What Defines Us as Professionals in the Field of Risk Analysis? (Englisch)

in Risk analysis ; 37 , 5 ; 854-860
Blackwell Publ , Malden, Mass. [u.a.]; 2017

In a recent issue of Risk Analysis , the then‐President of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), Pamela Williams, has some interesting reflections about the risk analysis field. She states that the ability and desire to tackle difficult problems using a risk analytical approach is what uniquely defines us as professionals in the field of risk analysis. The point of departure for her discussion is interviews with the plenary speakers of the 2014 SRA Annual Meeting, who addressed two divisive topics: hydraulic fracking and marijuana use. She points to several themes that invite contributions from the field of risk analysis, including: Has the full spectrum of potential risks and benefits been identified and weighted, and what are the risk tradeoffs or countervailing risks? Inspired by Williams's reflections, and by analyzing the issues raised in the interviews, this article seeks to clarify what our field is really providing. A main conclusion of the article is that it is essential to acknowledge that professionals in the field of risk analysis merely support the tackling of such problems, and that their genuine competence—that which distinguishes them from other professionals—lies in the risk analytical approach itself.

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