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Workshop on Systems Methods for Understanding Obesity, April 10-11, 2013

Johns Hopkins University

Travel Awards Available


The Education and Training Core (ETC) of the Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity (JHGCCO) is pleased to announce a training workshop entitled Agent-based and System Dynamics Models: New Tools for Understanding Obesity.

This 2-day workshop will be held April 10-11, at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, following the annual JHGCCO symposium.  The workshop will begin at noon on Wednesday, April 10, and run until 6 pm on Thursday, April 11, with a dinner and reception on Wednesday night.

The workshop is intended for researchers, program staff, students, trainees, faculty and those with an interest in learning about how agent-based (ABM) and system dynamics (SD) models can be used to gain insights into the causes of, and potential solutions for, the obesity epidemic. The primary faculty for this workshop include Prof. Tak Igusa from the Johns Hopkins Systems Institute and the Whiting School of Engineering, and Prof. Thomas Glass from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. There will also be an invited lecture and discussion by Dr. Amy Auchincloss, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Drexel University. 

The workshop will be taught at an introductory to intermediate level and will involve group discussions, lectures, presentations by current trainees, and practice through hands-on labs using standard software. No previous experience in ABMs or SD models is required but some knowledge of research methods and a programming language is recommended. 

Topics to be covered include:

a) overview of the obesity epidemic and why systems models might be useful,

b) introduction to agent-based and system dynamics models,

c) use of free software for running ABMs and SD models,

d) formulation of research questions that can be addressed with these tools,

e) examples of ongoing work in ABM and SD models, and

f) challenges associated with model development, calibration and testing.

The workshop is free but participants must register online; registration will be capped at 40 so please apply early. Those attending the annual center-wide symposium are especially encouraged to register for this workshop.

To assist with travel and accommodations, the ETC will provide reimbursements of up to $500 to a limited number of participants towards allowable and documented costs associated with workshop attendance. These awards will be allocated at our discretion, giving priority to trainees and early-career participants, with a view to insuring a diverse audience of academic and non-academic as well as international participants from multiple fields.

Rooms have been reserved at the Inn at the Colonnade at a special rate of $149 per night. Please contact the hotel directly and ask for reservations under the group name “Hopkins Obesity Workshop”.


For additional information, please contact the ETC administrative manager, Rosemary Mountain (