194356 Microsimulation of an Alcohol System: A Public Policy Tool

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yasmin H. Said, PhD , Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Edward J. Wegman, PhD , Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Introduction: Users of alcohol are incorporated into a societal system, which for many purposes resembles an ecological system. An understanding of how this ecological alcohol system works provides an opportunity to evaluate effectiveness of interventions.

Methods: We use a hybrid directed graph social network model calibrated with conditional probabilities derived from actual data with the idea of reproducing the experience of acute outcomes reflecting undesirable individual and societal outcomes. In the present model, we also approximate geospatial effects related to transportation as well as temporal effects. Drinking behaviors among underage users can be particularly harmful from both a societal and individual perspective. One dimension of underage drinking is the possibility of poor decisions with sexual behaviors and the possibility of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases. Using college survey data we also model the prevalence of such incidence.

Results: Using the model based on data from experiences in Fairfax County, Virginia, we are able to reproduce the multinomial probability distribution of acute outcomes with high accuracy using a microsimulation of all residents of Fairfax, approximately 1,000,000 agents simulated. By adjusting conditional probabilities corresponding to interventions, we are able to simulate the effects of those interventions.

Conclusions: This methodology provides an effective tool for investigating the impact of interventions and thus provides guidance for public policy related to alcohol use.

Learning Objectives:
1) Explain a microsimulation methodology for simultaneous estimation of the probability of acute outcomes. 2) Evaluate the impact of interventions on broad societal outcomes with respect to alcohol use.

Keywords: Alcohol Use, Interventions

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold an earned Ph.D. in the area and have published in the area. I have a NIAAA grant for this work.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.