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Fall 2018 Modeling Conference and Workshop

A Modeling Social Dynamics and Health Behavior Conference will be sponsored by The Center for Social Dynamics & Community Health, the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Pittsburgh on Friday, October 26, 2018. This conference will bring together national leaders from across the country to discuss the integration of modeling approaches into the field of behavior and community health sciences. Through panel discussions and breakout sessions, attendees will learn about existing research, discuss associated challenges and opportunities, and chart a path forward for this emerging field. Keynote speaker will be Thomas W. Valente, PhD, Professor of Preventive Medicine, Institute for Prevention Research, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.

A half-day pre-conference modeling workshop will be hosted at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health on Thursday, October 25, 2018. The workshop will highlight modeling using the Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics (FRED), an agent-based modeling and simulation platform.

There no is cost and registration will be required for both events. More information will be available in the next several weeks. Click here to read the Save the Date announcement.

Project Tycho Version 2.0

Project Tycho 2.0 has become a repository for global health data in a standardized format that is more compliant with FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) guidelines. The Project Tycho team continues to conduct research in the areas of infectious disease epidemiology and global health informatics, but also provides services to help health agencies and researchers to improve access and use of global health data.

In 2013, the first version of Project Tycho was released containing weekly case counts for 50 notifiable conditions reported by health agencies in the United States for 50 states and 1284 cities between 1888 and 2014. Over the past four years, over 3,000 users have registered to use Project Tycho data for a total of 40 creative works, including peer-reviewed research papers, visualizations, online applications, and newspaper articles.

The second version of Project Tycho has expanded its scope to a global level. The database now includes more data and is more extensively standardized. Project Tycho 2.0 includes case counts for 28 additional notifiable conditions for the US and includes data for dengue-related conditions for 100 countries between 1955 and 2010, obtained from the World Health Organization and national health agencies. Project Tycho 2.0 datasets are represented in a standard format registered with FAIRsharing (bsg-s000718) and includes standard codes to help integrate Project Tycho datasets with other datasets.

In addition to the data, the Project Tycho website ( has been updated. More features will be added in the near future for an optimal user experience.

PHDL Faculty New Head of Machine Learning at CMU

Roni RosenfeldRoni Rosenfeld, PhD, an expert in Language Technologies, Machine Learning, Computer Science and Computational Biology, has been appointed Head of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) School of Computer Science. Dr. Rosenfeld is a faculty member of the PHDL at Pitt Public Health and an investigator for the University of Pittsburgh's MIDAS Center of Excellence. He is head of CMU's Delphi Research Group which selects high value epidemiological forecasting targets (currently Influenza and Dengue), creates baseline forecasting methods, establishes metrics for measuring and tracking forecasting accuracy, estimates the limits of forecastability for each target, and identifies new sources of data that could be helpful to the forecasting goal.

PHDL Director Speaks at Texas State Capitol

On May 2, 2018, Mark Roberts, MD, MPP, spoke to House and Senate members and staff at the Texas State Capitol as part of the Immunization Policy Series sponsored by The Texas Pediatric Society in collaboration with The Immunization Partnership and the Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. Using FRED, Dr. Roberts demonstrated what a measles outbreak would look like in various Texas legislative districts and discussed:

  • Vaccine preventable diseases making a comeback and why this is dangerous;
  • How each district could be impacted;
  • How does community immunity work and how constituents would fare in an outbreak.

Click here for more information.

 Brought to you by The Texas Pediatric Society in collaboration with The Immunization Partnership and Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.

Computational Methods and a Healthy Community

year of healthy uOn March 21, 2018, Donald S. Burke, MD, Dean, Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh moderated a two-hour panel discussion on "Computational Methods for Fostering a Healthy Community". Topics discussed included mathematical and computational methods in biomedicine, using simulation for public health and emergency planning, and large-scale data analysis in global health. The panelists were Martin Nowak, Harvard; Gilles Clermont, Pitt School of Medicine; David Galloway, Pitt Public Health/PHDL; and Wilbert van Panhuis, Pitt Public Health/PHDL.

The event was held at the University of Pittsburgh and was part of the University's "Year of the Healthy U".

India 2018 Workshop and Symposium

PHD2018 groupThe Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health co-sponsored with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and SHARE India a three-day Public Health Dynamics Workshop (PHD 2018) held March 5-7 in New Delhi, India. The workshop was partially supported by a U.S. Fogarty International Center eCapacity educational grant that helps to build disease modeling capabilities in India. The workshop focused on the use of FRED (FRamework for Epidemiological Dynamics), an agent-based modeling program developed at the PHDL. In addition to FRED, other types of disease modeling programs were discussed including disease clustering, data standardization, access and integration for epidemic modeling, and spatial microsimulation.

Symposium groupIn conjunction with the workshop, the PHDL jointly organized with the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Medical Statistics (ICMR-NIMS) and SHARE India, an International Symposium on Health Analytics and Disease Modeling (HADM 2018) held March 8-9 in New Delhi, India. This is the fourth in a series of such events organized by the PHDL in partnership with India institutions. Renowned speakers from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Vietnam and India presented their research on topics covering infectious and non-communicable disease models, immune system modeling, and vaccine and surveillance data analytics, among others.

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