Composite index for monitoring environmental health in New Zealand
Principal Supervisor: Prof Barry Borman
Co-Supervisor: Dr Anna Matheson and Assoc Prof Deborah Read
The purpose of composite indices is to combine the most essential factors to capture and present a complex phenomenon in a simple way. In other words, an index presents a simple picture of a complex reality. This feature of an index is used for the establishment of efficient communications among researchers, policy makers, and the general public. In addition, a composite index assists in making prompt evidence- based decisions and is used to compare and monitor progress (e.g. Human Development Index).
Growing attention to climate change and the proven negative impact of environmental pollution on human health induced the need for environmental health indicators - a measure that describes the link between the environment and public health. However, indicators are able to only show a fragment of a complex picture, providing information within one area of interest. In addition, a large amount of indicators do not provide policy makers with robust evidence for policy development. Therefore, for many years there has been a need to construct a single composite environmental health index that will fill the existing gap in the knowledge exchange.
The aim of the current study is to explore the approaches for the Composite Environmental Health Index development. The research will include several important stages: elaboration of a conceptual framework that will be the guidance for index construction; construction of a composite index utilizing indicators generated within the Environmental Health Indicators Programme, Centre for Public Health Research (CPHR); and conduction of an epidemiological study to explore the practical applicability of the composite index.
Barriers to improving health through healthy housing services
Principal Supervisor: Prof Barry Borman
Co-Supervisor: Dr Anna Matheson
The aim of this research is to examine how availability and accessibility of healthy housing services can be improved so that people can use them more effectively to improve their health. This research will focus on three regions in the Lower North Island of New Zealand: Wellington, Palmerston North and Wanganui. The researcher will find out the extent of healthy housing services available in these regions together with identifying if these services are accessible to people or not and what are the barriers faced by population when they try to access these services. Usually these services are provided in these three regions by their local council and other organizations such as Sustainability Trust and Regional Public Health. Some of the services which will be included in this study are: Eco-Design Advisor Service by Palmerston North, Kapiti Coast and Hutt City Council; Warm Fuzzies Wellington by Sustainability Trust and Housing Assessment and Advice Service (Well Homes) by Regional Public Health Wellington.
THE USE OF META-ANALYSIS FOR CAUSAL INFERENCE IN EPIDEMIOLOGY
Wednesday 26th October 2016
9am – 5pm
4D08, Wellington Campus
Meta-analysis has become a major tool in medical and public health research. There are over 30 journal publications every day with “meta-analysis” in the abstract or as a keyword.
We can rarely make a causal conclusion from just one study. So we need ways to assess causal evidence integrating evidence from several or many studies. Meta-analysis can help us do this.
The purpose of this workshop is to present the role meta-analysis can play in causal inference from epidemiological studies. Excel spreadsheets will be used by students with laptops to conduct a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies using both the fixed effects and random effects models, using data from a set of epidemiological studies. Heterogeneity will be assessed and the overall evidence addressed using criteria for causal inference.
Presented by Professor Allan Smith
School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
Allan Smith was born in New Zealand and completed a BSc at the Victoria University of Wellington (1964) followed by MB,ChB (1971) and a PhD in epidemiology at the University of Otago (1975). He has been Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health in the University of California, Berkeley, since 1983, where he currently teaches courses in occupational and environmental epidemiology, causal inference and meta-analysis. He directs the Arsenic Health Effects Research Program involving studies of many different health effects of arsenic in drinking water including studies in Argentina, Chile, India, Bangladesh and the United States. As well as cancer studies, he has directed studies of chronic respiratory disease, pregnancy outcomes, cognitive function in children, arsenic skin lesions, cardiovascular disease, interactions of arsenic with diet and micronutrients, studies of arsenic metabolism, molecular epidemiology studies, and studies of adult diseases following early life exposure. Study designs employed in this work include ecological studies, cross-sectional population studies, case-control studies and cohort studies. Further information is available at http://sph.berkeley.edu/allan-smith