Measuring the Marigolds: The Epidemiology of Children's Health

Location: Kingston, Ontario: Howard Johnson Hotel

Date: October 15–17, 2003

"Two and two are four
Four and four are eight
Eight and eight are sixteen
Inchworm, Inchworm
Measuring the marigold
You and your arithmetic
You'll probably go far
Measuring the marigold
Seems to me you'd stop and see
How beautiful they are"


  •  To provide a forum for experts and participants to exchange ideas regarding the issues, concerns, challenges and future directions for perinatal and child health.
  • To provide information on child health surveillance systems and programs.
  • To provide a platform for public health professionals to present results of their Early Years Research.
  • To provide an opportunity to those working in public health Epidemiology to showcase their work.
  • To provide networking opportunities for epidemiologists and other public health professionals.   


Click here to see the evaluation of the 2003 conference

Conference Summary

Elizabeth Rolland, Epidemiologist and 2003 Conference Chair, KFL&A Health Unit, Kingston, Ontario
The Association of Public Health Epidemiologists in Ontario (APHEO) 2003 annual conference was entitled "Measuring the Marigolds: The Epidemiology of Children’s Health". The conference was held October 15-17, at the Howard Johnson Hotel in downtown Kingston, Ontario.
The official conference started on Thursday morning with the unfortunate announcement that Jane Bertrand, Executive Director of the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development and our keynote speaker, would not be able to attend. Dr. Ian Gemmill, Medical Officer of Health for the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Health Unit, came to the rescue and presented his talk "Children and Immunization”, which discussed the advantages of expanding the current schedule of childhood immunizations.
Sylvia Dorosh, Project Manager, then presented the latest developments in the Ontario Vital Statistics Improvement Project. After a pointed exchange with the audience on data integrity issues that have resulted from the Ontario government’s policy to charge for birth registrations, she discussed new and emerging technologies currently being designed and tested to improve data quality, including new computer kiosks for free, self-serve birth registration.
Dr. K.S. Joseph, Associate Professor, Dalhousie University, continued the theme of the quality of Ontario vital statistics data. Dr. Joseph gave an eye-opening presentation on the pitfalls and limitations of vital statistics data commonly used in public health. He detailed some of the data quality problems that have led to the exclusion Ontario vital statistics data from national perinatal surveillance reports since 2000.
Other presenters included Dr. Paula Stewart and Jim Bottomley from the Perinatal Partnership Program of Eastern and Southeastern Ontario (PPPESO), who gave an overview of PPPESO’s perinatal database. Health Canada’s Jocelyn Rouleau presented a synopsis of the Canadian Congenital Anomalies Surveillance System (CCASS)
 The afternoon session concluded with an Open Forum and Panel discussion that continued the theme of data quality with more criticism of Ontario vital statistics. Ms. Dorosh acquitted herself well under the pressure.
Thursday night’s dinner was held at historic Fort Henry. It was a theme dinner mimicking the mess dinners of the 19th century, and was punctuated by a rousing rendition of "I’m a Little Teapot” (complete with actions) by conference chair, Elizabeth Rolland. After dinner, many attendees met at the Prince George Hotel for an animated networking session that lasted well into the night.
The excesses of the previous evening were quickly forgotten as Queen’s University’s Dr. Alan King delivered an entertaining presentation of his research with the World Health Organization on youth health attitudes and behaviours. He was followed by Satya Brink, Director of Child, Youth and Social Development Studies at Human Resources Development Canada. Her presentation centered on the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, and covered how past and future data may be of use to public health epidemiologists.
After a short refreshment break, the contributed paper presentation session began. Epidemiologists from across Ontario presented the results of a number of highly collaborative projects that collected primary perinatal and child health data using a variety of innovative strategies.
 The conference ended with Sherri Deamond, the 2003 APHEO President, announcing next year's topic and location. The topic 2004 APHEO Conference will be communicable disease, and it will be held in Niagara Falls, Ontario. See you there!


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Planning Committee

Elizabeth Rolland, Chair

Planning Services Provided by:

Chuck Schouwerwou, ConferSense Planners Inc.