PHDL Hosts Modeling Workshop for Indian Health Researchers
In December 2016, the PHDL hosted a one-week workshop titled "Empowering Indian Health Researchers with Computational Modeling Tools". The goal of this Fogarty Institute, NIH funded initiative is to enhance evidence-based, data-driven decision-making in India through innovations in information and communication technology.
Six researchers from India participated in the workshop, a collaboration between SHARE INDIA/MediCiti Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, and the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh. The workshop was designed to train Indian health researchers in simulation and modeling for public health decision support. The week focused on hands-on-training in the use and application of FRED (Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics), an open source modeling system, along with other tools developed by the PHDL. On the final day of the workshop, each trainee presented a funding proposal for a research question of interest with research to continue following return to India.
Meet the Newest Members of the PHDL Team
From across the pond, David Sinclair, PhD, has joined the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health as a postdoctoral associate/programmer. David received a Master of Physics from Durham University, UK, and recently completed a PhD in Physics (Astrophysics) at the University of Oxford. His research there focused on simulating and analyzing the performance of a complex radio telescope using algorithm design and large-volume data analysis. He has an extensive computational background, including creating signal processing algorithms for hardware.
Tejaswi Anantaraju, MS, MBA, joins the Project Tycho team at the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Tejaswi received a MS in Information Technologies from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and an MBA from Osmania University in India. He has extensive experience designing and implementing Java based e-Business/e-Commerce applications, including a web service for the Bank of New York Mellon stakeholders, along with a strong business analytics background.
Opioid Epidemic Forecasting
Since 2000, almost half a million Americans have died from drug overdoses. This modern plague—largely driven by opioid addiction—degrades health, saps productivity, spawns crime, and devastates families, all at enormous societal cost. How did we get here, and what do we do now? In the November 4 issue of Science, Dr. Donald Burke, Dean, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, discusses how a coordinated national opioid epidemic modeling program may help to solve this complex problem.
NIH-Fogarty Grants Train Indian Researchers on Modeling
The PHDL is collaborating with SHARE-India and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) Institute of Public Health in Hyderabad to train Indian researchers in simulation and modeling. Funded by the Fogarty Institute, NIH, the goal of the initiative, "Empowering Indian Health Researchers with Computational Modeling Tools," is to enhance evidence-based, data-driven decision-making in India through innovations in information and communication technology. As part of this program, we organized an International Symposium on Health Analytics and Disease Modeling in Hyderabad, India.
Michelle Dunn from NIH BD2K Visits University of Pittsburgh
Data science is increasingly necessary for biomedical science and requires established leadership and increased funds for research and training. This was the message of the first lecture of the 2016-2017 PHDL Seminar Series by guest speaker, Dr. Michelle Dunn, Senior Advisor of Data Science Training, Diversity and Outreach, Office of the Associate Director for Data Science (ADDS) at the National Institutes of Health.
On September 12th, over 130 people attended Dr. Dunn's lecture at the University Club in Pittsburgh, sponsored by the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL), University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health. She described a major trans-NIH program, the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative, led by the NIH ADDS Office, as well as the additional efforts toward enabling the efficient management of biomedical Big Data. Among the aims of the BD2K Initiative are to increase training and funding for research grants and support of a data ecosystem that accelerates discovery as part of a digital enterprise. Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis, lead researcher of Project Tycho, received a BD2K training grant in 2015 which will build on Project Tycho as a global scale population health information system, improving the use of information to counter epidemic threats around the world.
For more information on Dr. Dunn's lecture and the information exchange, visit the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory Seminar Series page.
New Post-doctoral Associate Joins the PHDL
The Public Health Dynamics Laboratory is pleased to introduce Angel Paternina, MD, MSc, who has joined the department of Health Policy and Management as a post-doctoral associate. Dr. Paternina will work to develop a research program on the acquisition, integration and analysis of public health data to expand Project Tycho into a global, open access resource. His work will also include development of new analytical methods to visualize large scale disease data to detect patterns of associations between disease transmission and climate/demographic determinants.
Dr. Paternina earned his MD degree from the University of Cartagena, Colombia, and his MSc in Clinical Epidemiology from the National University of Colombia. He started his global health work in his native Colombia by studying the impact of rotavirus vaccination on child disease, reporting the effectiveness, impact and cost-effectiveness of the rotavirus vaccine to prevent rotavirus diarrheal disease and deaths in Colombia, Latin America and low and middle income countries worldwide. Since then, he has focused his research on the impact of different interventions in children and special populations, assessing in Colombia the cost-effectiveness of the varicella vaccine in children, HAART in HIV/AIDS population, mass pneumococcal vaccination in the elderly population, and the burden of H1N1 in pregnant women in Colombia during the pandemic. Currently, Dr. Paternina is an expert collaborator for the Global Burden of Disease study with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and is working with researchers from Latin America to identify the severity profile of some vector-borne diseases in Colombian children, including dengue and chikungunya.