Linked CANUE and administrative health databases: PopDataBC and MCHP
March 27th (9 am pacific | 12 noon eastern)
Linkage of CANUE exposure data with provincially managed administrative health databases offers new and exciting opportunities for environmental health research. To date, CANUE data has been linked to data held by Population Data BC (PopData), Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP), and the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT).
Kelly Sanderson is the Lead of Business and Initiatives Development at Population Data BC. She works closely with BC government and BC SUPPORT Unit partners on joint data initiatives funded by the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR). She joined the organization in 2009 and was previously the Data Access Unit Lead where she enjoyed working with and guiding many researchers through the Data Access Request process. Her educational background and related professional experience was in Urban Planning and Geographical Information systems so she readily appreciates the value CANUE data brings as a new PopData holding.
Charles Burchill has been an Associate Director at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, University of Manitoba, since 2006. Prior to this role, he worked as a research analyst at MCHP starting in 1992. He is actively involved with Health and Social policy-related research using Manitoba administrative health and social data. The repository of data represents over 80 distinct programs and databases with linkable data in the areas of health, family services, justice, and education. His graduate work was in field ecology, with the CANUE data providing an opportunity to bring his interests full circle. The CANUE data represents an important source of built environment and environmental data that can be linked through small area geographies to the overall repository.
Dr. Ted McDonald is a Professor of Economics at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, Academic Director of the NB Research Data Centre, Director of the NB Institute for Research, Data and Training and the New Brunswick lead for the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit. He holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Commerce in Economics from the University of Melbourne. Dr. McDonald’s main areas of research include health status and labour market issues of immigrants, rural residents, minority groups and other subpopulations, as well as an ongoing program of research on the socioeconomic and demographic determinants of cancer.
Dany Doiron is a research associate in the Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and is CANUE’s data linkage lead. Dany holds a Masters degree in Public Policy (Simon Fraser University) and PhD in Epidemiology (University of Basel). His research explores the effects of environmental exposures on health.
The Canadian Institutes for Health Research has announced a new Operating Grant Competition for data analysis using existing databases and cohorts. The intent of this funding opportunity is to highlight and encourage the use of previously funded cohort, administrative, and survey data. There will be three funding streams; one stream in cancer prevention and control, another in reproductive, maternal, child, and youth health, as well as a stream in healthy cities intervention research.
CANUE hosted a webinar on June 26th (9 am pacific | 12 noon eastern) for researchers who would like more detailed information on our data holdings, partnerships with health data holders, and an opportunity to ask questions directly to the CANUE team.
New to data science or looking to pick up a few new skills? Don’t miss these free webinars, guided practical tutorials and online resources featuring CANUE data.
Developed in partnership with Population Data BC
|Module 1: Introduction to Machine Learning
|Module 2: Regression and Regularization Algorithms
|Module 3: Advanced Supervised Learning
|Module 4: Advanced Unsupervised Learning
Dr. Aman Verma is a Data Engineer with a PhD in Epidemiology from McGill University, and an undergraduate degree in Computer Science. He has experience in developing machine learning systems with large databases, particularly for scientific data in healthcare. While he’s comfortable learning any programming language, he’s recently become particularly interested in R. Aman is currently involved in a number of projects, including measuring how following opioid prescription guidelines can decrease the risk of opioid overdose, modelling trajectories of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and assessing how to best prioritize ambulance calls using secondary healthcare data.
AN INTRODUCTION TO DATA MANAGEMENT AND CLEANING FOR ANLAYSIS IN ‘R’
This self paced free online course will provide you with an introduction to Data Management and Cleaning for Analysis using R Software. Each of the four modules includes a Power Point slide deck, CANUE training data, R code and associated exercises for practice.
To access this resource please create a Population Data BC account here: https://my.popdata.bc.ca/accounts/register/
Once your account has been approved you will be able to access the Education and Training site and self enroll in this and other free online courses.
Topics covered include:
- Introduction and theory of data cleaning and management
- Getting started with R software
- Subsetting variables and data cleaning
- Creating variables, subset observations and data cleaning
- Merging, joining and reshaping data
Megan Striha currently works as a Data Analyst. She has a Masters of Public Health degree and three years of experience in health data analysis, including working with survey, administrative and census data.
Dr. Daniel Fuller is a Canada Research Chair in Population Physical Activity and assistant professor in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University. His research with CANUE is developing new Canadian indicators of urban sprawl, public transit accessibility, and active living environments.
“My ultimate goal is a physically active Canadian population” says Dr. Fuller.
With that ambitious goal, is a motivated team of student researchers to match. Hui (Henry) Luan, Kassia Orychock, Javad Rahimipour Anaraki, and Melissa Tobin work alongside Dr. Fuller, to contribute to CANUE’s vision of increasing scientific understanding of the interactions among the physical features of the urban environment and health.
“Our research is developing new, standardized, Canada-wide measures for urban environments. We are working with many Canadian researchers who are contributing their expertise to this large national initiative.”
Along with Dr. Michael Widener at the University of Toronto, we are also developing measures of food accessibility, and beginning discussions to develop measures of gentrification.
Marianne co-leads the Transportation group within CANUE. The main objective of the transportation group is to generate traffic volumes on road networks for various Canadian cities. The team is using various approaches including travel demand and network assignment models as well as statistical interpolation techniques.
Marianne Hatzopoulou is Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto and Canada Research Chair in Transportation and Air Quality. Her expertise is in modelling road transport emissions and urban air quality, as well as evaluating population exposure to air pollution. Her research aims to capture the interactions between the daily activities and travel patterns of urban dwellers and the generation and dispersion of traffic emissions in urban environments. She has linked various traffic simulation models with tools for microscopic emission estimates and has published in the areas of traffic emission modeling, near-road air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions from transport. Prof. Hatzopoulou serves on the National Academy of Science Transportation Research Board committees on “Transportation and Air Quality” and “Environmental Analysis in Transportation”.
University of Toronto profile
FRANCES SOMMERFREUND SILVERMAN
Frances Sommerfreund Silverman was born in Shanghai, China after her physician parents fled Vienna in 1942, narrowly escaping Hilter’s tyranny. Frances lived in Wuhu, China to the age of 6 before emigrating to Canada where her family settled in Montreal.
Frances enrolled in a doctoral program in respiratory physiology at McGill University in 1968 under the late Professor David Bates, widely recognized one of the founding figures in the field of air pollution and health. After several years of study, Frances moved to Toronto to direct the Pulmonary Function Laboratory at the Gage Research Institute which was at the time, a joint Centre of the University of Toronto (Department of Medicine) and Toronto Western Hospital.
After completing her doctoral work at McGill in 1978, Frances was immediately appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Both then and throughout the rest of her career, Frances was proud to be one of a very small group of non-clinical appointees in an otherwise clinical Department.
Frances remained at the Gage Research Institute as an early faculty member in the fledgling discipline of Environmental Health where her research continued to focus on air contaminants, staying true to her first publication in the CMAJ in 1970 – “Problems in studies of human exposure to air pollutants”.
Over the years, her research activities expanded to include many health-relevant air contaminants that remain important today, including ozone, cigarette smoke, allergens and particulate matter arising from industry and motor vehicle emissions. Frances’s earliest work on the health consequences of ozone exposure in the 1970s was formative and continues to be cited regularly. From that and her other insights, she is widely regarded as one of the founding researchers in this area.
The health outcomes she considered also expanded beyond airways measurements to increasingly more sophisticated measures such as genetic and epigenetic markers, inflammatory mediators, and vascular measures. Elegant and highly cited work in the early 2000s by Frances and her colleagues first established a mechanistic link between air pollution exposure and acute cardiovascular events.
Frances held appointments in the Department of Medicine (Division of Respirology), the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (Division of Occupational and Environmental Health), The School of the Environment, the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and the University Health Network. She was always most proud of her affiliation with the Gage Research Institute (later the Gage Occupational and Environmental Health Unit), where she served as Acting Director and a member of the Board of Directors.
Despite starting her career as a basic scientist, Frances rapidly understood that truly transformative and impactful research can only be achieved through collaboration. She focused her efforts at the poorly explored nexus that exists between the basic sciences, health sciences and engineering. There, she built a network of collaborators and developed a world-class research program to study air health effects in healthy human subjects as well as those with mild asthma, children and adolescents, and those with chronic obstructive lung disease and obesity using controlled exposure challenges. Using this approach, Frances and her group bridged a critical gap between basic laboratory science and population health, providing much essential evidence needed for policy setting in Canada and abroad in relation to a range of contaminants from environmental tobacco smoke to vehicle emissions. Her work on air contaminants continued well past her retirement in 2012, and she remained actively engaged in research and mentorship until her death. Her curiosity and enthusiasm were infectious, and her level of energy unmatched. “Not bad for an old lady,” she would often observe.
Frances was a networker before networking was a thing, she prioritized the mentorship of young scientists long before it became a trend, and had a preternatural ability to see connections and seed innovative thinking. In her final year, Frances became an advocate for the rights of the elderly to health care access, arising from her own experiences in later life as a caregiver, her deep knowledge of the health care system, her drive to help others, and her talent for building relationships. Despite retirement, she actively mentored students and kept up the schedule of an active faculty member until her last day where her final effort was to advocate tenaciously at a faculty retreat on the importance of the environment as a determinant of health.
Frances was a person of great goodness and integrity – a true Mensch in the Yiddish sense. She continually challenged all who knew her to be better and do better by example. Her spirit, her wisdom, and her generosity will be greatly missed.