Voices in Health: January 21, 2021, 10:30-12:00 PST


Title: Data Science and Population Health Research
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Time: 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM PST
Location: Connect via Zoom here

The School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) welcome and invite those interested in the event to attend virtually.


In this talk Professor Ronan Lyons will present on the tremendous opportunities for population health research that are now possible due to three exciting developments:

1) The phenomenal growth in personal electronic data captured through many sources

2) Developments in privacy protecting data linkage methodologies and associated trusted research environments

3) The rapid growth of interdisciplinary collaborative science.

The necessity of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the volume, variety and velocity of data available to the research community and shown how much can be achieved in a very short period of time.

Professor Lyons will use a series of data linkage projects and case studies, principally using the Welsh Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) system but also from other sources, to demonstrate these points and highlight further data science developments that could substantially impact the quality and quantity of observational and interventional population health research.


Dr. Ronan Lyons

Dr. Ronan Lyons is Clinical Professor of Public Health at Swansea University, Honorary Consultant in Public Health with Public Health Wales NHS Trust in the UK and an Adjunct Professor at Monash University, Australia.

The focus of Dr. Lyons’ research is the use of routine data in cohorts, trials and in the evaluation of natural experiments and complex interventions.

He led the development of a number of total population electronic cohorts as platforms for the evaluation of interventions and policies across the life course, utilising the SAIL Databank, which he also created and co-directs.

One of his main current roles is Research Director for Health Data Research UK (HDRUK) and national lead for the Improving Public Health scientific programme.

Responding to the COVID-19 crisis, his team was seconded to work for the Welsh Government’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group, leading on data linkage insights into the evolution of the pandemic in Wales and the effectiveness of counter measures.

He is also PI of the MRC funded award: Controlling COVID-19 through enhanced population surveillance and intervention (Con-COV): a platform approach, which is a collaboration between academia, the NHS and Welsh Government.



Dr. Kimberlyn McGrail

Dr. Kimberlyn McGrail is a Professor in the UBC School of Population and Public Health and Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, Director of Research for UBC Health, and Scientific Director of Population Data BC and Health Data Research Network Canada. Her research interests are quantitative policy evaluation and all aspects of population data science. Kim is Deputy Editor of the International Journal of Population Data Science, the 2009-10 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Associate in Health Care Policy and Practice, 2016 recipient of the Cortlandt JG Mackenzie Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 2017 recipient of a UBC award for Excellence in Clinical or Applied Research, and in 2019-2020 participated as a member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Task Force on AI4Health. She holds a PhD in Health Care and Epidemiology from the University of British Columbia, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan.




Further questions about the event, please contact voices.in.health@spph.ubc.ca


Voices in Health: Future Events – Stay Tuned

The School of Population and Public Health is thrilled to announce a monthly speaker series for the 20/21 academic year called Voices in Health, featuring renowned public and global health experts.

Admission is free to faculty, students and staff.

All events will be held virtually now. Below are the upcoming sessions.

January 21, 2021: Dr. Ronan Lyons, Swansea University

February 25, 2021: Andreas Laupacis, Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)

March: Nelly Oelke, University of British Columbia, Okanagan (UBC-O)

April: TBD






Past Events & Recordings

September 24, 2020 | Pandemic Emergency Financing Response: Notes from the World Bank Youtube Video

June 18, 2020 | The Disease Burden of Mental Illness and Substance Use in North America: Comparing Canada, the United States, and Mexico Youtube Video

May 26, 2020 | Climate Change and Health Impacts and Responses Youtube Video

April 16, 2020 | Spiritual health in times of crisis: Integrating traditional medicine with the scientific method in Indigenous communities Youtube Video

March 11, 2020 | COVID-19: Contextualizing the Scientific, Political, Societal and Economic ImpactYoutube Video

February 13, 2020 | Indigenous Sovereignty is Sustainability: Public Health, Biodiversity, and Climate Change – Youtube Video

January 20, 2020 | Why Do We Need a Life Course Approach to Address the Cardiovascular Disease Burden Worldwide? – Video Link

September 30, 2019 | Public Health, Law and Climate Change – Legal Approaches to Protecting Children’s Health in a Warming WorldYoutube Video

October 25, 2019 | Including Equity in Global Health Priority SettingYoutube Video

November 18, 2019 | Developing Canada’s new Food Guide and the Healthy Eating StrategyYoutube Video

December 9, 2019 | HIV and TB Implementation Science: Learning from UgandaYoutube Video