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Computer simulation models are opening up significant new possibilities for quantitative analysis in the area of health. This presentation briefly reviews two examples at opposite ends of the complexity spectrum—the two short stories—and then goes into more detail for a third example—the tale. The first, a theoretical model, seeks to understand key factors accounting for observed patterns of health inequality, especially in Canada and the US. The second briefly introduces one of the applied cancer control policy models being developed under the auspices of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, specifically HPV and cervical cancer. The third and longer tale describes HealthPaths, a computer model based on the longitudinal National Population Health Survey, which is designed to estimate, in a multifactorial framework, the relative quantitative importance of various behavioural and social factors on Canadians' health-adjusted life expectancy. Perhaps surprisingly, obesity is the least important of the factors examined.
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Presenter: Dr. Michael Wolfson
Dr. Michael Wolfson holds a bachelor of science from the University of Toronto in mathematics, computer science, and economics and a doctorate in economics from Cambridge. Currently, he sits as the Canada Research Chair in Population Health Modelling/Populomics in Medicine at the University of Ottawa, after serving as assistant chief statistician, Analysis and Development, Statistics Canada, and earlier positions in the Department of Finance, Privy Council Office, House of Commons, and Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. He was also a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Program in Population Health from 1988 to 2003.
Dr. Wolfson’s areas of expertise include program review and evaluation, tax/transfer policy, pension policy, income distribution, design of health information systems, microsimulation modelling of socioeconomic policy and health dynamics, and analysis of the determinants of health.
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