Foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak investigations

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Foodborne diseases are a serious public health issue causing 600 million illnesses per year and resulting in 33 million healthy life years lost, which is similar to the burden of malaria and tuberculous. This course will discuss foodborne disease surveillance and outbreak investigations, including the etiology of foodborne diseases, case definitions, epidemiological investigation methods and assessing ongoing risks.

Course Objectives

  • Learn concepts, key skills, and steps for environmental assessments of various food production/distribution and service industries implicated in an outbreak
  • Practice applying environmental assessment skills in multiple outbreak scenarios

About the Instructor

Barbara Buck Kowalcyk, Ph.D

Barbara Kowalcyk, Ph.D., is faculty at The Ohio State University in the Department of Food Science and Technology and director of the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention. She is also affiliated with Ohio State’s Translational Data Analytics Institute, Global One Health initiative, and College of Public Health. An expert in food safety with experience and training in epidemiology, biostatistics, risk analysis, and public policy, Kowalcyk works to advance more systems-based approaches to food safety that promote evidence-based decision-making from farm to fork to physician; and considers the connectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. Dr. Kowalcyk has served on several national committees, including two National Academy of Sciences committees and her current appointment to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Science Board. In addition to her extensive experience in food safety, Dr. Kowalcyk has more than 10 years of experience as a biostatistician conducting clinical research and providing support to data safety monitoring boards in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Kowalcyk’s research interests include linking public health information with data from across the food system to enhance the understanding of foodborne disease epidemiology, supporting the development of evidence-informed policies and practices that prevent foodborne illness, and changing behaviors around food safety across the food system.

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