News

SRN Faculty Presents to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Convertino presenting in the PAHO conference room where all Ministry of Health of Americas meet
October 29, 2015

University of Minnesota assistant professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences and Institute on the Environment fellow, Matteo Convertino, was selected as one of sixteen teams to participate as a finalist in the “Integrating Prediction and Forecasting Models for Decision-Making: Dengue Epidemic Prediction” workshop in Washington D.C. on September 21, 2015. The workshop is the fourth in a series convened by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in support of the Predict the Next Pandemic (PtNP) Initiative. The workshop brought together federal and non-federal stakeholders to discuss the development and application of models for forecasting dengue epidemics, and contribute to the broader objective of applying prediction and forecasting models to support public health and national security decision-making. The top scoring teams in the dengue forecasting pilot program gathered to discuss their findings and capabilities in dengue forecasting.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) established the new interagency Pandemic Prediction and Forecasting Science and Technology (PPFST) Working Group to advance specific prediction and forecasting priorities in support of the PtNP initiative. The Dengue Forecasting Project was launched on June 5, 2015, with the announcement of key forecasting targets and data that could be used to develop forecasting models. Sixteen teams developed models and submitted final forecasts for evaluation by an interagency group comprised of experts at CDC, DoD, and NOAA. Activities with the selected teams will continue within the Predict the Next Pandemic (PtNP) Initiative, with follow-up work for Dengue and other infectious diseases. Following the Dengue forecast project Dr. Convertino has been invited to participate to the ’15/’16 Flu Forecast challenge. All these challenges are in line with the OSTP/CDC effort to build a biosurveillance cyberinfrastructure that makes reliable daily forecasts of infectious diseases.

Convertino has also been working with the World Health Organization (WHO) Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) building a computational infrastructure that takes data of the environment in real time and epidemiological data to forecast infectious diseases in the Americas. He will be meeting with worldwide health leaders in Rio in November to show this tool as a real time technology.