I am an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Occupational Health at McGill University. I am also a member of the McGill University Centre on Population Dynamics and McGill’s Public Policy and Population Health Observatory. I also hold an endowed chair of Impact of Health and Social Policy on Health Inequalities at Erasmus University Medical Center.
My research focuses on understanding population health and its social distribution, with specific interests in impact evaluation, measuring health inequalities, global health, demography, causal inference, and ethical issues in public health.
More information on specific projects, papers, students, and teaching are in my CV.
PhD in Epidemiologic Science, 2005
University of Michigan
MSPH in Epidemiology, 1999
University of South Carolina
BA in Biology, 1995
Health and air pollution impacts of household energy transitions
Evaluating a reproductive, maternal and newborn health intervention in Tanzania
BACKGROUND: Antenatal corticosteroids reduce respiratory morbidity in preterm infants, but their use during late preterm gestation (34-36 weeks) is limited because their safety for longer-term child neurodevelopment is unclear. We sought to determine if fetuses with higher probability of exposure to antenatal corticosteroids had increased rates of prescriptions for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication in childhood, using a quasiexperimental design that better controls for confounding than existing observational studies. METHODS: We identified 16 358 children whose birthing parents were admitted for delivery between 31 + 0 (31 weeks, 0 days) and 36 + 6 weeks' gestation in 2000-2013, using a perinatal data registry from British Columbia, Canada, and linked their records with population-based child ADHD medication data (2000-2018). We used a regression discontinuity design to capitalize on the fact that pregnancies presenting for delivery immediately before and immediately after the clinical cut-off for antenatal corticosteroid administration of 34 + 0 weeks' gestation have very different levels of exposure to corticosteroids, but are otherwise similar with respect to confounders. RESULTS: Over a median follow-up period of 9 years, 892 (5.5%) children had 1 or more dispensations of ADHD medication. Children whose birthing parents were admitted for delivery just before the corticosteroid clinical cut-off of 34 + 0 weeks' gestation did not appear to be more likely to be prescribed ADHD medication than those admitted just after the cut-off (rate ratio 1.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.8 to 1.6; 1.3 excess cases per 100 children, 95% CI -2.5 to 5.7). INTERPRETATION: We found little evidence that children with higher probability of exposure to antenatal corticosteroids have higher rates of ADHD prescriptions in childhood, supporting the safety of antenatal corticosteroids for this neurodevelopmental outcome.
In recent years, life expectancy in the United States has stagnated, followed by three consecutive years of decline. The decline is small in absolute terms but is unprecedented and has generated considerable research interest and theorizing about potential causes. Recent trends show that the decline has affected nearly all race/ethnic and gender groups, and the proximate causes of the decline are increases in opioid overdose deaths, suicide, homicide, and Alzheimer’s disease. A slowdown in the long-term decline in mortality from cardiovascular diseases has also prevented life expectancy from improving further. Although a popular explanation for the decline is the cumulative decline in living standards across generations, recent trends suggest that distinct mechanisms for specific causes of death are more plausible explanations. Interventions to stem the increase in overdose deaths, reduce access to mechanisms that contribute to violent deaths, and decrease cardiovascular risk over the life course are urgently needed to improve mortality in the United States.
BACKGROUND: Cannabis use has been linked to impaired driving and fatal accidents. Prior evidence suggests the potential for population-wide effects of the annual cannabis celebration on April 20th (‘4/20’), but evidence to date is limited. METHODS: We used data from the Fatal Analysis Reporting System for the years 1975-2016 to estimate the impact of ‘4/20’ on drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes occurring between 16:20 and 23:59 hours in the USA. We compared the effects of 4/20 with those for other major holidays, and evaluated whether the impact of ‘4/20’ had changed in recent years. RESULTS: Between 1992 and 2016, ‘4/20’ was associated with an increase in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes (IRR 1.12, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.28) relative to control days 1 week before and after, but not when compared with control days 1 and 2 weeks before and after (IRR 1.05, 95% CI 0.92 to 1.28) or all other days of the year (IRR 0.98, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.10). Across all years we found little evidence to distinguish excess drivers involved in fatal crashes on 4/20 from routine daily variations. CONCLUSIONS: There is little evidence to suggest population-wide effects of the annual cannabis holiday on the number of drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes.