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Universal Paid Sick Leave Would Reduce Spread of Flu

Supriya2Allowing all employees paid sick days would reduce influenza in the workplace, according to an analysis by Pitt researchers, including postdoctoral associate Supriya Kumar.


PHDL highlighted in Pitt Public Health Magazine

Dean Donald Burke's visit to the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation is detailed in the Fall 2012/Winter 2013 issue of Pitt Public Health Magazine. Dean Burke, also the UPMC-Jonas Salk Chair in Global Health, continues Salk's work in protecting the world from infectious disease threats. He does this in large part through leadership of the Public Health Dynamics Lab (PHDL). Read more about the PHDL in "Legacy in the Lab: Vaccine Work Continues at Pitt Public Health" on page 19 of the online magazine at

PHDL member selected as CTSI Clinical Research Scholar

Jagpreet ChhatwalJagpreet Chhatwal, PHDL member and Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Management has been selected as one of the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Clinical Research Scholars. This award is funded through the NIH Institutional KL2 program. Under this multidisciplinary career development award, Dr. Chhatwal will develop computational models to evaluate the optimal treatment and screening strategies for hepatitis C in the era of direct-acting antivirals. Dr. Mark Roberts (Chair, HPM) and Dr. John Grefenstette (Director, Public Health Dynamics Lab) will serve as primary mentors to Dr. Chhatwal.


Institute for Systems Science and Health 2011

The Institute for Systems Science and Health


The Public Health Dynamics Laboratory hosted the 3rd Annual NIH-CDC Institute on Systems Science and Health (ISSH) at the University of Pittsburgh, May 22-27, 2011. ISSH 2011 was a week-long course providing a thorough introduction to selected systems science methodologies that may be used to study behavioral and social dimensions of public health challenges.


After a highly competitive applications process, 45 participants were selected for one of the following three tracks:
  • Agent-Based Modeling (led by John Grefenstette, Shawn Brown, and Bruce Lee, University of Pittsburgh)

  • System Dynamics Modeling (led by Hazhir Rahmandad, Virginia Tech)

  • Network Analysis (led by Steve Borgatti, University of Kentucky)

The participants spent six days in Pittsburgh, participating in intensive small-group training sessions and attending lectures from leading researchers on a variety of topics pertaining to systems science. The objective of ISSH is to provide training for investigators who have had little or no formal training in systems science gain a base of knowledge that will enable them to develop proposals to the NIH and CDC for research projects to improve population health and health equity.


ISSH is sponsored by the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research in partnership with the CDC Syndemics Prevention Network. For further information, see the ISSH web site or contact: Patty Mabry, NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; 301-402-1753).


Conference on Epistemology of Modeling and Simulation

The Conference on Epistemology of Modeling and Simulation was held on Pittsburgh on April 1-3, 2011. The Conference was supported by the University of Pittsburgh Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) National Center of Excellence, and focused on philosophical issues that arise within the practice and application of contemporary research using modeling and simulation. The goal of this event was to bring together sophisticated work in philosophy of science and on-going efforts in modeling in order to build more effective collaboration between philosophers of science and those who build and employ models in a range of disciplines and applications.

Topics included:

  • The scientific status of computational techniques
  • Does simulation require a new epistemology?
  • The role of theory, experiment, model and simulation
  • Varieties and purposes of scientific simulation
  • Analytic modeling versus computer simulation
  • Problems of juggling multiple and competing models
  • How do models fail?
  • Validation and verification of models and simulations
  • Promises and pitfalls of large, detailed and realistic models

Click here for detailed information the the Conference Program.


Dr. Eunha Shim Joins PHDL Faculty

EunhaJuly 15, 2010: The Public Health Dynamics Lab is pleased to announce that Dr. Eunha Shim has joined the Lab. Dr. Shim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology. She received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Arizona State University in March 2007. She recently served as a Postdoctoral Associate and then as an Associate Research Scientist at Yale University in Dr. Alison Galvani's lab, working on modeling the transmission of infectious diseases and intervention strategies with a special focus on behavioral science.  Dr. Shim's research interests are in mathematical biology, especially modeling infectious diseases, pathogen evolution and the application of game theory. Dr. Shim's research employs mathematics to create qualitative and quantitative predictions of epidemiology and evolutionary problems. Dr. Shim's work often uses interdisciplinary approaches, integrating epidemiology, behavioral science, mathematics, and economics. Currently, Dr. Shim's studies consist of a variety of subjects, from more theoretical work (e.g. the pathogens' strategies to increase transmission fitness and the impact of asymptomatic malaria on the evolution of resistance) to more practical projects on influenza. Dr. Shim's recent studies include optimal H1N1 vaccination strategies from individual versus community perspectives, and social distancing during pandemic influenza.

Eunha's research areas include:

  • Modeling and simulation of health-related behaviors and health disparities
  • Game theoretical application to epidemiological modeling
  • Evolution of infectious diseases

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