The Small Area Health statistics Unit (SAHSU) celebrated its 25th Anniversary at a major Symposium, Frontiers in Spatial Epidemiology, on the 5th and 6th November 2012, hosted by the MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health.
The symposium was held in the spectacular setting of the world-famous Natural History Museum, London. It brought together over 200 researchers, from 29 countries, to present and explore the latest advances in the field.
The meeting was opened by the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, who highlighted the importance of spatial analysis in UK medical and public health research. The meeting also featured a “State of the Art” lecture by Emeritus Professor David Briggs, a former SAHSU member. He was the first advocate of the use of regression techniques to model air pollution exposure, which are now used in studies of health effects of air pollution worldwide. His talk addressed the importance of environmental exposure assessment in epidemiological studies.
Five speaker sessions featured nineteen experts from some of the world’s top research centres, with talks on the latest techniques in spatial epidemiological, exposure and statistical methodology and data visualisation. The meeting concluded with a thought-provoking session on the use of spatial data to influence policy makers and the public. Presentations covered topics as diverse as the use of 3D effects in data display, the concept of a microlife to help in risk communication, the use of satellite data to estimate population air pollution exposure, how sea-level rises as a result of climate change increases salt in drinking water in some developing countries and may result in higher cardiovascular disease risk, and a discussion of SAHSU’s forthcoming Environment and Health Atlas.
The symposium also ran an extensive poster presentation, featuring 50 posters related to spatial epidemiology research. This event, held in the spectacular Earth Gallery, further underlined the international scope of the meeting.
The event celebrated both the first 25 years of SAHSU, and the great advances made in the field of spatial epidemiology over that time, as well as looking ahead to advances in the field and the direction of spatial epidemiology over the next 25 years. SAHSU would like to thank all the participants, speakers and organisers for making the meeting such a success.