American College of Epidemiology
2000 Annual Meeting, Atlanta GA

Pre-Conference Workshops
September 24, 2000

Workshop 1 – Epidemiologic Analysis of Complex Sample Surveys

Faculty: Donna Brogan, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Department of Biostatistics, Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Many epidemiologists conduct primary or secondary analyses of sample survey data. Specialized analytical software usually is needed because complex sample survey designs deviate from simple random sampling. Common deviations are unequal selection probabilities, stratification and clustering of elements

Workshop goals:

  • A review of general concepts and terminology of sample surveys, as a basis for using SUDAAN
  • A summary of the structure and design of the software package SUDAAN
  • An explanation of syntax for describing a specific sample survey design to SUDAAN. Illustrative examples will include NHANES-III, PRAMS, BRFSS and NHIS.
  • Instructions for using two PROCS for descriptive analyses: DESCRIPT and CROSSTAB. One modeling PROC will be discussed: LOGISTIC REGRESSION. Datasets for illustrating these PROCs primarily will be NHANES-III and PRAMS.

Workshop 2 – Design and Analysis of Cluster Randomization Trials in Health Research

Faculty: Allan Donner Ph.D. and Neil Klar, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Randomized trials of public health interventions often require that clinics or sites, rather than individuals, be randomized. For example, the randomization unit for an evaluation trial of a new antenatal care program, sponsored by the Special Program of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, and WHO's Division of

Reproductive Health (Technical Support), was the antenatal care clinic, with 53 clinics located in four countries randomly allocated to provide either the new program or the traditional program currently in use.

Specific methodologies have been developed to design and analyze such cluster randomization trials. Drs. Donner and Klar have contributed a textbook on this topic, Design and Analysis of Cluster Randomization Trials in Health Research, to be published in July 2000, by Arnold Press. In conjunction with the World Health Organization, they have also developed a software package, Acluster, linked to the book.

Workshop goals:

  • Introduce concepts involved in the design and analysis of cluster randomized trials
  • Distribute beta versions of Acluster and illustrate its use with examples from recent trials

Workshop 3 – Molecular Genetics for Epidemiologists: From the Basics to Advanced Topics

Faculty: Jack A. Taylor, M.D., Ph.D., Chief, Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology Section, Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis and Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch, NIEHS, NIH

Morning: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Afternoon: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This will be a two-part workshop. The morning will consist of a review of molecular genetics designed to provide a background in the techniques of DNA analysis for epidemiologists. The workshop will provide a basic background for those who wish a clearer understanding of concepts and techniques used in molecular epidemiology, and a basis from which to move on to the afternoon course on advanced topics.

The afternoon will be an extension of the morning workshop and will cover selected advanced and emerging areas of genetics and genomics. The course will focus initially on topics related to DNA polymorphism, mutation, and DNA repair, and discuss application of these issues to the study of disease etiology with a focus on cancer. DNA chips, expression arrays, and other technologies have gathered considerable interest within the epidemiology community, although they have seldom been applied in epidemiologic studies. The course will provide the epidemiologist with a conceptual understanding of these technologies and the current limitations on their application. Finally the workshop will try to anticipate near and intermediate term applications of emerging genomic technologies on epidemiologic studies, and suggest practical aspects of tissue procurement and storage, and consent.

Workshop goals:

  • Review selected technical topics of DNA of interest to the epidemiologist including, polymorphism discovery, spontaneous and induced mutation, DNA repair, DNA as a lifetime dosimeter of exposure
  • Describe the basis of emerging technologies for genetic analysis including DNA chips, expression arrays, and mass spectroscopy
  • Discuss how such technologies and the field of genomics may be applied in epidemiologic studies and tissue sample requirements