Louisiana Comp Blog’s upcoming tech conference, Spotlight on Solutions, will bring together various stakeholders in the workers’ comp industry on June 15th in New Orleans to discuss how technology is changing comp and where we’re headed in the age of endless information.
Leading up to the conference, this Q&A series will allow attendees to learn more about our presenters and what they have to offer. Below, Dr. Fraser Gaspar, epidemiologist with ReedGroup in Colorado, talks about his background and how tech can encourage collaboration in problem-solving.
More information and registration for Spotlight on Solutions is available here.
Comp Blog: How does technology influence your work as an epidemiologist (either specifically or generally)?
Dr. Gaspar: I perform all my analyses using an open-source statistical software which enables great collaboration with folks around the world in developing code to answer questions. I’m able to leverage this software to not only build models, but build web applications that can be run on my local machine that allow my team to visualize the models and results. By using an adaptive web application, I can quickly demo my work and show how my work would be utilized by our users/clients.
I also try to remove myself from technology to enable ideas. Too often, people are so focused on responding quickly to emails that they forget to think deeply about the problems they have and their customers have.
Comp Blog: What are the key takeaways that you would like Spotlight on Solutions attendees to gain from your presentation?
Dr. Gaspar: I often hear there is too much data. As an epidemiologist and statistician, I have never said there is too much data and I deal with billions of disability and medical records. There can be too many useless number/results from the data, but big data allows us to answer the right questions. Whether we use those billions of records to generate a single number or a table of numbers, it is about answering questions with data that is important.
Comp Blog: What is your educational background?
Dr. Gaspar: I have a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) and a PhD from University of California- Berkeley’s School of Public Health in the Environmental Health Sciences department. For my MPH, I was in the Industrial Hygiene and Exposure Assessment programs. For my PhD, my dissertation was titled, “Prenatal Insecticide Exposure and Children’s Cognitive Development.” My research involved starting a birth cohort study in rural South Africa, where I spent 90 days living on a macadamia nut farm.
Comp Blog: What positions did you hold prior to joining ReedGroup’s leadership?
Dr. Gaspar: Prior to ReedGroup, I was a bioinformatics scientist at a biotechnology firm in Boulder, Colorado. At the firm, I studied for protein biomarkers that were diagnostic and prognostic of specific diseases. I also built predictive models that combined biomarkers to identify individuals either susceptible to disease or who had disease.
Comp Blog: How long have you been with Reed Group?
Dr. Gaspar: Two years in July.
Comp Blog: What does your day-to-day look like in your job?
Dr. Gaspar: When in the office, I mainly sit at my desk and write code that cleans and analyzes large disability and medical claims data sets. I write blogs, research briefs, and academic papers about my research. I also either present at or attend occupational health conferences frequently.