This session discussed the use of statistics in many areas of public health. Statistics are used in public health to interpret public health surveillance data, estimate disease risk, and to design epidemiologic studies. The Science Ambassadors learned about basic statistical methodology used to analyze epidemiologic data.
Owen J. Devine, PhD
Despite his degrees in forestry, Dr. Devine knows virtually nothing about trees. However, he did begin his federal career in 1982 predicting corn and soybean growth as a statistician with the United States Department of Agriculture. In 1986, he transferred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to work on the Agent Orange Projects, a large scale investigation into the potential long term health effects among Vietnam veterans that may result from exposure to this defoliant. In his 18 years with CDC since then, he has worked on the statistical analysis of a wide range of public health data including efforts to predict the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, assessment of injury prevention strategies, cancer studies among persons who reside near nuclear weapons production facilities and surveillance-based investigations of sexually transmitted diseases. Currently, he is focused on the analysis of a variety of surveillance and epidemiologic data related to the understanding and, hopefully, prevention of birth defects and developmental disabilities. In addition, he is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Biostatistics in Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health where he teaches at least one graduate level course in biostatistics each year.
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