DIMACS/DyDAn Workshop: Investigation of Disease Clusters:
Transitioning to the 21st Century and Beyond*

May 6 - 8, 2008
DIMACS/DyDAn Center, CoRE Building, Rutgers University

Andrew Lawson, University of South Carolina, alawson at gwm.sc.edu
Daniel Wartenberg, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, dew at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Presented under the auspices of the Special Focus on Computational and Mathematical Epidemiology and the Center for Dynamic Data Analysis (DyDAn).

*Funded by DIMACS and the UMDNJ Academic Partnership for Environmental Public Health Tracking (1 U19 EH000 CDC grant).

Workshop Program:

The goal of this conference is to bring together representatives of communities, government and academia to begin a discussion on innovative strategies for addressing and investigation disease clusters. It is hoped that through this series of lectures, discussions, and workgroup sessions, we will be able to identify topics and activities based on past experience that make use of new ideas, methods and technology to better address this vexing problem.

Day 1: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 2 PM - 5 PM

An introductory workshop on cluster investigation for those less familiar with how clusters are defined, the nuts and bolts of how clusters are identified, and how investigation results are interpreted.

Day 2: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 9 AM - 5 PM

A community/government/academia dialogue on the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities with the current practice in cluster investigations

Day 3: Thursday, May 8, 2008 9 AM - 12:30 PM

A summary of the latest methodologic and statistical developments in cluster investigations, from improved and expanded scan statistics to broad-scale surveillance to comparisons of methods and identification of when best to use each.

Funded by DIMACS and the UMDNJ Academic Partnership for Environmental Public Health Tracking.

Tuesday May 6, 2008

 1:00 -  2:00 Registration
 2:00 -  5:00 Pre-Workshop Training: The Investigation of Disease Clusters
	      Dan Wartenberg
	      Dona Schneider
	      Andrew Lawson

                  1. Introduction to Clusters: History and Context

                  2. The Practice of Cluster Investigation 

                  3. The Analytic Methods of Cluster Investigations

                  4. The Media and Community Perspectives on Cluster Investigations

                  5. Some Statistical Considerations and Ideas for More Effective Responses to Clusters

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

 8:15 -  9:00 Breakfast and Registration

 9:00 -  9:15 Welcome
	      Dan Wartenberg, Chief, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, UMDNJ and EOHSI
	      Mel Janowitz, DIMACS Associate Director

 9:15 -  9:30 Scope of Goals of the Conference	
              Dan Wartenberg, UMDNJ

              Credibility for community/government/academia collaboration to review cluster 
              investigation strategies and recommend improvements

              Facilitate dialogue between scientists, community representatives and health 
              department staff to encourage innovative and creative thinking and appropriate methods

PART 1:  Getting Oriented on Cluster Investigations  

 9:30 -  9:45 Cluster Investigations: A Community View	
              Jane Williams, Exec. Dir., California Coalition Against Toxics
 9:45 - 10:00 The Need and Benefits of a Government-community
              Partnership Response Model to Excessive Environmental Disease Concentrations
              Dee Lewis, National Disease Cluster Alliance (NDCA)
10:00 - 10:15 Cluster Investigations: A Health Department View 
              Jerald Fagliano, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services

10:15 - 10:30 Cluster Investigation: Logistic and Methodologic Challenges
	      Geoff Jacquez, Biomedware, Inc.

10:30 - 11:00 Discussion

11:00 - 11:15 Coffee Break

11:15 - 12:00 From the Headlines: 'Eight Cancer Clusters Discovered in
              Delaware (April 24, 2008)
              Allison Shevock, Delaware Division of Public Health

12:00 -  1:00 LUNCH 
PART 2:	Critical Issues for Improving Cluster Response/Investigation

 1:00 -  1:20 Community and Health Department Perception of Cluster Related Information
	      Caron Chess, Rutgers University
 1:20 -  1:30 Discussion
 1:30 -  1:50 Parsing Cluster Activities: Response, Surveillance and Etiology
	      Dan Wartenberg, UMDNJ
 1:50 -  2:00 Discussion
 2:00 -  2:20 Cluster Detection by Active Assessment of Regional or National
              Incidence Data
              Richard McNally, University of Newcastle
 2:20 - 2:30  Discussion 

 2:30 - 3:00  Coffee Break	

 3:00 - 3:20  Using P-Values for Making Cluster Investigation Decision:
              Appropriate Prioritization or Misrepresentation
	      Dan Wartenberg, UMDNJ
 3:20 - 3:30  Discussion

 3:30 - 3:50  A Brief Overview of Geospatial Methods and Software for Cluster Evaluation
	      Eric Roberts, California Department of Health Servces

 3:50 - 4:00  Discussion
 4:00 - 4:20  Replacing Old Paradigms with New Frontiers for Investigation
	      Jane Williams, Exec. Dir., California Coalition Against Toxics
	      Amy Kyle, Univ. of California, Berkeley
 4:20 - 5:00  Discussion

 5:00 - 6:00  Wine and Cheese Reception

 6:00 	      Dinner on your Own (form groups/we'll suggest restaurants) 

Thursday, May 8, 2008

 8:30 -  9:00 Breakfast and Registration

PART 3:  New Developments in Analytic Methodology for Cluster Investigations

 9:00 -  9:30 An Overview of the Most Effective Methods
	      Andrew Lawson, University of South Carolina
 9:30 -  9:40 Discussion

 9:40 - 10:00 Developments in Scan Statistics
              Lan Huang, NCI

10:00 - 10:10 Discussion

10:10 - 10:40 Adjustments for Local Multiplicity with Scan Statistics
              Ron Gangnon, University of Wisconsin

10:40 - 10:50 Discussion

10:50 - 11:10 Coffee Break

11:10 - 11:20 Are Disease Cluster Investigations Biased Towards False Positives?
              The Shape of Things to Come
              Geoff Jacquez, Biomedware
11:20 - 11:40 Discussion

11:40 - 12:20 Methods for Analysing Global Clustering of Disease
              Richard McNally, University of Newcastle

12:20 - 12:30 WRAP UP
	      Dan Wartenberg

12:30 	      ADJOURNMENT and LUNCH

Links to Newspaper Articles


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Document last modified on May 1, 2008.