PhD student, Public Health and Health Systems

Amanda Doggett standing in front of a research poster.


PhD, Public Health and Health Systems 

Graduate supervisor

Scott Leatherdale

My thesis

Public health and population surveillance research depend on data gathered from surveys, but what happens when data are missing because survey questions go unanswered? In particular, height and weight data among youth go unreported at rates beyond most other metrics. I am using data from the COMPASS study – a longitudinal cohort study of youth in Canada – to examine the impact that missing height and weight data can have on youth body mass index (BMI) research. Nearly 30% of 74,000 youth from the 2018-19 COMPASS survey have missing BMI data. My research is examining what factors are associated with non-reporting of BMI data. I am also leveraging machine learning and other statistical approaches to explore how disparate research conclusions surrounding youth BMI may arise if missing data are ignored or mishandled, and what potential impact this could have on any policy and program recommendations made.

My time in the School of Public Health and Health Systems (SPHHS)

One of the things that has made my time in SPHHS so great is the supportive and approachable nature of the faculty members. I have had the chance to work with multiple faculty members on projects outside my dissertation, and find they are consistently willing and enthusiastic about helping me progress in my research career – whether that is providing feedback, passing along resources, or recommending new opportunities.

University of Waterloo