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Methods: Mind the Gap

Webinar Series

Regression Discontinuity Designs in Public Health Research

September 27, 2018
Jacob Bor, Sc.D., S.M.
Jacob Bor, Sc.D., S.M.

Assistant Professor
Peter T. Paul Career Development Professor
Departments of Global Health and Epidemiology
Boston University School of Public Health

View the Webinar

About the Webinar

Regression discontinuity designs offer an internally valid approach for causal inference without need for randomization. Regression discontinuity designs can be implemented when an exposure is assigned at least in part based on a threshold rule: the party with > 50% of the votes wins in a two-party election; the HIV patient with a CD4 count below 500 cells is offered therapy; residents downstream of a point pollution source swim in contaminated water. Historically, regression discontinuity designs have been underutilized in public health and medical research. However, the last few years have seen burgeoning use of this method.

The presentation reviews the theory behind regression discontinuity designs and their implementation, with a focus on examples in public health research.

About Jacob Bor

Dr. Bor is Assistant Professor and Peter T. Paul Career Development Professor in the Departments of Global Health and Epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health. His research applies the analytical tools of economics and data science to the study of population health, with a focus on HIV treatment and prevention in southern Africa.

Current research interests include chronic disease management in low-resource settings; economic spillover effects of HIV treatment; decision-making in HIV-endemic risk environments; population health impacts of social policy; and causal inference in public health research. His work has been published in Science, The Lancet, PLOS Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Affairs.

Prior to his graduate training at Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Bor worked with an HIV-prevention NGO in Botswana, Lesotho, and South Africa. He is a faculty affiliate of Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center and junior faculty fellow at its Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering.

He is a senior researcher at the Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office and a visiting researcher at the Africa Health Research Institute, both in South Africa.

Dr. Bor was also ODP's 2018 Early-Stage Investigator Lecture winner