Over the past fifteen years, Internet technology has significantly changed the landscape of public health surveillance and epidemic intelligence gathering. Disease and outbreak data is disseminated not only through formal online announcements by government agencies, but also through informal channels such as social networking sites, blogs, chat rooms, Web searches, local news media and crowdsourcing platforms. These data streams have been credited with decreasing the time between an outbreak and formal recognition of an outbreak, allowing for an expedited response to the public health threat. Collectively, these online sources create an image of global public health that is fundamentally different from the one produced by a traditional public health surveillance infrastructure. Dr. Brownstein will discuss the current capabilities and future directions in the use of the nontraditional data sources for the purposes of public health surveillance and rapid detection of emerging infectious diseases.
About the Speaker:
John Brownstein, PhD is a Professor at Harvard Medical School and is Chief Innovation Officer of Boston Children’s Hospital. He also directs the Computational Epidemiology Group at the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program in Boston. He was trained as an epidemiologist at Yale University. Overall, his research agenda aims to have translation impact on the surveillance, control and prevention of disease. He has been at the forefront of the development and application of public health surveillance including HealthMap.org, an internet-based global infectious disease intelligence system. The system is used by millions each year, including the CDC, WHO, DHS, DOD, HHS, and EU, and has been recognized by the National Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. Dr. Brownstein has advised the World Health Organization, Institute of Medicine, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the White House on real-time public health surveillance. He was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government to outstanding scientists and engineers. Dr. Brownstein is also Co-Founder of UberHEALTH, a collaboration between the Vaccine Finder project, also Co-Founded by Dr. Brownstein, and the logistics company Uber. He has authored over 150 peer-reviewed articles on epidemiology and public health. This work has been reported widely including pieces in the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, National Public Radio and the BBC.