The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced a new center designed to advance the use of forecasting and outbreak analytics in public health decision making.
In a news release, officials said the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics will bring together next-generation public health data, expert disease modelers, public health emergency responders, and high-quality communications, to meet the needs of decision makers.
The center launches with a goal of predicting disease threats, provide early warning and real-time data on outbreaks.
Health officials said it would accelerate access to and use of data for public health decision makers who need information to mitigate the effects of disease threats, such as social and economic disruption.
The center will prioritize equity and accessibility, while serving as a hub for innovation and research on disease modeling.
“This is an amazing opportunity or CDC and public health as we stand up the country’s first government-wide public health forecasting center,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky.
“We are excited to have the expertise and ability to model and forecast public health concerns and share information in real-time to activate governmental, private sector, and public actions in anticipation of threats both domestically and abroad.”
The center, with initial funding from the American Rescue Plan, will focus on three key functions:
• Predict: Undertake modeling and forecasting; enhance the ability to determine the foundational data sources needed; support research and innovation in outbreak analytics and science for real-time action; and establish appropriate forecasting horizons.
• Connect: Expand broad capability for data sharing and integration; maximize interoperability with data standards and utilize open source software and application programming interface capabilities, with existing and new data streams from the public health eco- system and beyond.
• Inform: Translate and communicate forecasts; connect with key decision makers across sectors including government, businesses, and non-profits, along with individuals with strong intergovernmental affairs and communication capacity for action.
The new leadership team charged with the development and implementation of a plan to establish the center, includes:
• Dr. Marc Lipsitch, who will serve as Director for Science
• Dr. Dylan George, who will serve as Director for Operations
• Dr. Caitlin Rivers, who will serve as Associate Director
• Dr. Rebecca Kahn, who will serve as Senior Scientist a law to keep on the books.”
“I am thrilled to be joining an exceptional team at CDC to build new capabilities for the fight against pandemics,” Dr. George exclaimed in the news release.
“Pandemics threaten our families and communities at speed and scale – our response needs to move at speed and scale, too.”
Dr. George continued: “The Center will provide critical information to communities so we can respond efficiently and effectively. The U.S. desperately needs this capability, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help build it.”