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Annual Meeting Workshops (2021)

Workshops will be held virtually on Sunday and Friday this year. You must register in advance to attend a workshop. You may register for workshops without attending the Annual Meeting sessions. Registration for the workshops and the full meeting will be located on the sessions tab on the registration form. Please note that workshops 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9 recordings are available for purchase. This year’s offerings include: 

Sunday, December 5

Workshop #2: Half Day 8AM-12PM | Eliciting Judgements from Experts and Non-experts to Inform Decision-Making (Instructors: McLaughlin & Sertkaya)

  • Decision makers must frequently rely on data or information that is incomplete or inadequate in one way or another.
  • Judgment, often from experts and occasionally from non-experts, then plays a critical role in the interpretation and characterization of those data as well as in the completion of information gaps.
  • But how experts or non-experts are selected and their judgments elicited matters – they can also strongly influence the opinions obtained and the analysis on which they rely.
  • Several approaches to eliciting judgments have evolved. The workshop will cover topics ranging from recruitment, elicitation protocol design, different elicitation techniques (e.g., individual elicitations, Delphi method, nominal group technique, etc.) to aggregation methods for combining opinions of multiple individuals.
  • The role of judgment elicitation and its limitations, problems, and risks in policy analysis will also be addressed.
  • Will include presentation of two case studies that will include a discussion of the selection process; elicitation protocol development, elicitation technique utilized, and the various issues that arose before, during, and after the elicitation process and the manner in which they were resolved.
  • Will include two hands-on exercises where participants will 1) learn about calibration of experts using a mobile application and 2) apply the Delphi and nominal group techniques to examine risk management issues associated with a popular topic.

Workshop #3: Half Day 1PM-5PM | Using the Bayesian Benchmark Dose Modeling (BBMD) System for Dose-Response Assessment (Instructor: Shao)

  • Will start with a brief introduction on the benchmark dose methodology and then focus on providing participants hands-on experience of using the Bayesian Benchmark Dose (BBMD) modeling system in support of probabilistic dose-response assessment.
  • Covers various important topics in Bayesian BMD modeling, including using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm to fit mathematical dose-response models to toxicity data, estimating the distributions of model parameters and quantities of interest (e.g., BMD), using appropriate statistics to evaluate goodness of fit, comparing the statistical plausibleness of dose-response models, and employing Monte Carlo simulation for probabilistic low-dose extrapolation, etc.
  • Will extensively explore the major functionalities of the BBMD system for dose-response assessment, including BMD analysis of single and multiple datasets for dichotomous, continuous, and categorical data, BMD analysis for genomic data, probabilistic reference dose (RfD) analysis.
  • Will provide participants both theoretical and practical skills of using BBMD system for dose-response assessment.

Workshop #4: Half Day 8AM-5PM | Dose-Response Modeling – EPA Standard Benchmark Dose Modeling Approaches Using The Newest Version of EPA/NIOSHA BMDS Software including BMDS-Online (Instructor: Davis)

  • For years, EPA’s Benchmark Dose Software (BMDS) has been available as a stand-alone Windows desktop application for the dose-response analysis of toxicological data for risk assessment.
  • Given the wide variety of computing environments as well as individual risk assessor data needs, the EPA has expanded BMDS’ capabilities to Online (Web) and R (free software for statistical computing) environments.
  • BMDS-Online builds upon the modeling capability and user interface of BMDS Desktop in a web browser, thus allowing users to run BMDS on any computer with access to the internet.
  • The interoperability of BMDS Desktop and BMDS-Online provides users with the capability of running, storing, and transferring analyses from one platform to another for optimal consistency, efficiency, and applicability.
  • Covers EPA standard (frequentist) dose-response analyses using the newest release of BMDS Desktop and BMDS-Online.
  • Will learn and practice (through hands-on exercises) dose-response modeling of dichotomous and continuous response data, including nested dichotomous (to account for litter effect in developmental studies) and multi-tumor modeling.
  • A follow-on workshop (Dose-Response Modeling –Bayesian Modeling with BMDS and ToxicR) will cover new Bayesian modeling approaches implemented in BMDS and ToxicR, an R-based Bayesian modeling platform developed by NIOSH that “untethers” BMDS and other models for research purposes.

Workshop #5: Half Day: 1PM-5PM | Dose-Response Modeling – Bayesian Modeling with the Newest Version of BMDS and ToxicR (Instructor: Davis)

  • Covers emerging Bayesian dose-response modeling approaches facilitated by the newest release of BMDS and ToxicR, an R-based Bayesian modeling platform developed by NIEHS/NTP that “untethers” BMDS and other models for research purposes.
  • Will learn and practice (through hands-on exercises) the use of Bayesian models, including the application of a Bayesian framework for model averaging, using BMDS and ToxicR.
  • Will explore model averaging approaches for dichotomous and continuous data, including new model averaging capabilities for continuous data that are currently only available in ToxicR.
  • The research functionality and modeling capacity of the ToxicR platform will be demonstrated.
  • Hands-on exercises in ToxicR will allow trainees to be among the first to experience Bayesian modeling practices that may represent the future direction of BMDS.
  • Will show how to modify prior assumptions and perform sensitivity analyses to investigate the default prior’s effect on a given analysis.
  • Additional features of the package that allow for scripted batch processing, advanced graphics, and custom BMD analysis will also be highlighted.
  • New users to BMDS are strongly advised to attend the first workshop (Dose-Response Modeling – – EPA Standard Benchmark Dose Modeling Approaches Using The Newest Version of EPA/NIOSH BMDS Software including BMDS-Online) in this series for an introduction to benchmark dose modeling.

Workshop #6: Full Day 8AM-5PM | Environmental Justice and Equity, Human Health Risk Assessment, and Modeling: A practical workshop for the risk assessor, risk modeling and regulatory communities (Instructor: Wilkins)

  • Risk assessors, risk modelers, regulatory analysts, students, SRA specialty group members, and anyone interested in learning about risk assessment and regulatory analysis as it applies to justice and equity, is invited to participate in this workshop
  • This co-sponsored workshop is a collaboration between the SRA Justice, Equity and Risk Specialty Group (JERSG), the SRA Exposure Assessment Group (EASG) and the CalEPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
  • Is designed to provide relevant, practical tools, methods, and discussions to better equip attendees to implement Environmental Justice (EJ) and Justice and Equity (JE) analysis within their risk assessment, modeling, and regulatory analysis workflows.
  • Will present a series of five learning modules, each covering one aspect of justice and equity in the field of human health risk assessment:
    • Module 1: Technical guidance for addressing environmental justice in risk assessments and regulatory analyses
    • Module 2: Risk-based modeling bias
    • Module 3: Justice applications pertaining to cumulative risk and multiple stressors
    • Module 4: CalEnviroScreen
    • Module 5: Climate and Economic Screening Tool
  • Intended to overview selected topics pertinent to the nexus of justice and equity, modeling, human health risk assessment, and regulatory analysis.
  • Relevant conversations arising from this workshop can be further explored and discussed at the JERSG sponsored “SRA Equity, Justice and Risk Roundtable Discussion” during the 2021 SRA Annual Meeting.

Workshop #7: Full Day 8AM-5PM | Monte Carlo simulation and probability bounds analysis in R with hardly any data (Instructors: Ferson & Grey)

  • Features hands-on examples worked in R on your own laptap, from raw data to final decision.
  • Introduces and compares Monte Carlo simulation and probability bounds analysis for developing probabilistic risk analyses when little or no empirical data are available.
  • You can use your laptop to work the examples, or just follow along if you prefer.
  • The examples illustrate the basic problems risk analysts face: not having much data to estimate inputs, not knowing the distribution shapes, not knowing their correlations, and not even being sure about the model form.
  • Monte Carlo models will be parameterized using the method of matching moments and other common strategies.
  • Probability bounds will be developed from both large and small data sets, from data with non-negligible measurement uncertainty, and from published summaries that lack data altogether.
  • Explains how to avoid common pitfalls in risk analyses, including the multiple instantiation problem, unjustified independence assumptions, repeated variable problem, and what to do when there’s little or no data.
  • The numerical examples will be developed into fully probabilistic estimates useful for quantitative decisions and other risk-informed planning.
  • Emphasis will be placed on the interpretation of results and on how defensible decisions can be made even when little information is available.
  • The presentation style will be casual and interactive.
  • Participants will receive handouts of the slides and electronic files with software for the examples.

Friday, December 10

Workshop #8: Half Day 8AM-12PM | Case Study and Lessons Learned from applying the FAO Guide to Ranking Food Safety Risks at the National Level (Instructor: Morgan)

  • Will walk the participants through the initial steps of an application of the FAO Guide for Ranking Food Safety Risks at the National Level.
  • In this case study, the scoping and risk ranking are conducted as workshops.
  • Resources needed will be identified and examples provided.
  • Methods for engaging stakeholders and lessons learned will be described, based on the experience in Ethiopia.
  • The process for selecting hazards to be ranked and how the risks are estimated will be described.
  • The method developed was designed to be implemented by those who are not experts in risk analysis or quantitative modeling, though many of the principles are based on those skills.
  • The challenge of implementing a rigorous and useful risk ranking in a low resource environmental is very daunting, but this case study will describe work that is beginning in that direction, so that others can build on it.

Workshop #9: Full Day 8AM-5PM | Chemical Mixtures Health Risk Assessments of Environmental Contaminants: Concepts, Methods, Applications and Advances Topics (Instructors: Rice & Teuschler)

  • Focuses on current and emerging methods and data for assessing health risks posed by exposures to chemical mixtures in the environment.
  • Key concepts and terminology are presented, and both whole mixture and component-based methods are discussed.
  • Response addition and dose addition are described and include the following methods: the hazard index (HI), interaction-based HI, relative potency factors, toxicity equivalence factors, integrated addition, and detection of departures from dose addition.
  • Whole mixture methods consist of the derivation of toxicity values for whole mixtures, sufficient similarity and mixture fractions.
  • Future directions are discussed, including the use of data from new alternative methods (NAM) to inform chemical mixture risk assessment methods, a toxicology study design for verifying methods, and kinetics/metabolism of mixtures.
  • The risk assessment examples developed in the workshop are adapted from real-world mixture analyses, e.g., waste site contaminants, pesticide applications, botanical ingredients and drinking water disinfection by-product exposures.
  • The “hands-on” exercise, demonstrating the methods is an essential part of this workshop.
  • Discussions include real world examples, exercise results, and answers to general questions.
  • We ask participants to bring a calculator or laptop
  • The views expressed in this abstract are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the USEPA.

Workshop #10: Half Day 8AM-12PM | Combining quantitative natural and social science methods for extreme weather and climate event (EWCE) risk assessment (Instructor: Mallick)

  • Risk management related to extreme weather and climate events (EWCE) are now embedded in decision-makers’ agendas.
  • Striving for an evidence-based development on the matter calls for comprehensive risk assessments that rely on generating and organizing this evidence from various methods and disciplines.
  • Under the context of a community vulnerable to EWCE (e.g., droughts, floods), this workshop will start by introducing and discussing the aim, structure, and role of risk assessments.
  • Focuses on risk assessments to organize information and knowledge to support decision- and policy-making.
  • Will be complemented with social and natural sciences methods used to characterize, express, and evaluate risk (e.g., agent-based modelling, climate, hydrological and hydrodynamic simulations).
  • The aim and output of each method will be addressed and discussed based on their features, methodological requirements, and relevance of the information they provide for the risk assessment.
  • Will learn about (1) risk assessment frameworks, (2) simulation methods related to EWCE induced risks, and (3) the importance of risk assessments importance as an instance to combine a multiplicity of interdisciplinary work to bridge science and policy on an evidence basis.

Workshop #12: Half Day 1PM-5PM | A Framework for Building Environmental Health Literacy and Understanding of Risks in Heaalth Equity Populations (Instructor: Erdei)

  • Will introduce a novel learning system considering environmental health, genetics and emerging chemicals from a health equity perspective.
  • Overwhelmingly large number of communities struggle with contaminations and they are not actively involved in USEPA or other structural risk assessments largely because of the gaps in training and the lack of organized discussions involving them as equal partners.
  • Our approach to support gaining experience with toxicology and risks combines hands-on interactive models with case-based lessons, and targeted online toxicology lectures that highlights environmental health issues in impacted communities.
  • The hands-on approach employs DNA and protein molecular models designed to demonstrate differences in susceptibilities to environmental chemicals.
  • The models provide learners with visuals and an experience of “learning by doing.” Increased knowledge of the effects of environmental toxicants is the first step toward improving health care for exposed communities.
  • Provides a fundamental basis of environmental health education for students (undergraduate, graduate level) and health care professionals new to environmental health and environmental justice issues.
  • Will deliver interactive, hands-on learning opportunities to the audience that strengthens toxicological concepts and linking those to population susceptibilities and potential emerging disease pathways.

Workshop #13: Full Day 8AM-5PM | What Scenarios Are You Missing? A systemic approach to black swans, perfect storms, dragon-kings (Instructor: Schweizer)

  • Risk analysis is about anticipation, and risk analysts see it as their duty to inform decision makers about potentially bad and good consequences of their decisions.
  • Surprises, or unanticipated events, may feel like analytical failures to decision makers and/or risk analysts.
  • Focuses on system complexity and how it can be leveraged analytically to avoid surprises.
  • Demonstrates and applies both fundamental and state-of-the-art methods and tools for how to specify complex yet poorly characterized systems underlying any decision context.
  • Such approaches can be quite simple (i.e., ‘back of the envelope’) yet, when combined with software, powerful enough to determine steps and opportunities to guard against risk or advance problem solution.
  • Through a problem-based learning approach, participants will be led through exercises introducing them to the scenario method of cross-impact balances (CIB) and the software tool ScenarioWizard. Advanced CIB applications will also be discussed.
  • Participants will reflect on how they might personally use CIB to uncover scenarios that other analytical approaches may miss.