Mathematics and numerical simulations are essential tools in infectious disease control, enabling decision-makers to explore policies prior to implemention, to interpret trends, and to predict emerging threats. The Clinic on the Meaningful Modeling of Epidemiological Data (MMED) will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from May 24 to June 4. It brings together mathematicians, statisticians, population biologists, and epidemiologists to engage with meaningful questions about infectious disease dynamics by integrating mathematical models with epidemiological data. The Clinic will train young researchers in biomathematics and epidemiology, stimulate interdisciplinary collaborations between researchers in public health, infectious diseases, epidemiology, biostatistics, and mathematics, enhance collaborations between researchers from North America and Africa, and lead to collaborative research projects that combine models and data to increase understanding of epidemiological processes and to inform public health decision-making. Lectures will be made publicly available through a website allowing for self-instruction by those unable to attend the Clinic and incorporation into teaching materials for other courses.

Project Report

(MMED), held at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences. MMED is a 2-week program that brings together researchers from Africa and North America to engage with meaningful questions about infectious disease dynamics by integrating mathematical models with epidemiological data. The funds were used toward participant support costs, including travel, room, and board, for Clinic participants based at North American institutions (6 in 2011 and 3 in 2012). Two publications resulted from this support: a paper that describes a pedagogical tool developed and used at the MMED clinics, which can be used to teach infectious disease epidemiology to a wide range of students in other settings, and a research paper estimating the contribution of extra-couple HIV transmission to new infections in sub-Saharan Africa, which developed from a group project at MMED 2011. Bellan, S. E., Pulliam, J. R. C., Scott, J. C., & Dushoff, J. (2012). How to Make Epidemiological Training Infectious. PLoS Biology, 10(4), e1001295. DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001295 Bellan, S. E., Fiorella, K. J., Melesse, D. Y., Getz, W. M., Williams, B. G., & Dushoff, J. (2013). Extra-couple HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa: a mathematical modelling study of survey data. Lancet, 6736(12), 1–9. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61960-6

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Environmental Biology (DEB)
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Samuel M. Scheiner
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University of Florida
United States
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