
M Luetke, Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health, Bloomington, Indiana

Determinants of nutritional status during the first 1000 days of life in Lebanon: Sex-stratified hierarchical regression analysis. 
RF Chehab, Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (Trainee slot)

Plenary Session

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Future of Epidemiology: Perspectives from ACE Presidents

Moderators: Russ Kirby (2018) and Diana Bensyl (2019)
Panelists: Robert Hiatt (1998), Jon Samet (2000), Martha Linet (2004), and Pauline Mendola (2017)

This interactive session will give ACE past-presidents the opportunity to discuss the challenges epidemiologists were facing when they were president, what has changed (and not changed), how ACE has evolved as an organization, and how ACE continues to be a relevant and viable organization for epidemiologists. There will be the opportunity to submit questions and learn from those who have a strong history with ACE and continue to be engaged to support epidemiology.



Posters will be available for viewing from Tuesday (9-22) through Wednesday (9-23)

Recorded concurrent session will be available through Friday afternoon


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