“Enhancing the Epidemiologist’s Research Toolbox: An Introduction to Systems Science”

2013 American College of Epidemiology Minority Affairs Workshop

Announcement     Annual meeting information

Speaker biographies

Patricia Mabry, Ph.D.

Dr. Mabry is the Acting Deputy Director and a Senior Advisor in the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she is facilitating the emergence of a new field that integrates systems science with health-related behavioral and social science research. Dr. Mabry has led the issuance of funding opportunity announcements in systems science and produced the Institute on Systems Science and Health (ISSH) http://obssr.od.nih.gov/training_and_education/issh/index.html. She is the Guest Editor of an upcoming supplement of Health Education and Behavior on Systems Science Application in Health Promotion and Public Health (anticipated October 2013). She co-leads Envision http://www.nccor.org/envision/, a network of computational modeling teams focused on policy interventions to combat obesity. Dr. Mabry has published on tobacco control, interdisciplinary research, and systems science in the Lancet, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, the American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. She was a member of the team that received the Applied Systems Thinking Prize http://www.asysti.org/Prize/2008asystprizewinner.aspx in 2008, and is a Society of Behavioral Medicine Fellow. Her full biography is at http://obssr.od.nih.gov/about_obssr/staff/patricia_mabry_bio.aspx.

T.C. "Kelvin" Choi M.P.H., Ph.D.

Dr. Choi is an Assistant Professor at the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of Minnesota with a focus in social and behavioral epidemiology. He participated in NIH’s Institute on Systems Science and Health in 2011 and Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health in 2012. His research focuses on marketing and counter-marketing of health risk behaviors, including perceived exposure to smoking in movies and adolescent smoking and the influence of cigarette coupons on smoking behaviors. While understanding how various factors interact with each other to predict behavioral changes is part of his research processes, he realized the limitations of current behavioral theories and epidemiologic methods and turned to systems science for additional insight.


David Mendez, Ph.D.

David Méndez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan where he teaches courses in Operations Research and Simulation Modeling applied to Health and Health Care. Dr. Méndez training is in Management Science/Operations Research and Systems Science. His work has focused on building simulation models for the analysis of diverse health policy issues, particularly in tobacco control. Dr. Méndez has published numerous research articles on tobacco control topics using simulation models and has served as consultant to the IOM and the FDA on modeling and simulation analysis of potential future US smoking patterns.

Nathaniel Osgood, Ph.D.

Bio: Nathaniel Osgood serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Associate Faculty in the Department of Community Health & Epidemiology and Division of Bioengineering at the University of Saskatchewan. His research is focused on providing cross-linked simulation, ubiquitous sensing, and inference tools to inform understanding of population health trends and health policy tradeoffs. His dynamic modeling applications work – conducted over the span of more than 2 decades -- has addressed challenges in the communicable, environmental, chronic and zoonotic disease areas. In addition to health applications, Dr. Osgood is the co-creator of two novel wireless sensor-based epidemiological monitoring systems, most recently the Google Android-based “iEpi” smartphone system. He has additionally contributed novel new innovations to improve dynamic modeling quality and efficiency, introduced novel techniques that hybridize Agent-based models with traditional System Dynamics approaches, which combine simulation models with decision analysis tools, and which leverage such models using data gathered from wireless real-time epidemiological monitoring systems. Dr. Osgood is the instructor for the annual Agent-Based Modeling Bootcamp for Health Researchers, and recently served as a visiting Associate Professor at MIT. Prior to joining the U of S faculty, he graduated from MIT with a PhD in Computer Science in 1999, served as a Senior Lecturer at MIT and worked for a number of years in a variety of academic, consulting and industry positions.

Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA

Dr. Lee is currently Associate Professor of International Health and Director of Operations Research at the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Previously, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, where he founded and directs the Public Health and Infectious Diseases Computational and Operations Research (PHICOR) group that specializes in designing economic, and operational computer models that help decision makers tackle infectious diseases of global importance. He is the Scientific Lead for the HERMES Project and the RHEA Project. His funding has included grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. His previous positions include serving as Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational where he led teams that developed economic and operational models for a variety of clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding Integrigen, a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. Dr. Lee has authored over 150 scientific publications (including over 80 first author and over 35 last author) as well as three books: “Principles and Practice of Clinical Trial Medicine”, “What If… ? : Survival Guide for Physician”s, and “Medical Notes : Clinical Medicine Pocket Guide”. He is an Associate Editor for the journal Vaccine and Area Series Editor for the Wiley Series on Modeling and Simulation. He and his work have garnered attention in leading media outlets such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Businessweek, U.S. News and World Report, Nature Medicine, and National Public Radio (NPR). Dr. Lee received his B.A. from Harvard University, M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, having completed his residency training at the University of California, San Diego.

Stephen Eubank, Ph.D.

Stephen Eubank is a research professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech (VT), where he serves as Deputy Director of the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory. He is also an adjunct professor of physics at VT, a faculty affiliate with the Program in Public Health at VT, and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He received his B.A. in physics from Swarthmore College in 1979 and his Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986. He has worked in the fields of fluid turbulence (at the La Jolla Institute); nonlinear dynamics and chaos (at Los Alamos National Laboratory); financial market modeling (as a co-founder of Prediction Company); ecological time series analysis (at Biosphere 2); natural language processing (as an invited researcher at Advanced Telecommunication Research in Kyoto, Japan); and mathematical epidemiology (as principal investigator for the VBI group within the NIH/NIGMS Modeling Infectious Disease Agent Study network). On staff at Los Alamos, Dr. Eubank played a leading role in developing the traffic microsimulation component of the Transportation Analysis and Simulation System (TRANSIMS) and led the Epidemiology Simulation System (EpiSims) project. He has led research into – and applications of – a collection of models representing interacting social and physical infrastructures, which can simulate the behavior of every individual in a large region. Dr. Eubank is keenly interested in the fundamental problem of understanding complex systems wherever in society or the natural world they are found: what aggregate, large-scale phenomena result from disaggregate, small-scale interactions in a complex, dynamic interaction network? He approaches this problem using modeling and simulation, and is devoted to communicating results in such a way that they can inform policy about pressing current issues.

Gregory Bloss, M.A

Mr. Bloss is a Public Health Analyst in the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Mr. Bloss manages a portfolio of research grants focused mainly on (1) analyzing public policies relating to alcoholic beverages and alcohol-related problems, particularly drunk driving, (2) economic research on alcohol-related behaviors and outcomes, and (3) systems-based dynamic modeling approaches to understanding alcohol problems and interventions. Mr. Bloss also serves as a team leader on the NIH Common Fund Health Economics Program, a trans-NIH initiative to encourage health economics research to improve health and reduce health care costs as part of the broader national focus on reforming the health care financing and delivery systems.

Minority Health Project