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Public Health Dynamics Seminar Series

‘What’s Going Around’: Empowering Physicians with Epidemiological Intelligence

Ari Robicsek MDAri Robicsek, MD

Vice President of Clinical Analytics
Associate Chief Medical Information Officer
NorthShore University HealthSystem

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
3:00 – 4:00 PM
109 Parran Hall 


It has been suggested that epidemiological data could be of use to practicing physicians, helping them make more effective decisions regarding testing and treatment. However, it has been unclear how a platform to deliver such data to practicing clinicians might be realized. Challenges include the automation of data gathering and analysis, the creation of robust algorithms for syndromic detection based on electronic health record (EHR) data, the integration of model results back into an EHR and the development of a visualization that is intuitive and compelling. This talk will review how these problems were approached in the development on an EHR-based tool called ‘What’s Going Around’ that provides near real-time epidemiological intelligence to physicians on-demand and in-line with clinical workflows.


Apply to the 2014 MIDAS Summer Research Program

Summer Research Program

Computational Modeling and Simulation of Infectious Diseases

May 19 - July 25, 2014

  • Receive a 10-week summer research opportunity, including a competitive stipend
  • Participate in the excitement of scientific research
  • Work on interdisciplinary projects with senior mentors
  • Gain an appreciation for major research questions being raised at the intersection of biological sciences, public health, computer technology, and systems thinking
  • Receive housing and travel allowances, provided as needed

Open to undergraduate students from all disciplines who are currently enrolled and in good academic standing.

Apply now!

First Distinguished PHDL Seminar Series a Success!

On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, Joshua M. Epstein, Ph.D., presented as a Distinguished Speaker for the Public Health Dynamics Seminar Series.

The new Pitt Public Health auditorium was near full to capacity for the first Series’ Distinguished Speaker.  Dr. Epstein spoke for an hour about his upcoming book, "Agent Zero: Toward Neurocognitive Foundations for Generative Social Science." Pitt Public Health students earned Grand Round credits for attending the Seminar.

Pictured below are Dean Don S. Burke, MIDAS PI, and Dr. Joshua M. Epstein at the reception following the Seminar.

Dean Burke and Dr. Epstein








An archive of the Seminar will be available in 2014.

Project Tycho™ study estimates that 100 million cases of contagious diseases have been prevented by vaccination programs in the United States since 1924

Project Tycho™In a paper published November 28, 2013, in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled "Contagious diseases in the United States from 1888 to the Present", Project Tycho™ authors describe how U.S. disease surveillance data have been used to estimate that over 100 million cases have been prevented by vaccination programs against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Vaccination programs against these diseases have been in place for over decades but epidemics continue to occur. Despite the availability of a pertussis vaccine since the 1920s, the largest pertussis epidemic in the U.S. since 1959 occurred last year. This study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health and all data used for this study have been released through the online Project Tycho™ data system (www.tycho.pitt.edu). "Historical records are a precious yet undervalued resource. As Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, we live forward but understand backward," explained Dr. Donald Burke, senior author on the paper. "By 'rescuing' these historical disease data and combining them into a single, open-access, computable system, we can now better understand the devastating impact of epidemic diseases, and the remarkable value of vaccines in preventing illness and death."

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