Sunday 26th of August. We are in the heart of downtown Ottawa,
Organizers received 1800 general abstract submissions and 400 symposium abstractsthe Canadian capital city. Hundreds of scientists and practitioners from academia, government, industry, and non-governmental organizations start gathering in the 11th edition of the ISES-ISEE 2018 Joint Annual Meeting, the Mecca of experts in exposure science and environmental epidemiology.
The International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) and the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) meetings are normally organized separately. Joints meetings are less frequent. Indeed, since the first joint meeting in 1992 in Mexico, this has been the longest wait since the last joint meeting 5 years ago in Basel. Hence, not surprisingly, the excitement was breathable in the welcoming hall.
Under the theme of “Addressing Complex Local and Global Issues in Environmental Exposure and Health”,
Within abstracts accepted for an oral presentation, 34 were from 16 ISGlobal researchersorganizers received 1800 general abstract submissions and 400 symposium abstracts. Within abstracts accepted for an oral presentation, 34 were from 16 ISGlobal researchers, representing all the research programmes of the ISGlobal Non-Communicable Diseases & Environment branch.
ISGlobal was also present among award recipients. Mark Nieuwenhuijsen,
Mark Nieuwenhuijsen the awardee of the 2018 ISEE John Goldsmith Award, considered the Nobel Prize among environmental epidemiologiststhe Director of the Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative at ISGlobal, was the awardee of the 2018 ISEE John Goldsmith Award, considered the Nobel Prize among environmental epidemiologists. His keynote speech was particularly touching for all people who have closely worked with him. He had a word for all his past and current team members and most relevant projects and collaborators. Ideally, he would like to cut the diploma in pieces (only he knows how many) and give them to all those people who make his work easier and happier.
It was also exciting that three other awardees
Lot of sessions were about the effects of natural environments, temperature, noise, and indoor and outdoor air qualitywere very familiar faces for ISGlobal Campus Mar. Rémy Slama, Haneen Khreis and Keren Agay-Shay received respectively the ISEE Tony McMichael Mid-Career Award, the ISEE Rebecca James Baker Memorial Award and the ISEE Student & New Researcher Award. From here, congrats to all!
It’s been 5 intense days.
Exposure science and environmental epidemiology are dynamic fields moving towards the study of multiple exposures at a timeStarting with some jet lag. It’s paradoxical that you are saturated after a full day of sessions, but at the same time, you wish to have superpowers and being at two simultaneous sessions. One had to choose from 13 simultaneous sessions several times per day covering very interesting topics, talks and speakers. Topics were quite balanced and a lot of sessions were about the effects of natural environments, temperature, noise, and indoor and outdoor air quality. This edition was also covering issues about environmental justice, women's health, social determinants of health, and the effects of climate change on indigenous communities.
Exposure science and environmental epidemiology are dynamic fields moving towards the study of multiple exposures at a time and complex mixtures of pollutants. And as Beate Ritz said (the current ISEE president), both fields should get married. There is also growing interest among both societies in putting more effort in knowledge translation and citizen science as ways of stimulating appropriate regulations and policies and raise awareness.
Of course, there are also some non-academic take-home messages. Those that you learn from informal hallway chats and own reflections: 1) There was more presence of women, starting from the two society presidents, meeting co-chairs and award winners. 2) The need to create at least five new contacts in each conference to expand your network. 3) The need to force yourself to ask at least one question per day during sessions. We all appreciate the feedback. 4) Stop and say hi to poster presenters. You can always learn something or meet someone new.
It’s difficult to evaluate a conference individually
Create at least five new contacts in each conference to expand your networkbecause every attendee has different preconference motivations and expectations. Catching up with colleagues and socialize while enjoying appetizers and drinks, networking to look for collaborations and job opportunities, exposing your work to junior and senior peers to be constructively criticized or all of these at once.
But whatever the main reason is, attending such an international conference always stimulates your brain in a positive way and helps to look at your own research from an outsider’s perspective. For me, it has been the last fresh air before restarting my PhD work after the summer break. Although, lucky me, I have still one more week to explore the breathtaking Canadian landscapes. Hope to have the opportunity to attend next ISEE upcoming meetings in Utrecht, Washington, Beijing, and Athens and explore these cities too!