The events of September 11th, the subsequent fatal anthrax attacks, and the epidemic of sever acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-3 exemplified the potential for loss of life, major social disruption, and economic losses that can follow the introduction of a transmissible disease in a susceptible population. The identification of cases of H5N1 influenza, both in birds and subsequently in humans underscores the importance of the development of rigorous methods in infectious disease epidemiology, surveillance, monitoring and modeling. Although neither the SARS coronavirus nor H5N1 influenza were deliberately introduced, they share many characteristics of potential bioterrorist agents, and many of the contingency plans developed for dealing with biological attacks received their first tests in the SARS epidemic. The goal of the Harvard School of Public Health's Interdisciplinary Program in Infectious Disease Epidemiology (IPIDE) through this resubmission of our competing continuation is to train 4 pre-doctoral candidates in epidemiologic research methods through two years of formal didactic classroom training at the Harvard School of Public Health, which includes courses from a new concentration in infectious disease epidemiology and biodefense (www.hsDh.harvard.edu/ideDi/) and two years of research under close supervision of our 21 program faculty members, leading to either a DS, or PHD. Given the increase in the courses offered biodefense, students can take a total of 17.5 credits in courses that directly deal with biodefense epidemiology, almost twice the number of credits necessary to allow students to choose biodefense as a concentration within biostatistics epidemiology. Program faculty include internationally recognized investigators in the fields of virology, epidemiology, immunology and biostatistics. Harvard's IPIDE has been running successfully for 10 years, and this training grant has helped develop and launch a new cadre of independent investigators with infectious disease epidemiologic training linking basic and applied research into the detection and prevention of emerging infectious diseases. A cumulative total of 18 students have been supported;nine have graduated;they have published 186 peer-reviewed manuscripts. For the current submission, we are proposing to support 4 pre-doctorial students over the next five year project period.
This training grant supports the training of doctorial students develop rigorous methods in infectious disease epidemiology, surveillance, monitoring and modeling so that they will be able to prevent and detect outbreaks of emerging epidemics.
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