Assessing & Communicating Risk for Toxicologists and Risk Assessors



Assessing & Communicating Risk for Toxicologists and Risk Assessors


November 5th - 8th, 2019


Vancouver Convention Centre 

1055 Canada Pl

Vancouver, BC

V6C 0C3


Accommodation at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown, 1128 West Hastings Street. 

Please call the hotel at 1 800 207 4150 and let them know that you are attending the Society of Toxicology of Canada workshop. 

Contact Us

To learn more, don’t hesitate to get in touch

© 2019 by STC Risk Workshop 2019. 

The Society of Toxicology of Canada presents

NOV 5 - 8, 2019




Understanding risk assessment is one thing. Communicating about risk is another. The Society of Toxicology of Canada is partnering with experts for an interactive, hands-on workshop that will boost your skills in both areas.

• Stay on top of the science.

• Gain a deeper understanding of risk assessment methods.

• Maximize the value of toxicology studies in characterizing risk.

• Encourage the use of sound science in risk-based decision-making.

• Apply practical tools for communicating your work.





Risk Communication Specialist 


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Trevor Smith Diggins

Risk Communication Specialist 

Trevor Smith Diggins has been a communication specialist for more than 30 years, with a career that has covered print, broadcast and online media, as well as traditional public relations. His expertise in risk and crisis communication has taken him from Ottawa and Washington, to Pearl Harbor and Okinawa. Trevor has delivered risk communication, crisis and media training for Health Canada, Indian & Northern Affairs, the Ontario Ministry of Environment; Department of National Defence; the Sudbury Soils Study; the U.S. Army; the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine; NASA; the Nova Scotia Dept. of Health; BC Health; Dofasco, and numerous others. In 2004, he provided risk response training to emergency responders at four US Navy Medical Hospitals around the world. Trevor was invited to the Pentagon by the Under Secretary of Defense to recognize the success of an installation restoration project in Memphis, where he provided communication support.

Dr. Ronald W. Brecher

Toxicologist & Risk Assessment Specialist 

Dr. Brecher is recognized in Canada and internationally for his expertise in toxicology, risk assessment and risk communication. He obtained a B.Sc. (Hon.) in biochemistry from Carleton University and a Ph.D. in Medicinal Biochemistry from Sussex University. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology (DABT), and a Chartered Chemist (C.Chem.) in Ontario. Dr. Brecher has more than 27 years of experience as a consultant in toxicology, with an emphasis on assessing and communicating about the human health impacts of chemicals. In addition to his technical consulting, Dr. Brecher also provides training in toxicology, risk assessment and risk communication for clients in the public and private sector. He is regularly called upon to provide his expertise at public meetings and as an expert witness in legal proceedings. He is an Adjunct Professor and Associate Graduate Faculty at the University of Guelph.


Toxicologist  & Risk Assessor 


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Toxicologist & Risk Assessor


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Dr. Andrew Maier 

Risk Assessor Specialising in Occupational Health 

Dr. Andrew Maier is board certified in toxicology and industrial hygiene. He has developed or reviewed several hundred risk assessment for diverse applications for governmental and industry sponsors. He has extensive experience in developing and delivering professional development courses in risk assessment. He was a founding developer and lead instructor of a Dose-Response Boot Camp that has been attended by over 500 risk assessment professionals. He served as the Director of Continuing Education as part of his faculty duties as an Associate Professor of Environmental and Industrial Health at the University of Cincinnati. He also has developed and delivered highly-ranked CE courses at professional society meetings including for the Society of Toxicology, American College of Toxicology, and American Industrial Hygiene Association. He is currently a Senior Managing Health Scientist with Cardno ChemRisk and can be reached at

Dr. Reena Sandhu

Risk Assessor Specialising in Consumer Goods and Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Reena Sandhu is board certified toxicologist and human health risk assessment consultant. Over the last 12 years, she has conducted hundreds of risk assessments for both government and industry clients. This has included deriving safe dose limits for chemicals in air, soil, water, consumer products and pharmaceuticals. Dr. Sandhu is passionate about modernizing risk assessment methods. She is currently engaged in several software development projects that focus on developing standardized workflows and templates for human health risk assessment report creation.  Prior to becoming a risk assessor and software developer, Dr. Sandhu worked in senior scientific roles in the pharmaceutical industry for 12 years. Her expertise includes all aspects of support in these business sectors from drug discovery and development through to post-marketing product support. She is the Managing Director of SafeDose Ltd. based in the Toronto area and can be reached at


Toxicologist & Risk Assessor


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Toxicologist & Risk Assessor


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Dr. Lynne Haber

Risk Assessor Specialising in Environmental Chemicals

Dr. Lynne Haber is a board certified toxicologist and an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati, where she teaches a graduate-level course in risk assessment in the Department of Environmental Health. She has more than 20 years of experience in development of assessment documents and in risk assessment methods development.  She has written or reviewed hundreds of chemical assessments for federal and state agencies, as well as industry sponsors. Together with Dr. Maier and others, she was a founding developer and lead instructor of a Dose-Response Boot Camp that has been attended by over 500 risk assessment professionals. She has delivered that course in full or part in five different countries. She has authored/coauthored more than 30 publications of chemical assessments or risk assessment methods, and more than 10 book chapters. She has also taught successful CE courses at professional society meetings, including for the Society of Toxicology, Society for Risk Analysis, and as part of the American College of Toxicology’s Advanced Comprehensive Toxicology course. Her research includes improving methods for dose-response modelling and improving the use of mechanistic data in risk assessment. Lynne is currently affiliated with University of Cincinnati Risk Science Centre and can be reached at


Sample Agenda

Part 1: Risk Assessment 

Day One


9:00 - 9:15


Introduction to instructors

Ice-breaker activities

Learning objectives

9:15 - 10:15

Risk Informed Decisions & Problem Formulation

  • Introduction to the National Academy of Sciences (2009) paradigm for risk-based decision making

  • Impact of problem formulation on nature of the assessment 

  • Role of science and policy

Exercise #1: Defining Scenarios & Solutions

10:15 - 10:45

Information Gathering

  • What information to look for

  • Where to find it

  • How to find it

  • How to determine if it is useable

  • How to capture information in a way that makes it easier to analyze later 

10:45 - 11:00

BREAK (15 min.)

11:00 - noon

Hazard Characterization

  • How to incorporate data from various data streams (in silico, in vitro, epidemiology) into a hazard assessment 

  • Establishing causality 

  • Hazard identification in context of test guidelines

  • Navigating hazard characterization tools

  • Weight of evidence and evidence integration 

Noon - 12:45

LUNCH (provided)

12:45 - 1:15

Exercise #2: Applying Information Management and Hazard Characterization

1:15 - 2:30

Health-Based Exposure Limit (HBEL) #1:

  • Evaluation of studies to identify critical effect(s) and point of departure, consideration of human relevance

  • Introduction to dose-response principles

2:30 - 2:45

BREAK (15 min.)

Health-Based Exposure Limit (HBEL) #2:

  • Key considerations in determining uncertainty factors 

  • Other approaches to low-dose extrapolation

  • Adjustments for uncertainty 

2:45 - 4:00

4:0o - 5:00

Exercise #3: Critiquing a HBEL

Day Two


9:0o - 9:15

Recap and Reinforcement

9:15 - 10:45

Exposure Assessment: principles, methods and issues to consider 

  • Estimation

  • Modeling

  • Measurements

10:45 - 11:00

BREAK (15 min.)

11:00 - noon

Exercise #4: Exposing the Flaws

Noon - 12:45

LUNCH (provided)

12:45 - 1:45

Risk Characterization #1 - Qualitative and quantitative approaches for integrating exposure and dose-response 

  • Hazard Quotient 

  • Margin of exposure 

  • Calculating risk

Exercise #5: Finding the meaning 

1:45 - 2:00

BREAK (15 min.)

2:00 - 3:00

Risk characterization #2 - 

  • Chemical Mixtures

  • Dose and response additivity 

  • Interactions

  • Cumulative risk - Non-chemical risks

3:00 - 4:00

Methods for Data Poor Chemicals

  • Threshold of toxicological concern 

  • Read-across, SAR

  • Making use of big data

4:00 - 5:00

Course Discussion, Q&A and Close

  • Attendees share their risk assessment problems and approaches

  • Additional questions and issues

  • The future of risk assessment 

Part 2: Risk Communication

Day Three


9:00 - 9:15

Introduction & Objectives 

  • Introduction, Housekeeping, Objectives

9:15 - 9:45

Exercise #1: Using Risk Terms 

  • Define and discuss common, risk-related terms

9:45 - 10:00

Risk Communication Framework

   A model for risk communication planning:

  • Understand the audience 

  • Analyze information

  • Organize information

  • Engage stakeholders

10:00 - 10:45

Communication Landscape

  • Cognitive noise and the culture of fear

  • Communication barriers 

  • Stakeholder concerns 

  • Risk communication goals

10:45 - 11:00

BREAK (15 min.)

11:00 - Noon

Exercise #2: Talking about Risk

    Work in groups:

  • Discuss similarities and differences in related terms

  • Common usage and understanding 

  • Communication challenges

Noon - 12:45

LUNCH (provided)

 12:45 - 2:00

Essentials of Communicating Risks

  • Three dimensions of risk communication

  • Risk communication principles

2:00 - 2:30

Exercise #3: Issue and Stakeholder Analysis 

   Review case study in groups and identify:

  • Stakeholders and their concerns 

  • Confusing or missing information

  • Questions that may be asked

2:30 - 2:45

BREAK (15 min.)

2:45 - 3:15

Exercise #3: Debrief

3:15 - 4:00

Exercise #4: Planning to Communicate

  • Using the Response Matrix

  • Key messages, supporting facts, next steps

Day Four


9:00 - 9:45

Exercise #1: Active Listening/ Empathy

    Work in groups:

  • Active listening and recall

9:45 - 10:15

Communication Best Practices

  • Active listening and bridging 

  • Vocabulary and message traps

  • Anticipating stakeholder questions

10:15 - 10:30

Communication in Writing

  • Guidelines for written communication

  • Message Model - Written

10:30 - 10:45

BREAK ( 15 min.)

10:45 - 11:00

Reviewing Written Documents

  • Guidelines for written communication

  • Peer Review - goals and practices 

11:00 - Noon

Exercise #2: Getting it Write  

   Work in groups:

  • Prepare a response to a stakeholder question 

Noon - 12:45

LUNCH ( 45 min.)

12:45 - 1:45

Communicating in Person

  • Spokesperson checklist

  • Spokesperson protocol

  • Responding to outrage

  • Non-verbal communication

  • Message Model - Verbal

1:45 - 2:30

Exercise #3: Delivering the Message

    Work in groups:

  • Use a completed Response Matrix

  • Practice message delivery

2:30 - 2:45

BREAK (15 min.)

2:45- 3:45

Exercise #3: Debrief

  • Role play with feedback 

3:45 - 4:00