142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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A system for systems epidemiology: The example of inference from agent-based models

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 1:06 PM - 1:18 PM

Abdulrahman El-Sayed, MD, DPhil , Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, NY
The past 10 years have seen a growth in interest in systems approaches in non-infectious disease epidemiology. A fair body of literature in the field has discussed how these methods, in theory, can capture non-linearity, dynamic feedback loops, and emergence in policy-relevant epidemiologic research. However, while calls for these approaches have grown, empiric research that has effectively used these approaches to yield new insight regarding the etiology of high-burden diseases lags behind. Systems epidemiology is hampered by a paucity of guidelines, best practices, and illustrative applications of systems tools to epidemiologic questions. Agent-based modeling is one such systems tool with promise for meaningful applications, yet lacking with respect to a methodologic framework for valid implementation. Here, I establish a conceptual paradigm to designing, parameterizing, and implementing agent-based models in epidemiology. Using this conceptual paradigm, I compare and contrast differing approaches to the parameterization and validation of agent-based models via the design and implementation of two agent-based epidemiologic models, one exploring the role of social networks in obesity, and the other exploring the relationship between collective efficacy and community violence. With robust methodologic frameworks, systems epidemiology has the potential to expand our toolkit with respect to understanding the causes and consequences of chronic disease.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the different components of an agent-based model study design Describe how agent-based models can be used for inference in population health

Keyword(s): Epidemiology, Methodology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Abdulrahman M El-Sayed is a population health scientist and Assistant Professor at the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University. He studies the social production of health, socioeconomic and ethnic inequalities in health, and complex systems approaches in social epidemiology. He has authored over 40 published or in press scientific articles, as well as several commentaries and book chapters.
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.

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