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Project Tycho™ Bridges Statisticians and Public Health Practice Professionals in Disease Surveillance

Project Tycho logoIn August, MIDAS’ Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis presented a session at the 2014 Joint Statistical Meetings in Boston, MA. With his invited co-panelists and co-authors, van Panhuis presented “Bridging Statisticians with Public Health Practice Professionals in Disease Surveillance.” The session addressed the lack of agreement among the disease surveillance community on preferred technical methods for public health data monitoring. The authors specified problems routinely facing public health professionals and suggested methods to facilitate sharing of data and solution methods (e.g. Use case needs include data quality checking, anomaly detection, disaster and special event surveillance, and follow-up investigation). Speakers discussed problems generated by monitoring agencies and also datasets for use by the research community. The session featured the Univ. Pittsburgh School of Public Health's Project Tycho, created "to help launch a movement for open access to spatially and temporally granular public health data from around the world." Dataset generation methods including simulation and perturbation methods were also discussed along with use case problem challenges.


Stats in Action: Infectious Diseases

Scientists use American Community Survey statistics to simulate the spread of disease, allowing decision-makers to prepare for the next potential outbreak. Dr. Irene Eckstrand from the National Institutes of Health, and Bill Wheaton from RTI International, use the ACS data to create "synthetic" populations and determine the effect of disease transmission. FRED uses the synthetic populations developed by RTI International as part of the MIDAS project.

Agent_Zero: Joshua Epstein's New Book Published

Agent_Zero"In this pioneering synthesis, Joshua Epstein introduces a new theoretical entity: Agent_Zero. This software individual, or "agent," is endowed with distinct emotional/affective, cognitive/deliberative, and social modules. Grounded in contemporary neuroscience, these internal components interact to generate observed, often far-from-rational, individual behavior. When multiple agents of this new type move and interact spatially, they collectively generate an astonishing range of dynamics spanning the fields of social conflict, psychology, public health, law, network science, and economics."

- The Princeton University Press

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MIDAS creates awareness, provides hands-on experience, and builds bridges for public health decision support tools at Preparedness Summit

NACCHO Preparedness SummitA full day workshop, “Hands On Experience with MIDAS Decision Support Tools” was presented to public health practitioners and others at the 2014 Public Health Preparedness Summit.

For 10 years, the NIGMS Modeling of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) has brought together the world’s leading computational modeling experts to help prepare our nation for a wide array of public health issues. Over this time MIDAS teams have worked with local, state, and national stakeholders to create a number of sophisticated, user-focused tools that are ready to use in decision support. Computational modeling has become a crucial component of public health and healthcare preparedness, and in the spirit of the summit’s theme, creating awareness and preliminary training in these tools will do much to continuing to build bridges between the modeling and public health communities, indeed making us “Stronger Together”.

The workshop starts with introductory talks to create awareness of the cadre of tools that are being developed in MIDAS, allowing in-depth presentations about specific tools. There will then be an hour of hands-on interactive demonstrations where participants will be encouraged to use the tools and speak with the developers. The workshop concludes with in-depth one-on-one sessions with the developers. This last component will allow the participants to deep-dive into the tools that are of most interest to them and begin the process of building a relationship with the developer that will continue beyond the summit.

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