COST Action CA18218

[Summer School] Burden of risk factors

Date & Place

7-9 August, 2024
Ghent, Belgium

About the summer school


The Burden of Risk Factors summer school introduces the general concepts of risk factor burden assessment, health impact assessment, and knowledge translation. It is aimed at professionals, researchers and students in public health and related fields. The summer school will guide the participants through the consecutive steps starting with a comparative risk assessment for risk factors, the initiation of a health impact assessment and the translation of the knowledge for relevant stakeholders.


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 (Risk Factors) will shortly introduce the basic idea of burden of disease and will provide an detailed introduction to the comparative risk assessment
  • Module 2 (Health Impact Assessment) focuses on the steps in doing a HIA by assessing potential health effects in terms of Burden of Disease of different policies
  • Module 3 (Knowledge translation) addresses the general concepts of knowledge translation and how to apply them to various aspects of doing a burden of disease study


Time (CET)Module 1
Wednesday 7/8
Module 2
Thursday 8/8
Module 3
Friday 9/8
9h00 Welcome & introductions    
9h30 Welcome & wrapup of previous session Welcome & wrapup of previous session
10h00 Recap of Burden of Disease basics
Introduction of the Comparative Risk Assessment
Introduction to Health Impact Assessment
HIA methodology: general overview of different stages
Methods for characterizing health impacts
Introduction of knowledge translation
Practical steps for doing KT regarding BoD
12h00 Q&A Q&A Q&A
12h30 Lunch break Lunch break Lunch break
13h30 Practical steps for estimating the attributable burden: examples and exercises Exercises Exercises
16h00 Q&A Q&A Q&A
16h30 Closure of module 1 Closure of module 2 Closure of module 3



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.

Vanessa Gorasso, Sciensano, Belgium

Dr. Vanessa Gorasso is senior scientist at Sciensano, the Belgian institute for health, and vice-president of the EUPHA Section on public health economics.

Dietrich Plass
Dietrich Plass, German Environment Agency, Germany

Dr. Dietrich Plass holds a PhD and MSc in Public Health and a BSc in Health Communication. He is currently working as a senior researcher and is deputy head of the department “Exposure Assessment and Environmental Health Indicators” at the German Environment Agency. There he is responsible for national assessments of population health effects due to different environmental exposures with major focus on ambient air pollution. He is an expert in the field of burden of disease and environmental burden of disease assessments as well as in the field of environmental epidemiology. Prior to joining the German Environment Agency he worked as a senior researcher and lecturer at Bielefeld University in the working group "Public Health Medicine" with focus on infectious disease epidemiology, population health and burden of disease. Dr. Plass is collaborator in the Global Burden of Disease Study, member of the WHO European Region "European Burden of Disease Network" and chair of the working group "risk factors" in the COST Action "European Burden of Disease Network".

Elena von der Lippe
Elena von der Lippe, Robert Koch Institute, Germany

Dr. Elena von der Lippe is a scientific researcher at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin, Germany. She studied statistics and obtained her PhD in Demography. She has been working in RKI since 2008 in the Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring. She has worked on the conception, organization, quality assessment and analysis of different epidemiological studies conducted at RKI. Since 2015 she is involved in Burden of Disease assessments and is the methodological leader of the Germany BURDEN2020 Project.

How to participate

Eligibility and prerequisites

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

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


The number of participants will be limited to a maximum of 30. Applicants will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registrations are open until 1 July 2024.

Click here to register

More information

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


About COST

COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks. COST Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and enable scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts their research, career and innovation. Read more via

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