COST Action CA18218

[Training School] Risk factors, Health Impact Assessment and Knowledge Translation - 2nd edition

Date & Place

21-23 February 2024
Podgorica, Montenegro


The “Risk factors, Health Impact Assessment and Knowledge Translation” Training School (TS) will introduce the participants to the general ideas and methods from the three fields. It will provide an overview of these concepts for public health professionals as well as researchers from related fields, with practical knowledge on central BoD summary measures of population health, the concept and rationale of the main measures Years of life lost (YLL), Years lived with disability (YLD) and their combined metric the Disability-adjusted life year (DALY). The TS 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 TS will be organized in three modules taking place early 2024. 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 GMT, 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


Registrations are closed

Applicants will be informed about the results of the selection process by end November.

Eligibility and prerequisites

The TS is open to all burden-eu COST members with a basic understanding of epidemiology and burden of disease. The number of participants will be limited to a maximum of 30. Should the number of applications exceed the maximum number of available seats, candidates will be selected based on a) their motivation, b) their career stage – giving priority to Young Researchers and Innovators, and c) gender and geographical balance – favoring representatives from Inclusiveness Target Countries.

Teaching will be in English. Exercises will require a basic proficiency in MS Excel. The workshop will take place under the local prevailing COVID regulations.


Attendance to the TS is free of charge. The European Burden of Disease Network is able to reimburse travel and accomodation of eligible network members. Reimbursement will cover long-distance travel (up to 1500 EUR) and a per diem flat rate of 100 EUR per day, for a maximum of 4 days. Detailed reimbursement rules are available via and in the COST Annotated Rules.


Time (CET)Module 1
Wednesday 21 February
Module 2
Thursday 22 February
Module 3
Friday 23 February
9h00 Welcome & introductions    
9h30 Welcome & wrapup of previous session Welcome & wrapup of previous session

Recap of burden of disease basics

Introduction to comparative risk assessment

Introduction to health impact assessment

Quantitative health impact assessment

Introduction to 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
    Group dinner  



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

Vanessa Gorasso is a scientist at Sciensano (the Belgian institute for health). She has a background in (health) economics and is about to achieve a PhD in public health. She is currently working on the Belgian National Burden of Disease project, with a specific focus on risk factors and cost-of-illness. She is also working package leader in the BEST-COST project which looks at the burden of environmental stressors on the population. She has experience in health modelling and impact assessments.

Henk Hilderink, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, the Netherlands

Dr. H.B.M. (Henk) Hilderink is Senior Scientific Advisor Population Health Foresight at the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment). He studied Mathematics and obtained his PhD in Demography. He has been working at RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment since 2014 and was project leader of two Public Health Status and Foresight Studies which included Burden of Disease (BoD) estimates and projections for the Netherlands. Before that, he worked on various national, European and global projects, such as the Sustainability Outlook, OECD Environmental Outlook and the UNEP Global Environmental Outlook, where he contributed with the modelling of demography and population health.

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, 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.

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