Begun in 1968 as a joint effort of the Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Harvard Schools of Public Health, the Society for Epidemiologic Research (SER) is the oldest and largest organization of epidemiologists in the world. A primary objective of the SER is to encourage and foster the professional development of students of epidemiology and young investigators. One way of meeting this objective was felt to be to provide a forum in which doctoral-level students working on theses that utilize various types of epidemiologic studies, in a number of different substantive areas, using a range of epidemiologic methods, could interact with other graduate students and senior epidemiologists. This has been accomplished by conducting a one-day in-depth Student Workshop for 12 students on the day prior to the SER annual scientific meeting in June of each year. The workshop, which first took place in 1977, has been conducted continuously for 30 years. Its purpose is to provide students with an opportunity to have their thesis work reviewed, critiqued, and discussed in a supportive and constructive atmosphere by highly respected senior epidemiologists and faculty who are productive researchers in the "real world" and who have a variety of epidemiologic, clinical, and methodological expertise. Students enrolled in a formal degree program in epidemiology who are working on any phase of their dissertation, from design to analysis, are eligible to participate in this workshop.
This workshop is funded by a National Cancer Institute Education Grant.
The Student Workshop has been held every year since 1977 on the day prior to the beginning of the annual SER meeting. It is chaired each year by the President-Elect of SER, with a co-Chair specifically chosen by the Chair for his or her known cancer expertise, as well as experience in epidemiology or another area relevant to cancer epidemiology, such as genetics or policy. As part of the grant, the participants in the workshop also receive free registration for the SER meeting, which they might not otherwise be financially able to attend.
"This year’s annual SER Student Dissertation Workshop was held on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at the Le Centre Sheraton, in Montreal, Canada, just prior to the opening of the 3rd North American Congress of Epidemiology. For this year’s workshop, we received 55 applications and had the difficult challenge of selecting 12 proposals for detailed discussion in Montreal. To assist with selection, as well as the workshop itself, we recruited four outstanding faculty members (three epidemiologists and one biostatistician) who collectively had expertise and experience in virtually every major area of the field. These faculty members reviewed the proposals and helped make final selections.The workshop began with a light dinner reception and presentation on the evening of June 20. This informal “meet-and-greet” helped everyone get to know each other better, thus facilitating the work ahead. The day of the workshop was action-packed for students and faculty. Proposals were assigned to one primary and one secondary faculty member, so each proposal was discussed extensively, offering the opportunity for students to learn in a positive, constructive environment. The workshop was viewed by all as a productive and enjoyable experience, allowing for an open exchange of ideas in a collegial and supportive context. Evaluations from students indicated that all would definitely recommend this workshop to other students."
---Polly Marchbanks, 2011 Workshop Chair and SER President.