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Science and Decisions: How Can We Advance Risk Assessment

May 24, 2011
10:00 am US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

Presenter PowerPoint slides:

Tom Burke
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Deborah Cory-Slechta
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Tracey Woodruff
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Additional resources:

UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment: Links to 3 papers recently published in Health Affairs.
Visit the PRHE website
to find the links to the papers.

Listen to Recording

Date: Tuesday May 24, 2011

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 U.S. 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.*

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.

* Note: The description of the content of the report used above is from the National Academies Press (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12209)

Featured speakers included:

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.