Occupation- and industry-specific modules ask detailed questions about work activities and exposures, and are often incorporated into population-based case-control studies. Utilizing these modules enables investigators to better capture within-occupation differences in exposure. Usually these module responses are reviewed job-by-job by an exposure assessor to assign exposure estimates. DCEG investigators develop methods to more efficiently and transparently assign exposure in studies that use modules and examine the validity and reliability of these methods.
For example, programmable decision rules based on questionnaire response patterns were developed to estimate occupational diesel exhaust exposure for the New England Bladder Cancer Study that had moderately-high agreement with estimates obtained from expert reviews of each job (Occ Environ Med 2012; Ann Occup Hyg 2011). DCEG investigators have also developed a method to extract patterns in the questionnaire responses that predict an expert’s exposure assignments using classification and regression tree (CART) models (Occ Environ Med 2013). The extracted decision rules can be used to improve the transparency and efficiency of applying the exposure decisions to other study subjects.
For more information, contact Melissa Friesen, Ph.D.