2016 News - Health: diagnostics, systems models and risk-assessment tools to enhance public health

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MSU hosts interdisciplinary experts to assess microbial risk of contemporary health issues at 2016 Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment Interdisciplinary Instructional Institute

The Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment Interdisciplinary Instructional Institute (QMRAIII) is a 10-day workshop designed for advanced graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and early career professionals. The interdisciplinary program increases collaboration among those working in microbial risk assessment from the fields of public health, social science, biological science, communication, economics and statistics to collectively assimilate scientific data and implement computer programs addressing the health risks associated with a wide range of exposure scenarios. Participants gain hands-on experience with risk assessment software and work on real-world case studies.

The 2016 QMRAIII workshop was held at Michigan State University (MSU) from July 22 to Aug 1. There was a total of 27 participants from the United States, Canada, Australia, Mozambique, Ghana, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. Fifteen faculty members served as instructors for the program. They originated from MSU, the University of Alberta, Canada, the University of Michigan, the University of Arizona, Drexel University, the U.S. Army Institute of Public Health, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, the University of Washington, Griffith University, Australia, and The Ohio State University.

Photo of attendees at 2016 OMRAIII workshop

Participants pose following the 2016 Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment Interdisciplinary Instructional Institute, a 10-day workshop designed for advanced graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and early career professionals.

Susan Cupal, Director of Community Health Services at the Genesee County Health Department, delivered the keynote session titled, “Lessons learned from the Flint water crisis: A local health department perspective.” Participants were divided into five groups, and each group conducted a research case study under the mentorship of faculty members. This year’s case studies assessed the health risk associated with wastewater reuse for aquaculture, greywater reuse on U.S. Army bases, swimming by triathletes during Commonwealth Games, consumption of contaminated water during the Flint water crisis, and using neonicotinoid on honey bees. On the final day of the workshop, participants presented their case studies, and received peer and faculty member feedback.

The 2017 QMRAIII workshop will be held at the University of Washington from Aug. 4 to August 14.