COST Action CA18218

[Summer School] General concepts of burden of disease

Date & Place

31 July - 2 August, 2024
Ghent, Belgium

About the Summer School


The General Concepts of Burden of Disease summer school introduces the basic concepts of the burden of disease (BOD) concept and the Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) metric. It is aimed at professionals, researchers and students in public health and related fields. The summer school offers a comprehensive understanding of key BOD summary measures of population health. It covers essential concepts and the reasoning behind the two components of the DALY metric, i.e., the Years of Life Lost (YLL) and the Years Lived with Disability (YLD). Participants will gain insights into data prerequisites, applied methodologies, and engage in practical exercises for a hands-on learning experience.


The summer school will be organized in three modules. Each module will include a theoretical and a practical part, including exercises and follow-up discussions. Each module is planned to take place from 9h30 to 16h30 CET, including a lunch break.

  • Module 1 (Introduction to DALYs and YLLs) introduces the basic concept of burden of disease: the DALY and the YLL
  • Module 2 (Introduction to YLDs) focuses on YLD and its main components the disability weights, severity distributions, and comorbidity adjustment
  • Module 3 (DALYs: theory to practice) addresses practical issues related to data, estimations and uncertainties, and, additionally, introduces other summary measures of public health


Time (CET)Module 1
Wednesday 31 July
Module 2
Thursday 1 August
Module 3
Friday 2 August
9h00 Welcome & introductions    
9h30 Welcome & wrapup of previous session Welcome & wrapup of previous session
10h00 Introduction to the burden of disease concept and the DALY metric Disability weights: theory and applications From theory to practice: data, assumptions, uncertainties
11h00 Exercise Exercise Exercise
12h00 Discussion Discussion Discussion
12h30 Lunch break Lunch break Lunch break
13h30 Calculating Years of Life Lost
Calculating Years Lived with Disability Summary measures of population health
15h00 Exercise Exercise Exercise
16h00 Q&A Q&A Q&A
16h30 Closure of module 1 Closure of module 2 Closure of module 3


Robby De Pauw
Robby De Pauw, Sciensano, Belgium

Dr. Robby De Pauw is a senior scientist at Sciensano and post-doctoral researcher in Rehabilitation Sciences at Ghent University. He conducts policy-driven public health research in the domain of composite measures of population health and rehabilitation. Currently, he is working on the Belgian National Burden of Disease Study. Robby holds PhD degrees in Health Sciences, and MSc degrees in Biostatistics and Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Brecht Devleesschauwer
Brecht Devleesschauwer, Sciensano, Belgium

Dr. Brecht Devleesschauwer is a senior epidemiologist at Sciensano (the Belgian institute for health) and visiting professor in Risk Analysis at Ghent University. He conducts policy-driven public health research in the domain of composite measures of population health and health inequalities. As a member of the World Health Organization Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (WHO/FERG), he contributed to the estimation of the global burden of foodborne disease. Currently, he is coordinating the Belgian National Burden of Disease Study, and chairing the European Burden of Disease Network (COST Action CA18218). Brecht holds PhD degrees in Public Health and Veterinary Sciences, and MSc degrees in Biostatistics and Veterinary Medicine.

Juanita Haagsma
Juanita Haagsma, Erasmus MC, the Netherlands

Dr. Juanita Haagsma, PhD in health sciences, works as Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Health at the Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her research focuses mainly on burden of disease estimates of injury and quantifying long-term consequences of injury in particular. For several years, she worked as Assistant Professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, where she was a member of the injuries team of the Global Burden of Disease study. She was responsible for the development and implementation of methods to calculate the global burden of injury. In addition, she has conducted several studies on disability weights, including a large disability weight study that collected responses from more than 30,000 people from four European countries.

Elena Pallari
Elena Pallari, German Medical Institute, Cyprus

Dr. Elena Pallari is Clinical Research Manager at the German Oncology Center in Cyprus. She previously worked for the NHS, University College London and King's College London. She also serves as a Scientific Consultant for different research groups and clients in the United Kingdom and Europe. Elena has studies in Biochemical Engineering, Pharmaceutical Medicine, Quality Management and Business. She has experience in evidence-based curriculum development, psychometric tools set-up, quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and data analysis, systematic literature reviews, and research impact evaluation.

How to participate

Eligibility and prerequisites

The summer school is open to everyone with a basic understanding of epidemiology.

Teaching will be in English. Exercises will require a basic proficiency in MS Excel.


Registrations are closed

More information

For more information on the Summer School, please contact us via .

About COST

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