Fall 2018 NAACCR Narrative Leave a comment

It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the passing of Dr. Donald Austin (November 1, 1937, to October 21, 2018), due to ALS. Donald F. Austin, MD, MS (OHSU), MPH (UC Berkeley) was an Emeritus professor in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, in Portland, Oregon.

He spent three decades in state and federal health agencies conducting disease surveillance and analysis, disease investigations and research. He co-authored Causal Inference in Epidemiology: A Practical Approach, with John Stull, William Lambert and David Buckley. Epidemiologic research included the effect of industrial air pollution on lung cancer risk, the exposures responsible for an excess of malignant melanoma in a nuclear energy research facility, the effect of drinking and smoking on oral cancer and the characteristics of an epidemic of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women. As adjunct faculty of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics program at Univ. of Calif, Berkeley, he helped design the first course on the use of epidemiology in the assessment of causation. In 1993, he helped design and teach the epidemiology curriculum for the Oregon MPH Program. He taught the epidemiology course on causation at both UCB and OHSU for over 20 years. In addition, Dr. Austin consulted and testified as an expert in many lawsuits on the issue of causation.

Much of his professional career was involved in the design, operation and use of central cancer registries. He designed and implemented the statewide cancer reporting system in California, advised on the Kentucky and Vermont registries, and was the “father” of OSCaR, the Oregon cancer registry. He was the founding President of NAACCR—back when it was only AACCR, and the Canadian registries were included in our organization in the 2nd year of his leadership. He also worked to draft the federal legislation establishing NPCR.

Don is remembered for making the work a better place as a public health “Rockstar,” professor. He was also a curious pioneer, dancer, songwriter, and poet. And for so many of us in the cancer surveillance community, he was a mentor and a friend.

For several months before Don’s death, he was able to celebrate his life with colleagues, friends and family. Donations to the ALS Association Oregon and SW Washington Chapter would be appreciated. Don will continue to teach having donated his body to the OHSU body donation program.

There will a Celebration of Life for Don March 24, 2019.
Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits

 

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