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How can we use computers to monitor the spread of diseases?

Elaine Nsoesie, Ph.D.

January 27, 2018
An interactive session led by Elaine Nsoesie, Ph.D.

Dr. Elaine Nsoesie is an assistant professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. She was trained as a Computational Epidemiologist through the Virginia Tech Genetics, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program and the Biocomplexity Institute at Virginia Tech. She has a BS in Mathematics from the University of Maryland and a MS in Statistics from Virginia Tech. Her research is focused on the use of digital data and technology to improve health.

Many people around the world use the Internet and mobile devices to communicate with each other. The information can help us to track the spread of a disease through a population. For example, suppose several people start having stomach ache and diarrhea. These people share their symptoms with their friends publicly on social media. Public health officials can contact the sick people to get more information which they can use to track the origin of the infection (a restaurant everyone ate at) and prevent other people from getting sick. In this interactive session, we will use computers and mathematical models to demonstrate and learn how we can use digital technology to track the spread of diseases.