I earned an honours degree in Bio-Resource Engineering from UBC in April 2000 with the intention of focusing on my career on engineering applications for the developing world. By the summer of 2001 I had changed my mind, and I took a data analysis job in what was then the UBC School of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. After working in this fascinating field for a few years I decided to pursue a PhD in environmental epidemiology, under the supervision of Drs. Michael Brauer and Susan Kennedy. The objective of my thesis was to evaluate population exposure to forest fire smoke and its health impacts during the devastating BC forest fire season of 2003 (https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/13751). After graduation in 2009 I moved to Tasmania to conduct post-doctoral research on the Australian and global health impacts of forest fire smoke. I was recruited by Dr. Kosatsky at the BC Centre for Disease Control prior to leaving for Australia, and I started my position with Environmental Health Services in the summer of 2010. In March of 2013 I was promoted to Senior Scientist and appointed the rank of Assistant Professor through a partnership between SPPH and the BCCDC.
Over the past 12 years I have developed and applied wide technical expertise in the use and management of data from environmental monitoring networks, geographic information systems, complex physical models, remote sensing platforms, and administrative health databases. Over the past 3 years I have gained complementary experience in public health surveillance, stakeholder engagement, policy development, research fundraising, project management, and personnel supervision. Over the next 5 years I expect to focus more research on the non-urban populations of British Columbia, where environmental exposures are quite different from those experienced by our urban populations. These include industrial pollution, forest fire smoke, residential wood smoke, radon gas, extreme cold temperatures, and drinking water from small distribution systems.
- Kathryn Morrison (co-supervisor), PhD student, McGill University (http://surveillance.mcgill.ca/people_list.php?category=student)
- Michael Branion-Calles (co-supervisor), MSc student, UVic (http://www.geog.uvic.ca/spar/people.html)
- Derrick Ho (committee member), PhD student, SFU (http://www.sfu.ca/remote-sensing/People/hung_chak_ho.html)
I am an environmental engineer turned environmental epidemiologist. The engineering part is important because I will always be a problem-solver at heart. I get excited about population-based analyses that combine novel exposure assessment tools with administrative health data. My constant objective is to conduct practical, high-quality research in support of strong environmental health policy in British Columbia and elsewhere. I strive for excellence and integrity in everything I undertake. My skill set is highly quantitative, and my role at the BC Centre for Disease Control gives me the opportunity to work on a wide range of environmental health problems relevant to the BC population, including:
- · Evaluation of difference between regional trends in temperature-related mortality
- · Surveillance and assessment of heat-related mortality in the Lower Mainland
- · Use of remote sensing data for temperature and air pollution exposure assessment
- · Use of physical and empirical models for exposure assessment
- · Surveillance and assessment of health impacts associated with forest fire smoke exposure
- · Study of industrial air emissions and their impacts on the respiratory health of young children
- · Radon exposure mapping and surveillance of radon-related lung cancer
- · Evaluation of population health benefits associated with membrane filtration of municipal drinking water
- · Optimization of food control sampling practices
- · Development of new surveillance methods across all areas of environmental health
I hope to recruit 1-2 students per year over the next three years. Please be in touch if you have strong analytic skills (including proficiency in R, SAS, Python, or some other programming language) and you are interested in doing practical, applied research in environmental health.