Science and Decisions: How Can We Advance Risk Assessment

May 24, 2011
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

Presenter PowerPoint slides:

Tom Burke; Presentation slides

Deborah Cory-Slechta: Presentation slides

Tracey Woodruff: Presentation slides

Additional Resources

UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment: Links to 3 papers recently published in Health Affairs.

Listen to Recording

Risk assessment has become a dominant public policy tool for making choices, based on limited resources, to protect public health and the environment. It has been instrumental to the mission of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as other federal agencies in evaluating public health concerns, informing regulatory and technological decisions, prioritizing research needs and funding, and in developing approaches for cost-benefit analysis.

However, risk assessment is at a crossroads. Despite advances in the field, risk assessment faces a number of significant challenges including lengthy delays in making complex decisions; lack of data leading to significant uncertainty in risk assessments; and many chemicals in the marketplace that have not been evaluated and emerging agents requiring assessment. Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment (also known as the ‘Silverbook’), published by the National Academy of Sciences in 2009, makes practical scientific and technical recommendations to address these concerns. (The description of the content of the report used above is from the National Academies Press.)

On this call, three leading national researchers discussed the report’s recommendations and what progress has been made towards their implementation—as well as what obstacles remain in order to more accurately evaluate public health risk.

Featured Speakers

  • Tom Burke, PhD, MPH, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training; Professor in The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management; Director of the Johns Hopkins Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute
  • Deborah Cory-Slechta, PhD, Professor, Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine
  • Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment
    Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco; and Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco

The call was moderated by Elise Miller, MEd, CHE Director.