The Promise and Peril of “Citizen Science”

The Promise and Peril of “Citizen Science” – and Why This Matters to Safety
Robert Emery, DrPH, CHP, CBSP, CIH, CSP, CHMM, CPP, ARM

The proliferation of personal electronic devices has resulted in an exponential expansion in the ability to rapidly gather and disseminate information – some accurate, some not so accurate, and some downright wrong. With virtually every member of the workforce and community now equipped with this technology, the notion of “citizen science” has expanded, wherein citizens and employees can collect and instantly transmit data and information about exposures and situations. While this technique holds great promise as a “force multiplier” to address various concerns, the technique is largely unfiltered and can result in the dissemination of misinformation, apprehension, and confusion. This presentation will discuss the evolution of “citizen science” and how it has changed with recent technological developments and then will provide a series of suggested steps for biosafety programs to take to proactively address the challenge.

Robert Emery, DrPH, CHP, CBSP, CIH, CSP, CHMM, CPP, ARM

Dr. Robert Emery is Vice President for Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Professor of Occupational Health at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Bob has over 30 years of experience in health & safety and holds master’s degrees in health physics and environmental sciences, and a doctorate in occupational health. Bob is unique in that he possesses national board certification and registration in all of the main areas of health & safety;

  • health physics [Certified Health Physicist, CHP],
  • industrial hygiene [Certified Industrial Hygienist, CIH],
  • biological safety [Certified Biological Safety Professional, CBSP],
  • occupational safety [Certified Safety Professional, CSP],
  • hazardous materials management [Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, CHMM],
  • security [Certified Protection Professional, CPP],
  • and risk management [Associate in Risk Management, ARM].

Bob is the author of over 50 peer-reviewed articles on practical health and safety topics and makes frequent presentations on such issues at the local, national, and international level.