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Epidemiology & Exposure Science

Do you need to understand health outcomes from occupational and environmental exposures?

If you need to evaluate the relationship between certain exposures of individuals or a population and the disease outcomes that result, epidemiologic studies and biostatistics can provide needed insights.

ORAU’s experts provide evaluation of the exposure-disease relationship through health surveillance programs, independent, scientific investigations, health risk assessments and large cohort studies to inform human health protections procedures and policies.

Our team of epidemiologists, biostatisticians, health physicists, industrial hygienists and toxicologists offer comprehensive expertise in epidemiologic studies of occupational exposures and health. This includes study design, surveys, data capture and historical document retrieval, comprehensive literature reviews, data exploration and health data analytics.

We are highly specialized in the knowledge of radiological and beryllium exposures based on a long history and unique depth of experience with occupational and environmental health studies on these contaminants. We have also developed significant capability in understanding health outcomes from titanium dioxide and other chemical exposures.

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    What is Total Exposure Health?

    Total Exposure Health is the evaluation of an individual’s workplace exposures, as well as lifestyle, environmental, and other exposures, so that the total health and wellbeing of that person can be more positively impacted through integrated health protection and promotion initiatives. The National Supplemental Screening Program (NSSP) provides exposure-based medical exams, tests, and procedures to identify medical conditions of both occupational and non-occupational origin.

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    What is occupational epidemiology?

    Occupational epidemiology describes the study of worker populations and workplace exposures, generally chemical, biological or physical (e.g., noise, heat, radiation) agents, to evaluate the risk of adverse health outcomes.

  • ORAU epidemiology staff member reviewing data

    What is biostatistics?

    Biostatistics involves the design, analysis, and interpretation of data to help answer important questions in medicine, public health and biology. Such questions include what exposures or other factors contribute to development of cancer and other diseases, how long a person with a certain illness is likely to survive, or whether a new drug or treatment protocol is effective.

What we offer

  • Independent scientific investigations
  • Epidemiologic study design and protocols
  • Comprehensive literature reviews
  • Health surveys and surveillance programs
  • Data capture, collection and management
  • Health data exploration and analytics
  • Biostatistical modeling
  • Advanced statistical methods
  • Expertise in statistical software: SAS, SPSS, R, Epicure
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    Bridging the gap to Total Exposure Health

    Learn how ORAU's subject matter experts continue to provide thought leadership on Total Exposure Health and apply that knowledge through the multiple programs we manage and laboratory facilities we operate.

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  • Military tank and fire associated with burn pits

    Burn pit registries help researchers understand exposure/disease relationships

    During their deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, many military service members were exposed to a variety of toxic substances as a result of the smoke, fumes and particulates generated from large, open-air burn pits. These burn pits were located on or near military sites to burn trash that may have included large amounts of plastic, tires, chemicals, medical waste and other refuse that likely emitted toxic compounds into the air.

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Customers we serve

  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  • NASA 
  • Chemours
  • DuPont

Our Experts

Donna Cragle

Donna Cragle, Ph.D.

Expertise: Occupational epidemiology, design and implementation of large-scale worker health studies and programs, manages a program of more than 200 experts and professionals

  • Adjunct faculty, University of Tennessee
  • Lead epidemiologist/founder of beryllium lymphocyte proliferation testing at ORAU
  • Management advisor, ORAU Team providing dose reconstructions to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act
  • Director, National Supplemental Screening Program providing media screening to former U.S. Department of Energy workers nationwide
  • Lead epidemiologist, medical screening program for residents affected by TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash spill
Betsy Ellis

Betsy Ellis, Ph.D.

Expertise: Occupational epidemiology, radiation epidemiology, ethics of use of human participants in research

  • Member, Task Group 64 Cancer Risk from Alpha Radiation, International Commission on Radiological Protection
  • Chair, Oak Ridge Side-Wide Institutional Review Board
  • Vice Chair, Central DOE Institutional Review Board
  • Presenter, Health Physics Society Annual Meeting, July 2017
  • Presenter, Radiation Research Society Meeting, October 2016
Ashley Golden

Ashley Golden, Ph.D.

Expertise: Biostatistics, epidemiology, radiation exposure, occupational health

  • Awardee: Early Stage Radiation Investigator Award, Conference on Radiation and Health and Radiation Research Society, October 2016
  • Presenter, International Symposium on Epidemiology in Occupational Health, Edinburgh, Scotland, August 2017
  • Presenter, Health Physics Society Annual Meeting, July 2017
  • Presenter, American Public Health Association, November 2016
  • Reviewer, Health Physics Journal, NCRP technical reports, and PLOS One Journal

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ORAU Epidemiology & Exposure Science Fact Sheet


ORAU provides subject matter expertise in epidemiology and exposure science to understand and address health impacts to workers, the public, and the environment.

Download the ORAU Epidemiology & Exposure Science fact sheet (.pdf). 

Contact us

For more information or to request support with epidemiology or exposure science studies, contact Dr. Ashley Golden at 865.241.3744,, or Dr. Betsy Ellis at 865.576.3528,

For more information about contracting with ORAU, contact Dominic Moro at 865.241.1446 or