Collaborate with CFA

What to know

  • Through partnerships across sectors – including public, private, academic, and non-profit – CFA is revolutionizing public health through data analytics.
  • CFA uses cutting-edge data analytics to analyze infectious disease spread, anticipate how disease levels will change, and inform life-saving decisions.
A graphic depicting two people shaking hands.

Why collaborate with CFA?

Collaboration is a key part of our strategy and is central to our success. The Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA) is working to increase capacity within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for infectious disease modeling and forecasting, and to expand the field with innovative tools.

However, our true impact will be the extent to which our work provides actionable decision support to improve outbreak response at the national and the state, territorial, local, and tribal (STLT) levels. Through our Insight Net initiative and our external engagement team, we are strategizing about how to maximize our value.

We want and need your feedback and participation and encourage you to contact us with your comments. For even more engagement and insight into our work, subscribe to our quarterly newsletter, CFA's Forecast Broadcast. It provides first access to CFA external products and trainings, as well as ways to engage with the innovative work of CFA and partners.

What do CFA’s partners do?

CFA collaborates with partners from private, public, and non-profit sectors to provide timely, effective decision-making tools and improve outbreak response using data, modeling, and analytics.

Advancing modeling capabilities in jurisdictions

CFA has supported the development of a range of trainings, which aim to support STLT departments interested in using disease models and forecasts in outbreak response:

  • In collaboration with CFA, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) has launched a four-part Disease Forecasting Learning Series to provide state and territorial public health staff with an understanding of how forecasts can be used for decision making, workforce challenges and opportunities, and tips on communicating forecasts with the public and policymakers.
  • "Infectious Disease Modeling 101 for Public Health," available on the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists' (CSTE) CSTE Learn, introduces a public health audience to the fundamentals of infectious disease modeling and discusses ways that models can be used in applied public health.
  • CSTE also launched a peer-to-peer forecasting and modeling technical assistance program for STLT jurisdictions in March 2024. The program includes 14 state and local health departments this year.
  • The Coursera course, Infectious Disease Transmission Models for Decision-Makers, developed by Johns Hopkins University with funding from CFA, aims to provide a clear understanding of how infectious disease transmission models work and how they can be appropriately used to make decisions.

Partnering with public health organizations

CFA has partnered with several key public health organizations to advance the use of outbreak analytics and forecasting at the STLT levels. Below are some examples of work resulting from CFA's cooperative agreements with ASTHO, CSTE, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):

  • ASTHO, CSTE, NACCHO, and NCSL have facilitated bidirectional communication between CFA and health departments to ensure CFA's work is rooted in the priorities of STLT partners.
  • ASTHO and CSTE conducted regional meetings with jurisdictional partners to better understand interest in and capacity for disease forecasting and modeling at the STLT levels and to promote their effective use by public health decision makers during infectious disease outbreaks.
  • CSTE hosted a workshop on forecasting and modeling alongside its annual conference in 2023 (and will be hosting another in June 2024).
  • NACCHO has created a Disease Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics Community of Practice for local health departments (LHDs) to advance capabilities through collaborative learning. In addition, 15 LHDs receive funding and technical assistance to work on forecasting projects, and these LHDs practiced their skills during a tabletop outbreak simulation alongside the 2024 Preparedness Summit.
  • NCSL provides bipartisan policy research, training resources, and technical assistance tailored to the needs of their state legislators and legislative staff members, and produced and promoted both a podcast and a brief for their membership outlining how disease forecasting tools can support policymaking around disease outbreaks and epidemics.

Advancing the science of qualitative risk assessments

When quantitative data are limited, CFA applies qualitative risk assessment methods to rapidly assess the public health implications of an outbreak. For each assessment, CFA considers evidence underpinning risk, key uncertainties, and factors that could change the assessment – read more about CFA's risk assessment methods.

To improve how we assess infectious disease risks, CFA is building partnerships with the World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) – read more about CFA and PHAC's recent International Meeting on Risk Assessment and Communication.

Building Insight Net

CFA's Insight Net develops outbreak analytic solutions for public health organizations nationwide. Insight Net is made up of more than 100 private, public, and academic partners, and expands CDC's capacity to support state and local public health leaders. More than $100 million has been awarded to this network of Innovators, Integrators, and Implementers to develop, test, and implement outbreak analytic solutions for STLT health departments and other decision-makers across the country.