What’s New in Science? (Spring Term)


Course description

What Do Salmon and Injection Drug Users Have in Common? Estimating the Population Size of Greater Victoria’s Injection Drug Users

Laura Cowen, PhD, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Friday, April 21: 12:30 to 1:45 pm

Dr. Laura Cowen is an ecological statistician with degrees in both biology and statistics. In 2015 UVic recognized her overall academic excellence with a Single Year Award. An Associate Professor primarily studying animal demography, she was recruited into UVic’s interdisciplinary Population Research Group. By adapting methods from animal population demography, she collaborated with Dr. Murray Fyfe of the Vancouver Island Health Authority (now Island Health) using results from surveys of Victoria’s injection drug users.  They developed robust quantitative estimates of the number of injection drug users in the Greater Victoria Region. This talk explains how to estimate population size from “elusive populations” when a census cannot be performed and provides results from two studies using Victoria’s I-TRACK data. These results have the potential to impact public policy.

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