Assistant Professor Shawn Brown Awarded 2011 PHASYS Pilot Grant

The GSPH Public Health Adaptive Systems Studies (PHASYS) is pleased to announce the 2011 Pilot Study recipient is Shawn T. Brown, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics, and research fellow of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. He is awarded for his study “The Geospatial Area and Information Analyzer (GAIA), a visualization tool for understanding emergency preparedness through geospatial analysis.”

PHASYS, a five year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention located in the GSPH Center for Public Health Practice, conducts research to develop, test, and apply criteria and metrics for measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of preparedness and emergency response to hazards with public health consequences. Each year, PHASYS seeks applications for pilot studies that expand the research capability of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in the field of public health systems research, with a strong focus on preparedness.

One of the missions of the PHASYS project is to provide a deeper understanding and quantification of emergency preparedness capability, and the ability to map and model such capability geospatially is critical. As part of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Modeling Infectious Disease Agent Study, Brown’s group has been developing the Geospatial Area and Information Analyzer to create information based visualization for public health. As part of PHASYS Arm 1’s Public Health Systems Indicators Project, Luis Duran has augmented the National Association of County and City Health Officials 2008 Survey of Local Health Departments and done preliminary mapping of the data, creating the PHASYS Arm 1 Local Health Departments Preparedness dataset. In Brown’s pilot study, an interactive, web-based application of Duran’s dataset will be created to provide a dynamic information-based presentation for public health officials to explore this resource. The application will give public health officials, researchers, and the general public the capability to explore this important dataset visually and geographically, providing an intuitive way to interact with the information.


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