Daniel Krewski

PhD, MHA

Chief Risk Scientist, CEO

Joined RSI in 2006

  • Canada

    Country of Residence

Dan Krewski - RSI

Global thought leader in risk science

Expert in public and population health

20+ years experience in Federal Government of Canada

Professor of epidemiology at University of Ottawa since 1998

Research contributions influencing health policy

Personal Introduction

Early in my career, I developed an interest in risk science – even before risk sciences became a well-established discipline with broad applications in diverse areas. My professional training began in mathematics, then shifted to statistics and then biostatistics, with an emphasis on applications in toxicology and epidemiology. If this training path sounds multidisplinary, it is – and it reflects the inherent nature of risk science, which brings together multiple disciplines to address critical risk issues of importance to societies worldwide.

I believe that risk is part of everyone’s daily life and has become engrained in all public and private sector organizations around the world.

Looking back on the origins of risk science, I often refer to William Rowe’s book, The Anatomy of Risk, published in 1977, as the first comprehensive treatment of risk in a practical and systematic manner. Fast forward to today, risk is not only part of everyone’s daily life, but has become engrained in public and private sector organizations around the world. Almost every organization has a unit dedicated to risk assessment or risk management, focusing on risk issues of immediate relevance to that organization.

Major landmarks in the evolution of risk science include the establishment of the International Society for Risk Analysis in 1981, and its official journal, Risk Analysis. The US National Research Council’s pioneering report on Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process

One of my personal satisfactions is having had the chance to contribute to frameworks for risk assessment and risk management, including those used by Health Canada and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

– one of the few books known by the colour of its cover as simply ‘The Red Book’ – provided the first framework for risk assessment and risk management that brought clarity and insight into the evolving practice of risk science. One of my personal satisfactions is having had the chance to contribute to subsequent frameworks for risk assessment and risk management, including those used by Health Canada and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

My career in risk science begin in the federal government of Canada, working in different programs within Health Canada, particularly food safety and environmental health. This experience provided me with opportunities to work with bench scientists working to protect the health and safety of Canadians, with evaluators responsible for establishing health and safety guidelines for Canadians, and lawmakers responsible for updating and drafting new federal legislation, and with policy analysts charged with the development of effective risk management strategies on behalf of Canadians. This experience provided me with an appreciation of the complexities and challenges in finding the best possible practical risk solutions for the benefit of all Canadians.

My subsequent career with the University of Ottawa allowed me to pursue my lifelong interest in risk science from a more academic perspective. Creating a leading academic centre for risk science in Canada – the McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment – at uOttawa, patterned after the Harvard Centre for Risk Analysis, provided a focal point for the development of new risk assessment methodologies and innovative risk management interventions in collaboration with colleagues in Canada and internationally. The creation of a new graduate program in risk science to train the next generation of risk scientists in Canada complemented my personal interests in risk research.

The establishment of Risk Sciences International in 2006 represents another landmark in the development of sound risk management practices in Canada. Understanding, managing, and communicating risk has become the mission of RSI. By providing independent expert advice on important risk issues using state of the art methodologies, RSI has been able to help public and private sector clients alike resolve diverse risk issues they face in an effective and equitable manner.

Daniel Krewski

Daniel Krewski, in addition to his many hours spent teaching at the University of Ottawa, is regularly asked to speak including this presentation given during the National Cancer Institute Directors' meeting in Lyon.

Daniel Krewski: Current Focus

Dr. Krewski currently serves as Chief Risk Scientist and CEO of Risk Sciences International, a Canadian company founded in 2006 in partnership with the University of Ottawa. He also holds academic appointments as Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health and Scientific Director of the McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Works and Accomplishments

Dr. Krewski is a Fellow of the Society of Risk Analysis and the American Statistical Association, and a lifetime National Affiliate of the US National Academy of Sciences. In 2013, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Risk Analysis, for excellent performance in the practice of risk analysis. He has contributed to over 900 scientific and technical publications in the field of risk science during the course of his career to date.

Dr. Krewski’s first major research project upon joining the University of Ottawa in 1998 was a major re-analysis of data from the Harvard Six Cities Study, which was one of the first large scale studies to demonstrate an association between long-term exposure to particulate air pollution and mortality in the general population. This two-year Congressionally mandated study was funded through the US Health Effects Institute, with oversight by an eight-member expert advisory group and an eight-person stakeholder liaison group. The goal of this work was to replicate the original findings of the six city study, which had become the basis for air quality standards for fine particulate matter in the United States, and to test the robustness of alternative analytic approaches. To accomplish this, Dr. Krewski assembled a team of 33 investigators from 11 North American research institutions to complete the project on time and within budget ($1.3 million), producing both a major project report and 17 peer reviewed publications along the way.

Since 2002, Dr. Krewski has held a Natural Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Chair in Risk Science

Since 2002, Dr. Krewski has held a Natural Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Chair in Risk Science, focusing on risk assessment and management of a wide range of risk issues of national and international importance. The research program of the Chair has been highly productive, generating an average of over 25 peer-reviewed publications annually since its inception. The program has four overarching research objectives: 1) developing innovative risk assessment methods to important risk issues; 2) applying those methods to better understand important risk issues such as ambient air pollution (Burnett et al., 2018), transmissible diseases (Leiss et al., 2010), and technological development (Larkin et al., 2019a); 3) identifying strategies to manage important risk issues such as pandemic flu (Saunders-Hastings et al., 2017) and radon present in Canadian homes (Gaskin et al, 2018); and 4) knowledge mobilization activities to promote the use of state of the art principles and methods in risk science in risk decision making. This unique research program is conducted with technical input from industrial partners, but with research outputs remaining the sole responsibility of the Chair.

Dr. Krewski coordinated the conduct of the first large scale study of public perception of risk in Canada.

Dr. Krewski coordinated the conduct of the first large scale study of public perception of risk in Canada, working with Dr. Paul Slovic, an internationally recognized leader in this field (Krewski et al., 1995ab). An important aspect of this work was a comparison of perceptions of risk between the public and experts, showing consistently higher perceived risk by the public as compared to experts (Slovic et al., 1995). This collaboration laid the groundwork for subsequent studies of how the Canadian public forms attitudes and opinions about risk a wide range of health and environmental risk issues (Krewski et al., 2009, 2012).

In an effort to support risk decision making in the presence of uncertainty, Dr. Krewski has made use of structured expert elicitation to gauge expert opinion on important risk issues where there remains high uncertainty with respect both scientific estimates of risk and the effectiveness of alternative risk management interventions. Working on collaboration with Dr. Willy Aspinall from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, Dr. Krewski has coordinated structured international expert elicitations on a number of risk issues, including mad cow disease (Tyshenko et al., 2011), chronic wasting disease affecting deer and elk (Oraby et al., 2016), carbon capture and storage (Larkin et al., 2019b), and pharmaceutical products (Cashman et al., 2019).

Evidence integration, linking evidence on a specific risk issue from multiple evidence streams, has been an important component of Dr. Krewski’s research program.

Evidence integration, linking evidence on a specific risk issue from multiple evidence streams, has been an important component of Dr. Krewski’s research program. Under the National Population Health Study of Neurological Conditions, Dr. Krewski led a team of 35 investigators from five Canadian centres that conducted a systematic review of factors affecting the onset and progression of 14 neurological diseases (Krewski et al., 2017), in support of the Agency’s interests in identifying strategies to reduce the burden on neurological diseases in Canada.

In an effort to further refine evidence integration practices in support of human health risk assessment, the McLaughlin Centre has, in collaboration with the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University, organized a series of three international workshops on this topic. The final workshop, in December 2020, involves a series of case studies to examine the use of the evidence integration framework developed as part of this initiative in practice.

The McLaughlin Centre, headed by Dr. Krewski at the University of Ottawa, was a designated World Health Organization Collaborating Centre in Population Health Risk Assessment.

From 2006 to 2009, the McLaughlin Centre headed by Dr. Krewski at the University of Ottawa was a designated World Health Organization Collaborating Centre in Population Health Risk Assessment. In 2011, the McLaughlin Centre has selected by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to host a meeting with the heads of all 30 WHO collaborating centres in Canada to facilitate exchange and collaboration among these centres of excellence in diverse areas of public and population health.

From 2007 to 2012, he served as Associate Scientific Director of PrioNet Canada, a $35 million Network of Centres of Excellence established to address the risks associated with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Dr. Krewski served on both the Research Management Committee and Board of Directors for the network during this period. As part of this initiative, he worked on the development of risk projection models to help understand the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or ‘mad cow disease’, in Canada, and the effectiveness of interventions to bring the outbreak under control (Al-Zoughool et al., 2015). Dr. Krewski led the development of an integrated risk management framework for prion diseases, which included twenty cases studies of how the outbreak was handled in different countries and regions around the world (Darshan et al., 2010). An important component of PrioNet was an international outreach initiative, which involved information exchange meetings with scientists and regulators in North America: this initiative involved a series of seven international meetings organized by PrioNet Canada in North America, Europe and Asia, including a tri-partite policy workshop involving senior government officials from Canada, the United States and Mexico (Cashman et al., 2009).

Building on the Dr. Krewski subsequently developed an integrated risk management framework for carbon capture and storage (CCS) as part of a $50 million Network of Centres of Excellence, Carbon Management Canada, operating between 2010 and 2015 (Darshan et al., 2019). CCS technology can is increasingly being deployed worldwide to capturing CO2 emissions from industrial sources and sequestering them underground, thereby helping to limit GHG emissions responsible for climate change into the atmosphere. Shell Quest [1], the first large-scale Canadian commercial carbon sequestration project, was commissioned in 2018. The knowledge gained with CCS was subsequently used to examine potential risks associated with hydraulic fracturing (Larkin et al., 2018), with the overall objective of ensuring safe and effective deployment of technological innovation.

Prior to joining the University of Ottawa in 1998, Dr. Krewski held a number of research and management positions in Health Canada, including serving as Director of Risk Management and Senior Branch Advisor for Health Risk Assessment in the former Health Protection Branch of the Department. While with Health Canada, Dr. Krewski laid the groundwork for the Departmental Decision-Making Framework for Identifying, Assessing, and Managing Health Risks [2]. More recently, Dr. Krewski was closely involved in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s NexGen project [3], which, building on the NRC vision for the future of toxicity testing, proposed a new framework for the next generation of risk science in 2014 (Krewski et al., 2014). The development and refinement of structured, yet flexible, frameworks to guide risk decision making has been a longstanding fundamental component of Dr. Krewski’s professional activities.

Dr. Krewski spent the first ten years of his career working on food safety in Health Canada’s Food and Drug Directorate. During this period, he worked on analyses of data from Nutrition Canada, a study of dietary habits of over 22,000 Canadians, and on the design and analysis of national food monitoring surveys to ensure the safety of the food supply. While at Health Canada, Dr. Krewski worked with food research scientists on chemical hazards that may be present in foods, including a long-term bioassay of the artificial sweetener saccharin that was subjected to restrictions as a direct food additive based on this work. Dr. Krewski later served as Chief of the Biostatistics and Computer Applications Division in the Environmental Health Directorate of Health Canada, working with staff across the Directorate on a wide range of environmental health issues, including air pollution and environmental and occupational exposure to ionizing radiation.

From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Krewski was served both Senior Branch Advisor, Health Risk Assessment to the Assistant Deputy Minister of the former Health Protection Branch of Health Canada. From 1995 to 1997, was Acting Director of the Bureau of Chemical Hazards in the Branch’s Environmental Health Directorate, responsible for four divisions focused on toxicological

Throughout his career, Dr. Krewski has devoted a significant portion of this time to serving on expert panels convened to address important public and population health risk issues of national and international importance.

research, environmental chemistry, bioregional health effects, and administration of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. In his final year with Health Canada, Dr. Krewski served as Director, Risk Management, within the office of the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Health Protection Branch.

Throughout his career, Dr. Krewski has devoted a significant portion of this time to serving on expert panels convened to address important public and population health risk issues of national and international importance. From 1992 to 1996, Dr. Krewski represented Canada on the Scientific Council of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the operating agency of the World Health Organization charged with identifying causes of human cancer. Dr. Krewski served on the US National Research Council’s Committee on Toxicology (1996-2002), Board on Environmental Studies on Toxicology (1999-2004), and Board on Radiation Effects Research (2002-2007). From 1998 to 2004, Dr. Krewski served as Chair of the US NRC’s Subcommittee on Acute Exposure Guideline Levels, which, working in collaboration with the US Environmental Protection Agency National Advisory Committee, oversaw the development of short term exposure guidelines for a large number of toxic substances [4]. An important methodological aspect of this work was the publication of standing operating procedures for developing these guidelines [5].

From 2004 to 2007, Dr. Krewski served as Chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on Toxicity Testing and Assessment of Environmental Agents. The committee’s final report, Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy (NRC, 2007) laid out a bold vision for transforming toxicity testing, building on scientific advances such as high-throughput in vitro testing and computational toxicology. This vision received international support from the scientific and regulatory communities, and has led to a paradigm shift in the practice of toxicological risk assessment (Krewski et al., 2020).

From 2011 to 2016, he served on Scientific Advisory Committee of the Council of Canadian Academies [6], which provides science advice to the federal government on a wide range of issues of national and international importance. He was a member of the World Health Organization Scientific Advisory Committee on Health Risks of Air Pollution in Europe from 2011-2013 (Heroux et al., 2015). Dr. Krewski currently serves as a member of the Chief Science Advisor for Canada’s Expert Panel on COVID-19.


[1] https://www.shell.ca/en_ca/about-us/projects-and-sites/quest-carbon-capture-and-storage-project.html

[2] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/science-research/science-advice-decision-making/decision-making-framework-science-research.html

[3] https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/risk/recordisplay.cfm?deid=286690

[4] https://www.epa.gov/aegl

[5] https://www.nap.edu/catalog/10122/standing-operating-procedures-for-developing-acute-exposure-guideline-levels-for-hazardous-chemicals

[6] https://cca-reports.ca/

Additional References

Daniel Krewski has contributed to over 900 scientific and technical publications in the field of risk science during the course of his career to date. A short selection follows.

Al-Zoughool, M., D. Cottrell, S. ElSaadany, N. Murray, T. Oraby, R. Smith and D. Krewski (2015). “Mathematical models for estimating the risks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B 18: 71-104.

Burnett, R., H. Chen, M. Szyszkowicz, N. Fann, B. Hubbell, C. A. Pope, 3rd, J. S. Apte, M. Brauer, A. Cohen, S. Weichenthal, J. Coggins, Q. Di, B. Brunekreef, J. Frostad, S. S. Lim, H. Kan, K. D. Walker, G. D. Thurston, R. B. Hayes, C. C. Lim, M. C. Turner, M. Jerrett, D. Krewski, S. M. Gapstur, W. R. Diver, B. Ostro, D. Goldberg, D. L. Crouse, R. V. Martin, P. Peters, L. Pinault, M. Tjepkema, A. van Donkelaar, P. J. Villeneuve, A. B. Miller, P. Yin, M. Zhou, L. Wang, N. A. H. Janssen, M. Marra, R. W. Atkinson, H. Tsang, T. Quoc Thach, J. B. Cannon, R. T. Allen, J. E. Hart, F. Laden, G. Cesaroni, F. Forastiere, G. Weinmayr, A. Jaensch, G. Nagel, H. Concin and J. V. Spadaro (2018). “Global estimates of mortality associated with long-term exposure to outdoor fine particulate matter.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115(38): 9592-9597.

Cashman, N., R. Clarke, J. Clifford, W. Hueston, D. Krewski and I. R. Sosa (2009). “Protecting the public health from prions – a trinational dialogue.” The Environmental Forum 26(3): 46-51.

Cashman, N. R., M. G. Tyshenko, R. Cheung, W. Aspinall, M. Wong and D. Krewski (2019). “Expert elicitation for the judgment of prion disease risk uncertainties associated with urine-derived and recombinant fertility drugs.” International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management 22(2): 109-127.

Darshan, S., M. Raizenne and M. Ricketts (2010). “Special Issue on Managing the Risks of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy: a Canadian Perspective.” International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management 14(1/2/3/4/5): 1-436.

Gaskin, J., D. Coyle, J. Whyte and D. Krewski (2018). “Utility gains from reductions in the modifiable burden of lung cancer attributable to residential radon in Canada.” Can J Public Health 109(4): 598-609.

Heroux, M. E., H. R. Anderson, R. Atkinson, B. Brunekreef, A. Cohen, F. Forastiere, F. Hurley, K. Katsouyanni, D. Krewski, M. Krzyzanowski, N. Kunzli, I. Mills, X. Querol, B. Ostro and H. Walton (2015). “Quantifying the health impacts of ambient air pollutants: recommendations of a WHO/Europe project.” 60(5): 619-627.

Krewski, D., P. Slovic, S. Bartlett, J. Flynn and C. K. Mertz (1995a). “Health risk perception in Canada I: rating hazards, sources of information, and responsibility for risk protection.” Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 1: 117-132.

Krewski, D., P. Slovic, S. Bartlett, J. Flynn and C. K. Mertz (1995b). “Health risk perception in Canada II: worldviews, attitudes, and opinions.” Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 1: 53-70.

Krewski, D., L. Lemyre, M. Turner, J. E. C. Lee, C. Dallaire and L. Bouchard (2009). “Public perception of population health risks in Canada: health hazards and health outcomes.” International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management 11(3/4): 299-318.

Krewski, D., M. C. Turner, L. Lemyre and J. E. C. Lee (2012). “Expert vs. public perception of population health risks in Canada.” Journal of Risk Research iFirst: 1-25.

Krewski, D., M. Westphal, M. E. Andersen, G. M. Paoli, W. A. Chiu, M. Al-Zoughool, M. C. Croteau, L. D. Burgoon and I. Cote (2014). “A framework for the next generation of risk science.” Environmental Health Perspectives 122(8): 796-805.

Krewski, D., C. Barakat-Haddad, J. Donnan, R. Martino, T. Pringsheim, H. Tremlett, L. P. van, S. J. Walsh, N. J. Birkett, J. Gomes, J. Little, S. Bowen, H. Candundo, T. K. Chao, K. Collins, J. A. G. Crispo, T. Duggan, S. R. El, N. Farhat, Y. Fortin, J. Gaskin, P. Gupta, M. Hersi, J. Hu, B. Irvine, S. Jahanfar, D. MacDonald, K. McKay, A. Morrissey, P. Quach, R. Rashid, S. Shin, L. Sikora, S. Tkachuk, M. K. Taher, M. D. Wang, S. Darshan and N. R. Cashman (2017). “Determinants of neurological disease: Synthesis of systematic reviews.” Neurotoxicology. 61: 266-289.i

Krewski, D., M. E. Andersen, M. G. Tyshenko, K. Krishnan, T. Hartung, K. Boekelheide, J. F. Wambaugh, D. Jones, M. Whelan, R. Thomas, C. Yauk, T. Barton-Maclaren and I. Cote (2020). “Toxicity testing in the 21st century: progress in the past decade and future perspectives.” Arch Toxicol 94: 1–58.

Larkin, P., R. Gracie, M. Dusseault and D. Krewski (2018). “Ensuring health and environmental protection in hydraulic fracturing: A focus on British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.” Extractive Industries and Society-an International Journal 5(4): 581-595.

Larkin, P., W. Leiss, J. Arvai, R. G. Gracie, M. Fall, M. D. Dusseault, A. Heyes and D. Krewski (2019a). “An Integrated Risk Management Framework for Carbon Capture and Storage: A Canadian perspective.” International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management 22(No. 3/4): 464-507.

Larkin, P., Dusseault, M., Gracie, R. G., Sarkarfarshi, A. M., Shafiei, A., Aspinall, W., Krewski, D. (2019b). “Uncertainty in Risk Issues for Carbon Capture and Storage: Findings from a structured expert elicitation.” International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management 22(No. 3/4): 429 – 463.

Leiss, W., M. G. Tyshenko, D. Krewski, N. Cashman, L. Lemyre, M. Al-Zoughool and C. Amaratunga (2010). “Managing prion disease risks: A Canadian perspective.” International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management 14(5): 381-436.

Oraby, T., M. G. Tyshenko, M. Westphal, S. Darshan, M. C. Croteau, W. Aspinall, S. ElSaadany, N. Cashman and D. Krewski (2016). “Using expert judgments to improve chronic wasting disease risk management in Canada.” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A 79(16-17): 713-728.

Saunders-Hastings, P., J. A. G. Crispo, L. Sikora and D. Krewski (2017). “Effectiveness of personal protective measures in reducing pandemic influenza transmission: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Epidemics 20: 1-20.

Slovic, P., T. Malmfors, D. Krewski, C. K. Mertz, N. Neil and S. Bartlett (1995). “Intuitive toxicology II: expert and lay judgements of chemical risks in Canada.” Risk Analysis 15: 661-675.

Tyshenko, M. G., S. ElSaadany, T. Oraby, S. Darshan, W. Aspinall, R. Cooke, A. Catford and D. Krewski (2011). “Expert elicitation for the judgment of prion disease risk uncertainties.” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 74: 261-285.

 

Additional images of Daniel Krewski at work

Daniel Krewski: Extra‑curricular

Teaching Zumba with Co-instructors Sharon and Iryna

Although risk science has been Daniel Krewski’s longstanding passion, he believes it is important to cultivate other interests and activities to achieve a balance in life. Fitness has been another one of his lifelong pastimes, including running along the Ottawa river at lunchtime with colleagues while working at Tunney’s Pasture and cycling 15 kilometres to and from work for nearly eight years.

His current fitness routine includes both regular workout sessions at the gym and regular Zumba classes for cardiovascular training. Since 2018, he has been a certified Zumba instructor – with experience teaching in Canada, China, Spain, and the United States.

Although only an amateur photographer, his digital photographs – including a photographic history of RSI on display at the RSI head office in Ottawa – seem to be appreciated by others. And in good weather, he enjoys taking his manual transmission Shelby Mustang out for a drive just for the sake of driving.

His professional interest in risk often crosses over into his personal life – he finds it fascinating to discuss peoples’ views on the risks that they deal with in everyday life, and how they seek to understand those risks and make personal risk decisions based on their attitudes and opinions about those risks.

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Donald Mattison

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Siva Ramoju

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Emma Hartnett

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Cemil ‘Jim’ Alyanak

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Anne Wiles

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Michael G. Tyshenko

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Hong Duan

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