Regional Organization Reports November/December 2012

SRA-Egypt

www.sra-egypt.org

Shady Noureldin, President

SRA-Egypt Organizes a Forum for Risk Management at the Second Excellence in Engineering Day

The Second Excellence in Engineering Day took place on Tuesday, 25 September 2012, in Cairo, Egypt. The event was organized by the University to Work team, the Egyptian European Organization for Training and Development, and the Rotaract and Rotary Club of El Tahrir in cooperation with Engineering Consultant Group.

SRA-Egypt was invited by Dr. Nevine AbdelKhalek, the event’s founder and mastermind, to organize the Risk Management Forum, where three presentations had been conducted by Dr. Shady Noureldin, SRA-Egypt president; Mr. Sherif Mawsouf, SRA-Egypt founding member; and Mr. Tamer Ismail, SRA-Egypt Training Committee head. The three presentations tackled risk management technical background, risk management approaches, and application from business-development and project-management perspectives.

Mr. Tamer Ismail conducted the first presentation and highlighted that risk management is an activity that integrates recognition of risk, risk assessment, developing strategies to manage it, and mitigation of risk using managerial resources. He also provided introduction to risk management/planning, risk identification, qualitative risk analysis, semi-quantitative risk analysis, quantitative risk analysis, risk treatment and response plan, risk monitoring, and review.

In the second presentation, Mr. Sherif Mawsouf tackled risk management from a business-development point of view, particularly in African countries. He presented the major risks encountered by consultants conducting services in Africa, and he explored obstacles facing both African and Arab consulting firms in that regard. He also recommended a frame of actions and solutions that would facilitate business implementation of consulting firms in Africa.

Dr. Shady Noureldin tackled risks from a project-management perspective in the third presentation and presented case studies in the aviation sector, especially in mega foreign funded projects in Egypt. He tackled risks associated with design requirements and the construction conditions in brownfield site conditions encountering demolition, pollution, and different ongoing construction projects. A systematic approach was presented to identify and assess the project risks for different risk categories including external, environmental, project management, construction, and engineering services risks. Also, control measures had been proposed and contingency budget calculations were explained for particular case studies.

SRA-Egypt speakers were granted the event’s medal as a declaration of SRA-Egypt members’ efforts and the SRA-Egypt logo was printed on the event’s proceedings.

 

SRA-Australia/New Zealand

http://www.acera.unimelb.edu.au/sra/index.html

Rochelle Christian, President, and Jean Chesson, Secretary

The 2013 SRA-Australia/New Zealand (SRA-ANZ) annual conference will be held 17–19 September at the Australian National University’s Crawford School for Public Policy. The conference will commence with a day of workshops followed by two days of presentations with national and international keynote speakers. Watch for the call for papers and further details on the SRA-ANZ website (http://www.acera.unimelb.edu.au/sra/index.html).

We also ran a further SRAonCampus event in collaboration with the new initiatives project managed by the SRA Upstate New York Regional Organization (http://www.sra.org/upstateny). The event was held at Lincoln University on 31 October on the risks of the import of augmentative predator biological control agents into New Zealand. Speakers included Mike Slim with a half-day workshop to be facilitated by Steven Corin.

This will be Jean and Rochelle’s last newsletter in our current roles. Commencing 1 January 2013, Mark Colyvan will be president of SRA-ANZ and nominations for candidates to fill the secretary and other vacant roles on our executive committee closed on 31 October 2012, prior to elections.

 

SRA-Europe

www.sraeurope.org

Mathew White, Secretary

The 22nd SRA-Europe annual conference will be held 17–19 June 2013 at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. The theme of the conference is “Safe Societies – Coping with Complexity and Major Risk,” concerning challenges related to our society’s vulnerability to major risks of natural and industrial disasters, malicious attacks, financial breakdowns, and epidemic diseases.

Confirmed keynote speakers are:

• Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, Stanford University: Engineering Risk Analysis in Complex Systems. Author of “Games and Risk Analysis” (2009) and “Probabilistic Early Warning for National Security Crises” (2011).

• Nick Pidgeon, Cardiff University: Risk Perception and Communication. Author/editor of The Social Amplification of Risk (2003) and In Retrospect: Normal Accidents (2011).

• David D. Woods, Ohio State University: Cognitive Systems Engineering, Human Factors and Ergonomics. Author/editor of Resilience Engineering: Concepts and Precepts (2006) and Behind Human Error (2010).

 

SRA-Japan

http://www.sra-japan.jp/english

Yasunobu Maeda, Vice President

SRA-Japan has a current membership of approximately 600 and the councilors have been updated for the 2012–2014 term. The Great-East Japan earthquake raised concern about risk management/governance and crisis management. Reflecting social situations following the disaster, SRA-Japan held some symposia and learned lessons from the theory and practice of crisis management and the risk issues of low-probability and high-consequence disaster and also published the special issues of the Journal of Risk Analysis (see English abstracts at https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/sraj).

The 25th annual meeting took place at Shiga University, 9–11 November 2012. The featured symposium discussed the role of our society in interdisciplinary fields for the next quarter century of SRA-Japan. The invited speakers from related disciplines talked about the interface and communication among the fields. After the great disaster, regulatory judgments and policy have been made using the risk concept. However, social confusion and disagreement among experts have been brought about by risk issues. Past experiences suggest that stakeholder involvement and risk communication can assist decision making to reduce social conflicts. Reflecting current situations, SRA-Japan wants to promote communication among different experts and to clarify how risk communication should get ahead through the symposium. Several sessions dealing with interdisciplinary communication were held.

SRA-Japan is looking at where we are going for the next quarter century. In particular, we continue to promote the membership certified as “risk managers” and the research that would bring a new insight on risk communication and governance across different disciplines.

 

SRA-Taiwan

Kuen-Yuh, Secretary General

Over 20 SRA-Taiwan members participated in the World Congress on Risk meeting held in Sydney, Australia, 17–20 July 2012. The theme of the congress was “Risk and Development in a Changing World,” which includes topics covering the fields of food safety, environmental health, natural hazards, and many others, as well as a variety of aspects of risk analysis, e.g., risk perception and communication.

During the meeting, SRA-Taiwan members enjoyed excellent and well-received talks and keynote speeches from Professors Bette Meek (Canada), Geert Dancet (Europe), Saburo Ikeda (Japan), and many others. At the end of the second day, SRA-Taiwan hosted a session to discuss the idea of having a regular Asia regional meeting in the future among the SRA members in Asia, including Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The discussion was co-chaired by Professor Dong-Chun Shin (SRA-Korea), Dr. Yasunobu Maeda (SRA-Japan), and Dr. Kuen-Yuh Wu (SRA-Taiwan), who summarized the history of the local activities of SRA members in Asia in the last decade. After the discussions, most participants believed there are needs for a more formal platform to unify the researchers from the entire Asia region and to share and discuss the regional issues and ideas of risk analysis.

On the last day of the conference, Professor Chang-Chuan Chan (Taiwan) hosted a symposium titled “Changing Risks in Land Use and Air Quality” to discuss the health risk analysis from the exposure of air pollutants presented by the researchers from Mongolia, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

 

SRA-Latin America

www.srala.org

Mabel Padlog, Secretary

The Society for Risk Analysis-Latin America (SRA-LA) is going through the process of electing the EC-III officers. Dr. Sandra Demichelis, current president-elect, will become the new SRA-LA president for the period 2013–2014. Please visit our website (www.srala.org); biographical sketches and proposals of the candidates will be posted soon.

SRA-LA is sharing sponsorship at the VIth International Convention of Psychology, “Hominis 2013,” to be held 2–6 December 2013 in La Habana, Cuba. We are organizing a Symposium on Psychology of Emergency and Disasters. We invite our colleagues to send papers for this event.

The upcoming annual meeting of SRA in San Francisco is around the corner. Several researchers from Latin America will be attending this meeting, presenting their risk analysis work. Luis Cifuentes and Nicolás Bronfman from Pontificia Universidad Católica and Universidad Andrés Bello, respectively (Santiago de Chile), Sandra Demichelis from Universidad de Lanús y Universidad J.F. Kennedy (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Marcelo Wolansky from Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Felipe Muñoz from Universidad de Los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia) will be discussing their latest research with SRA colleagues. They will address quite dissimilar topics, such as the impact of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) on human health, application of cost-benefit analysis in decision-making processes used to implement environmental quality standards for pollutants, the emerging environmental health risks of exposure to pharmaceutical waste in aquatic ecosystems, a proposal of a sequential, in vitro-in vivo-ex vivo system to predict the risks of neurotoxicity posed to humans by exposure to environmentally relevant pesticide mixtures (i.e., a combination of low doses of pyrethroid and organophosphate insecticides), and a comparison of accuracy and predictive power in fluid dynamics analysis using alternative simulation methods (i.e., Lattice Boltzmann Method with Free Surface versus FLUENT-VOF method), tested by using theoretical and experimental data.

 

New England

www.sra-ne.org

Eric Ruder, President

The New England Regional Organization of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA-NE) kicked off the year with our first seminar on 10 October 2012. The seminar, “Assessing Risk to Modern Chemicals: Case Study of Flame Retardants in Homes and in Airplanes,” explored the risks of exposure to modern chemicals in homes and in airplanes, with a focus on flame retardants. The event consisted of three talks: (1) Ruthann Rudel from the Silent Spring Institute presented a study of concentrations of flame retardants in dust in homes and serum, looking at the impact of standards for polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) use in California, (2) Joseph Allen and Jack Spengler of the Harvard School of Public Health discussed a study of the risks to flight crews from PBDE exposure from flame retardants used in airplanes, and (3) Robin Dodson of the Silent Spring Institute presented the results of consumer products testing for endocrine disruptors and asthma-associated chemicals and discussed the significance of these results as related to consumer exposures.

Our next event was the annual joint seminar that we sponsored with the Massachusetts Licensed Site Professionals Association, which took place on 13 November 2012. Kimberly Tisa, the Region 1 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) Coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, presented on characterization of PCB-contaminated sites. She clarified key regulatory definitions of PCB bulk product waste and PCB remediation waste; described different ways to analyze and describe PCBs, including by Aroclors, homologues, and congeners; and explained the various types of remediation strategies available under the Toxic Substances Control Act for PCB-impacted soil and PCB-impacted building materials (including risk-based strategies).

SRA-NE seminars are free and open to the public (the joint seminars are free to members). These seminars provide an opportunity for those interested in the science and policy of risk assessment to hear about current issues, research, and initiatives. Please visit the SRA-NE website (http://www.sra-ne.org/) or join our LinkedIn group for periodic further details about these events, as well as postings on our other activities.

Looking forward, we are starting to plan for four or more additional seminars from January through June on topics involving the development and application of cutting-edge risk assessment methods, including another college-based seminar to continue with our university outreach program. We are also actively looking for additional opportunities for networking with each other, with local universities, and with other local professional associations. We will continue to explore using new technologies for connecting, including social media (such as our ever-growing LinkedIn group!) and webinar access to presentations.

SRA-NE also extends congratulations to our newly elected president-elect, Katherine Walker of the Health Effects Institute, and to our treasurer, Arlene Levin of ERG, and our secretary, Karen Vetrano of TRC, both of whom will be continuing their long-standing support of chapter activities.

 

National Capital Area

www.sra.org/ncac

Sally Kane, President

The National Capital Area Chapter (NCAC) is continuing to work with several partners in developing interesting technical programs of interest to risk analysts and policy analysts. Our partners include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis (ORACBA); George Washington University (GWU) Regulatory Studies Center, Center for Risk Science and Public Health, and Environmental Law Studies; Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter of SETAC; Economics and Benefits Analysis Specialty Group; and Risk Policy and Law Specialty Group. We are in the early stages of planning collaborative efforts with the SRA New England Regional Organization. Below is a report on current activities with local partners.

Collaborations with USDA ORACBA on Risk Forum Lectures:

25 September Risk Forum: The speaker, Richard Reiss of Exponent, focused on the topic “Estimation of Cancer Risks and Benefits Associated with a Potential Increased Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables.” Dr. Reiss’ presentation analyzed the potential number of cancer cases that might be prevented if half the U.S. population increased its fruit and vegetable consumption by one serving each per day. This was contrasted with the upper-bound estimate of concomitant cancer cases that might be theoretically attributed to the intake of pesticide residues arising from the same additional fruit and vegetable consumption. The seminar was attended by a diverse audience including federal economists and risk assessors, academics, and risk assessors from outside the federal government. For the first time, the Risk Forum was available as a webinar for those unable to attend in person, including several participants from outside the Washington, DC, area. In the future, not only will these seminars be available in real-time via webinar, but the audio portion will be archived and available on the Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis website for those unable to listen to the live presentation. The presentations are available at http://www.usda.gov/oce/risk_assessment/forums.htm.

In the past year, the following programs have been co-sponsored: Ragnar Löfstedt on “Communicating Food Risk” and “Reviewing Health and Safety Legislation in the U.K.” and a panel discussion on “Emerging Risks of Synthetic Biology.” In the coming year, we anticipate a forum on the evaluation of environmental benefits from implementing conservation practices in the Chesapeake Bay. Providing access via webinar should result in real-time inclusion of more participants from outside the Washington area.

Continued Collaboration with GWU Regulatory Studies Center and the Center for Risk Science and Public Health

23 October Program: Enhancing Science and Policy for Chemical Risk Assessments.

The NCAC teamed up with the GWU Regulatory Studies Center and Center for Risk Science and Public Health, the American Chemistry Council, and the Administrative Conference of the United States to host an afternoon workshop on Enhancing Science and Policy for Chemical Risk Assessments. Discussion built on recent reports from the Bipartisan Policy Center, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Keystone Group and focus on data evaluation, data integration, and peer review. It is contributing to an Administrative Conference of the United States project focused on best practices for the use of science in the administrative process. The workshop, held at GWU, was led by subject-matter experts from academia, government, non-governmental organizations, and stakeholder organizations. Visit http://www.regulatorystudies.gwu.edu/index.php/news-a-events for more information and workshop materials.

New program

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The NCAC is moving forward in planning a timely program on the risks of fracking and management challenges. We welcome programmatic ideas and identification of potential speakers.

The NCAC Executive Council welcomes overtures of interest in working with us on programing and training—getting involved in the NCAC is an excellent opportunity to continue to learn and to become active in the risk analysis community in this unique metropolitan area.

 

Research Triangle

Audrey Turley, Chair

Environmental Justice in North Carolina

The Research Triangle Chapter hosted a successful “Symposium and Dialogue on Science, Risk Assessment, and Environmental Justice” on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) campus in North Carolina on 15 October 2012. The daylong event brought together community advocates, researchers, risk assessors from EPA and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and other Research Triangle Park organizations and universities to help scientists better understand and orient their research and assessments towards environmental justice within vulnerable communities.

Dr. Steve Wing, professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill set the stage for the day with his lecture “Environmental Justice 101.” Following his presentation, local environmental justice stakeholders discussed their work evaluating risks posed by concentrated animal feeding operations in eastern North Carolina, assessing disproportionate exposure to contaminants in air and water near a landfill, and promoting community involvement in political decision making for a proposed road expansion. In his community keynote presentation, Dr. Omega Wilson from the West End Revitalization Association described the need for community-engaged, actionable research—scientific studies that can be used to effect grassroots change to improve environmental public health in communities.

In the afternoon, Dr. Ken Olden, director of EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment, discussed why “neighborhood matters” and how environmental factors including pollution, diet, and social stressors can cause changes in gene expression and potentially impact health risks. Researchers from EPA discussed work focused on evaluating increased asthma risks in African American Children in Durham, North Carolina, development of community tools to promote evaluation of cumulative risks, and how community health affects outcomes after exposure to wildfire smoke. The day concluded with a discussion of EPA and NIEHS strategic initiatives to build community partnerships and address environmental justice issues through research and policy.

Andrew Geller (EPA), Shannon O’Shea (EPA), Janice Paré (EPA), David Svendsgaard (EPA), and Audrey Turley (ICF International) organized the event.