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PHDL Faculty Member Wins Funding for Innovative Teaching Proposal

Christina Mair, PhDProjects that show the most promise in introducing innovative approaches to teaching are selected each year by the Office of the Provost's Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence. Christina Mair, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, was one of seven winning teaching proposals that received funding as part of Pitt's 2017 Innovation in Education Awards Program. Her project will enhance Pitt's multilevel statistical modeling course using Panopto to create out-of-class videos and Solstice to enhance in-class activities.

City of Pittsburgh Prepares for a Severe Air Quality Incident Using Predictive Analytics Technology

mark robertsThe City of Pittsburgh was joined Monday by representatives from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Intermedix to host an emergency preparedness resilience workshop as a part of the ONEPGH initiative, which is a partnership with 100 Resilient Cities- Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation.

The three organizations put on a daylong workshop at the university aimed at exploring how emergency response technology would work with predictive simulations to prepare the region for an air quality combined with a heat wave disaster of the magnitude of the killer Donora smog event in 1948.

"Through public engagements as part of ONEPGH, we recognize that air quality is one of the primary stressors facing the region," said Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Pittsburgh. "In talking with emergency response professionals, some of their concerns center around the question of what happens when normal events occur simultaneously to create cascading effects that put strains on systems. What we aim to do is model a historical event, like the Donora smog, and place it in a modern context."

The university's model, FRED, is a simulation technology initially created to predict the dynamics of infectious disease epidemics and the interacting effects of mitigation strategies, viral evolution and personal health behavior that has since been expanded to include many non-infectious diseases, as well as social and environmental factors that affect health.

Read more at the Journal of Emergency Medical Services...

PHDL Hosts Second Modeling Workshop for Indian Researchers

In April 2017, the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) hosted three researchers, Saumyadipta Pyne, Meghana Aruru and Rashmi Pant from Hyderabad, India, for a three-day training workshop. This was the second of two workshops designed to train the Indian researchers in modeling and simulation for public health decision support in India. The focus was on hands-on-training in the use and application of FRED (Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics), an open source modeling system, as well as other tools developed by the PHDL. This 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, was part of an R25 award,"Empowering Indian Researchers with Computational Modeling Tools", supported by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health.

Group photo
Front row (left to right): Rashmi Pant, Mary Krauland, Joanne Russell
Middle row (left to right): Jammy Rahesh, Saumyadipta Pyne, Meghana Aruru, Clare Bunker, Supriya Kumar
Back row (left to right): John Grefenstette, Dean Donald Burke, David Galloway, Bob Frankeny
 
Rashmi PantSaumyadipta PyneMeghana Aruru
The researchers receive recognition for their participation in the training workshop.
 

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.

Group photo International Symposium on Health Analytics and Disease Modeling

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

David Sinclair, PhDFrom 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, MBATejaswi 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

image002Since 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.

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