WEBSC August Workshop Series

The Western Epidemiology and Biostatistics Student Council (WEBSC) is pleased to present our annual workshop series this month. The webinar series consists of sessions led by upper-year graduate students and faculty members in the department and will cover a broad range of topics, including methodological issues, statistical programming, and research in terms of EDIDI (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Decolonization and Indigeneity) principles.

The event is a paid workshop event in support of WEBSC initiatives in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, including the Student Travel Award.

We encourage those of all skill levels and backgrounds to participate in any of the following workshops:

Workshop 1: Introduction to Topic Modelling | Wednesday, August 17 2022, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Hosted by Jacqueline Kueper, PhD Candidate in Epidemiology and Computer Science.

Topic modelling is an unsupervised machine learning technique used to identify patterns of co-occurrences in data. For example, to identify clusters of words (topics) that characterize a set of documents or open-text survey responses.
The first part of this session will introduce core concepts, methods (with a focus on non-negative matrix factorization), and example use cases. The second part will include hands-on examples in R. To fully engage and follow-along, introductory knowledge of R is needed. Base code and public data will be provided/linked; however, you may bring your own dataset to experiment with during the demos.


Workshop 2: Introduction to Causal Inference Part 1 | Thursday, August 18 2022, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Workshop 3: Introduction to Causal Inference Part 2 | Friday, August 19 2022, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Hosted by Kevin McIntyre, PhD Candidate in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Causal inference of observational studies is an increasingly recognized area of research thanks to many methodological breakthroughs over the past several decades. Despite the increasing interest in this area of research there is still a lot of work to be done in making these techniques more accessible to both clinicians and scientists more broadly. This workshop starts with the theoretical underpinnings of how we can use advanced techniques to infer causal effects from observational study designs. It then delves into causal diagrams as a foundational tool for conceptualizing causal mechanisms. Participants will then be introduced to the propensity score, a well-known technique for estimating causal effects from observational data. Finally, participants will briefly learn about instrumental variable analysis before finishing with some extra resources for those who are interested in learning more about causal inference. This is an introductory workshop; no previous knowledge regarding causal inference is necessary. R code will be provided, and the session will be recorded and distributed to participants to maximize learning.


Workshop 4: Data Analysis in R Part 1 | Wednesday, August 24 2022, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Workshop 5: Data Analysis in R Part 2| Thursday, August 25 2022, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Hosted by Steve Lee, PhD Candidate in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Pre-requisites: Knowledge of univariable and multivariable statistics; No knowledge of any statistical programming is required; Knowledge of other statistical programming languages (e.g., SAS, STATA, SPSS) helpful.
R is an open-source statistical programming language that is quite popular in both industry and research. This workshop will introduce the basics of the R language and delve into how to perform data analysis using R. Part 1 will focus on introducing the fundamentals of the language and how to perform descriptive statistics while Part 2 will cover basic statistical tests as well as regression.


Workshop 6: Syndemic Model in the Context of EDIDI | Wednesday, August 31 2022, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Hosted by Drs. Greta Bauer, Melanie Katsivo and Saverio Stranges, Professors at the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

There is increasing recognition of the importance of Equity Diversity Inclusion Decolonization Indigeneity (EDIDI) in research environments. The department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics is dedicated to teaching, research, outreach, and practice of EDIDI principles that serve populations affected by systemic and structural barriers. In this workshop, we welcome the following esteemed faculty in a discussion of Epidemiology in the context of EDIDI.

Dr. Shehzad Ali, Canada Research Chair in Public Health Economics, focuses on monitoring the equity and efficiency of health systems through health administrative data. His workshop, “Modeling Infectious Diseases: Are We Blind to Social Determinants of Health?” brings light to health inequalities between population groups, resultant of a range of social characteristics largely beyond the control of individuals.

Dr. Melanie Katsivo, is an associate director (Programs & Partnerships) of the Africa Institute and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry leads the implementation of EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) tactics and strategies in the Schulich school of medicine. She will be moderating a panel discussion focused on the “Integration of EDIDI principles in Epidemiological Research.”

Dr. Saverio Stranges, a Professor and Chair at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, is a medical doctor, public health specialist and chronic disease epidemiologist, with extensive experience in the field of epidemiology and public health research. He will provide an overview of EDIDI principles as relevant and critical aspects of research, clinical practice, and policy development.

Dr. Greta Bauer, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and CIHR Sex and Gender Science Chair, focuses on  community-based epidemiology, LGBT health and ethical issues in studying hidden populations. Her talk will  examine how the human experience is shaped by multiple social positions(e.g., race, gender) and how to  incorporate this Intersectionality into research.

Moderator: Dr. Melanie Katsivo

1:00 PM: Land acknowledgement and introduction to the workshop - WEBSC

1:05 PM: Overview of the EDIDI Principles - Dr. Melanie Katsivo

1:20 PM: Intersectionality in Epidemiological Research. - Dr. Greta Bauer

1:50 PM: Modeling infectious diseases: are we blind to social determinants of health? - Dr. Shehzad Ali

2:20 PM: Q & A

2:40 PM: Key Takeaways and Wrap-up - Dr. Saverio Stranges

3:00 PM - Close


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Shreni Patel (spate743@uwo.ca) or Maliha Mamun (mmamun7@uwo.ca).