In June 2011, the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics presented two biennial awards at the 3rd North American Congress of Epidemiology to deserving members of the CSEB community: The Geoffrey R. Howe Distinguished Contributions Award and the CSEB Distinguished Service Award.

The Geoffrey R. Howe Distinguished Contributions
Award Winner – Dr. Jack Siemiatycki

Dr Jack Siemiatycki Université de Montréal The Geoffrey R. Howe Distinguished Contributions Award was created in recognition of the many significant contributions of Dr. Geoffrey R. Howe to the field of epidemiology and biostatistics. As exemplified by Dr. Howe, the purpose of this award is to recognize the sustained and outstanding contributions of individuals dedicated to fostering epidemiological and/or biostatistical research and/or practice.

Presentation of the award winner, by Dr. Marie-Élise Parent, on behalf of the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics:

I am honoured to present the winner of the Geoffrey R. Howe Distinguished Contributions Award, Dr. Jack Siemiatycki. I have had the good fortune to work closely with him over the last 15 years, first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a colleague and collaborator. I can think of no better recipient for this award.Jack has made impressive contributions to the advancement of the field of epidemiology and biostatistics. His career as a cancer epidemiologist is anchored in Canada, but his scientific contributions easily reach the rest of the world. His sustained scientific leadership relates not only to field of the occupational and environmental causes of cancer, but also more generally to cancer aetiology.Over the last 30 years, Jack Siemiatycki has primarily dedicated his research efforts to the identification of the preventable causes of cancer. Perhaps one of his most significant contributions relates to his pioneering and implementation, back in the early 1980s, of an entirely novel approach to assess exposure to environmental chemicals. Using the workplace as a window, he developed a methodological approach enabling the assessment of past exposure to occupational chemicals. This expert-based exposure assessment method is often referred to as the “Siemiatycki approach” and is now widely recognized as the reference method for population-based studies. Findings generated from numerous studies around the world have used this method to identify occupational risk factors for cancer, thereby contributing to the foundation for establishing preventative strategies. In addition to his important methodological contributions, Dr. Siemiatycki’s research has generated a wealth of data concerning potential associations between several types of cancer and hundreds of different occupational exposures. Though these results are fairly recent, they have already made valuable contributions to evaluations conducted by the expert working groups of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In fact, his are probably the most cited epidemiologic studies by the IARC expert groups. Results generated by Dr. Siemiatycki’s work have contributed directly to the prevention of cancer in the population, and this is one of the many reasons why I am so thrilled that he has been recognized with this award. As one would expect given his wealth of experience and knowledge, Jack Siemiatycki is regularly called upon to contribute his expertise by chairing or participating in scientific and governing committees both at the national and international levels. He has held several prestigious appointments, including, among others, serving as a member of the Scientific Council at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (World Health Organization), as well as a member of the Joint Consultative Committee of the National Occupational Research Agenda for the US National Cancer Institute and US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. In addition, he has been at the heart of the promotion of epidemiological and biostatistics research in Canada. Indeed, between 1997 and 1999, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and then became the Society’s President from 2001 to 2003. Moreover, he was co-president of the Organizing Committee of the joint SER-CSEB meeting in 2005. This is just one more reason that he is such a worthy recipient of this award. Despite what one would infer from looking at his impressive CV, Jack has found time for lighter yet no less worthy activities. He proudly boasts his publication of four children’s books, and his friends often praise his athletic achievements. His competitive nature on the tennis court and hockey rink is a well-known source of amusement for those who have been fortunate enough to witness it. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Jack Siemiatycki.

The CSEB Distinguished Service
Award Winner – Dr. Colin L. Soskolne

Dr. Colin L. Soskolne University of Alberta The CSEB has a long-standing history of committed individuals dedicated to moving the vision of the Society forward. The CSEB Distinguished Service Award is intended to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the Society.

Presentation of the award winner, by Dr. Christine Friedenreich, on behalf of the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics:

It gives me great pleasure to present the winner of the CSEB Distinguished Service Award, Dr. Colin Soskolne, President of the CSEB since June, 2007. Dr. Soskolne is also a Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health at the University of Alberta where he has been since 1985. Dr Soskolne has many meritorious academic and scientific achievements in the fields of occupational and environmental epidemiology, cancer epidemiology, ethics in epidemiology and other areas of public health. However, it is his service to the fields of epidemiology and biostatistics in Canada that are being particularly recognized through this award.Dr. Soskolne has a long history with the CSEB as he was one of the founding members of the Society when it was first established in 1990. He was amongst leading epidemiologists in Canada including Dr. Geoffrey Howe, Dr. Robert Spasoff, Prof. Richard Gallagher, Dr. Jack Siemiatycki, and Dr. Loraine Marrett who assembled a group of interested and motivated epidemiologists and biostatisticians from across Canada in Ottawa to establish the CSEB. There was a recognized need at that time, which still exists today, to support, nurture, promote and develop more capacity for epidemiology and biostatistics in Canada. This Society would bring together students and established scientists in these fields in biennial conferences, workshops and other activities and, in so doing, would provide a voice for these fields that was distinct from other professional organizations for epidemiology.Dr. Soskolne wholeheartedly endorsed the premise for the CSEB and volunteered to organize and host the first ever CSEB Conference that was held in Edmonton in 1991. To the CSEB Conference, he brought the enthusiasm, energy and experience he had gained from his years of service to other epidemiology societies. This first conference was a great success and helped solidify the basis for the CSEB. Dr. Soskolne participated in the CSEB in numerous capacities over the ensuing 16 years and in 2007 when he was approached by Dr. Yang Mao, outgoing President for the CSEB, to serve as the new President for the Society, he selflessly agreed to assume this role. Colin quickly assessed the state of the CSEB at that time and recognized the need to change the operations and governance of the Society in order to allow it to grow and have more impact and relevance for epidemiologists and biostatisticians in Canada. What followed was a true “renaissance” or “rebirth” of the Society. Within weeks of assuming the role of President, he was surveying current and past members to determine how the CSEB could better suit their needs. He also strongly recommended that an external secretariat be hired to manage the operations and business of the CSEB which resulted in the engagement of the Willow Group of Ottawa to run the affairs of the Society. Colin understood that the governance model of the CSEB needed to be completely renewed and expanded which led to a new Board structure with more effective committees and much greater activities, impact and output from the Board. Under Colin’s presidency there were several new initiatives such as improved communications with the membership, including an electronic bulletin, listserv, newsletter; more educational opportunities through the initiation of workshops; increased advocacy on issues such as the long form Census; more international collaboration with other epidemiology societies and more concerted membership drives. He ably, competently and thoughtfully led the CSEB to its current status and now leaves the position of President to become Past President. The Society is now in the strongest and most viable position that it has been since inception. Several new members have joined the Board and they will all benefit from the very able leadership, vision, dedication, integrity and personal commitment that Colin has put into this Society. All Canadian epidemiologists and biostatisticians can be grateful for the effort and energy that he has devoted to this Society. With this award, we thank him for his many contributions to the CSEB, and recognize and honour him for his many years of service. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Colin Soskolne.