Models and Methods in Ecology and Epidemiology

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February 13-15, 2013 - CRM, Montréal
Jacques Bélair (Montréal), Jianhong Wu (York)

In epidemiology and ecology, models are typically developed along one of two directions: directly from available data, incorporating as much empirical records as possible, or conceptually as dynamical systems, incorporating data via estimation of parameters. The means of investigation for these model classes are quite distinct, and an important methodological problem is the reconciliation of a priori method-independent issues when they are described in different terms.

The two main objectives of this workshop are to i. start the interactions for the Thematic Year, by breaking community/network barriers between the practitioners of different modeling techniques and approaches, and ii. follow up on activities held at the CRM on related topics in the recent past (Statistical Methods for Modeling Dynamic Systems, March 2007, Statistical Methods for Geographic and Spatial Data in the Management of Natural Resources, March 2010). We have identified speakers from broad horizons, at both ends of the data-content spectrum, with highly variable statistical motivations, ranging from probabilistic-type estimation of parameters in dynamic models to fundamental problems in real data-oriented work in epidemiology. An effort has been made to gather a significant number of (but not all) geographically close participants, or participants with local established collaborations, so that follow up activities are expected to emerge from this and subsequent workshops, and invite selected prominent participants of the other planned workshops of the year as well, to insure that the modeling techniques to be addressed during the activities throughout the year (during the Workshops and Summer Schools) will be presented at this workshop. A non-exclusive emphasis has been put on zoonotic diseases, given the concentrated expertise at Université de Montréal, through the Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, and the significance and novelty of the problems they entail.

The sessions of this three-day workshop will group the different technical approaches in modeling: dynamical systems with parameter estimation including variability, empirical models (mainly based on geographical information systems) of zoonotic diseases, and methodological issues in surveillance and data incorporation in epidemiological models.