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Innovators will develop new analytic methods and tools to support modeling efforts that will be used for public health decision support.

This includes:

  • Developing analytic tools and platforms by applying new (or enhanced) technologies or methodologies.
  • Producing innovative analytic products and output by using novel data or synthesizing diverse data.
  • Applying infectious disease modeling workforce development and training.

Innovator grants were awarded to Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC), Emory University, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Carnegie Mellon University, and Northeastern University.

Spotlight Work

Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) Department of Research and Evaluation will develop and test strategies to improve use of healthcare data for disease modeling and public health responses.

  • They will work in partnership with research teams at the University of California, Berkeley and University of California, San Francisco to develop new strategies of capturing data from US healthcare systems to use in outbreak modeling, creating more accurate, timely forecasts.
  • Public health and academic disease modelers usually rely on surveillance data to drive outbreak forecasting. This data takes significant time to gather, and often only includes cases with lab diagnoses. In contrast, healthcare system data is collected in real-time for all patients.
  • KPSC’s integrated healthcare delivery model, has more than 4.7 million members, will serve as an ideal system to test the rapid expansion of data collection to inform outbreak modeling.
  • Their vision is to lead a paradigm shift, so that healthcare organizations are more directly integrated into public health and academic research, to provide real-time health data, leading to better outbreak forecasting during coordinated public health responses.

Who are the innovators?

Carnegie Mellon University will innovate new analytical methods and tools, including nowcasting and disease outbreak forecasting, that will ultimately be used to provide information to state and local public health decision makers. Their Delphi research group is dedicated to developing the theory and practice of epidemic tracking and forecasting, with a long-term vision of making this technology as universally accepted and useful as weather forecasting is today. Their work incorporates collection and sharing unique data streams and indicators that reflect epidemic (or pandemic) activity, then using this data for nowcasting (situational awareness) and short-term forecasting. As a primary awardee, Carnegie Mellon will also collaborate with several key academic, private and public partners including: the University of California, Berkley; University of British Columbia; Optum; and Allegheny County Health Department.

Emory University will work with collaborators to harness innovative analytic methods and data streams and serve as a center for innovators to design, implement, and refine new and enhanced analytical tools, and provide training for multiple levels of the infectious disease epidemiology and modelling community. They will collaborate with Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, Emory Healthcare, Georgia Emerging Infections Program, Veterans Affairs Administration, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Grady Memorial Hospital.

KPSC research scientists, in partnership with academic modeling teams based at University of California, Berkeley and University of California, San Francisco will build on prior successes that used KPSC’s integrated healthcare delivery model with more than 4.7 million members will serve as an ideal system to test the rapid expansion of data collection to inform outbreak modeling, so that healthcare organizations are more directly integrated into public health and academic research.

Northeastern will work with collaborators to use new breakthroughs in machine learning, data access, and computational capacity to create a new generation of modeling methods, platforms and analytic tools. These new products will include comprehensive data integration from diverse sources such as wastewater, genomic data, and mobility data. They will be partnering with Boston University, Fred Hutchinson, Gingko Bioworks, Indiana University, Los Alamos National Lab, Maine Health, Northern Light Health, University of California, San Diego, and University of Florida.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and their collaborators will work to develop innovative modeling and analytic techniques, with an emphasis on developing approaches for novel routes of transmission. They will partner with Johns Hopkins University (JHU), University of Florida, JHU Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Maryland Department of Health, California Department of Public Health, Baltimore City Health Department, and the Navajo Epidemiology Center.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will also serve as the coordinator for the entire Insight net, working closely with CFA to coordinate the broader outbreak analytics and disease modeling network. In addition, they will work with CFA and other grantees to support the development and implementation of new modeling and forecasting activities across the U.S.