05JW – Causation: Differering Views of Epidemiology and the Legal System

Status: Available
Faculty Name: john-w-waterbor
UAB Department: Epidemiology
UAB School: School of Public Health
Campus Address: Ryals – 227C
Telephone Number: (205) 934-7146
Email: h2obor@uab.edu or Click to Send E-Mail
For how many summers have you served as a preceptor: 3 or more
CCC Research Area: Cancer Control and Population Science
Number of hours per week that the preceptor will personally supervise or work with the intern: 3
Other faculty, staff, or graduate students who may help to supervise the intern:
1. Dr. Jeffrey Roseman
2. Ms. Judy Baker
Title of Project: 05JW – Causation: Differering Views of Epidemiology and the Legal System
Project Description:

When a jury sides with a plaintiff and rules that a consumer product caused the plaintiff’s cancer, what criteria are used by the jury to arrive at the conclusion of causation? If the evidence considered in a legal case is analyzed by means of accepted epidemiologic thinking, such as “Hill’s Criteria for Causation,” does the conclusion of causation (yes or no) typically agree with the legal conclusion? For what specific reasons might the legal conclusion and the epidemiologic conclusion of causation, differ? Does it make sense — and is it a strength or a weakness — that science and the law can differ in their definitions of causation?

Project Status: Already up and running
Location of Project: Birmingham, AL (UAB)
Proposed Start Date: May 4, 2020
Proposed End Date: July 24, 2020
Expected work schedule for intern: Flexible, intern can largely set his or her own schedule (as for students who are instructed how to proceed and are permitted to work independently with weekly guidance) and should contribute full-time effort.
Category of Project: Analytical/Statistical Research
Cancer topic: Chemical Carcinogens, Diet and Nutrition, Radiation, Multiple Cancer Sites
Does this project involve human subjects: No
Does this project involve animal subjects: No

Review the literature on the outcome of litigation involving consumer products and cancer


Draft a manuscript of a full-length paper formatted for publication in a specific journal.


Make a poster that summarizes methods, key findings, and conclusions.

Preceptor will provide intern with access to the following:
Office or desk space
Likelihood that intern will be included as an author on one or more publications
related to this summer research project:
Very likely
Areas in which the ideal candidates will have experience:
Cancer Rates, Trends and Statistics, Environmental Carcinogenesis, Epidemiologic Methods, Literature Review Skills, Manuscript Preparation for Submission to a Journal, Scientific Writing Skills, Statistics and Data Management, basic knowledge, Consumer Product Law