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CAPTRS Named to New CDC-Funded Outbreak Response Network

By October 18, 2023No Comments

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has chosen Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers, CAPTRS co-Founder, to lead a large international team in advancing the analytic toolkit used by public health agencies throughout the US to detect, forecast, and combat future pandemics. Dr. Francesca de Rosa, CAPTRS Chief Gaming Scientist, will join Dr. Meyers’ team of expert co-investigators.

Throughout the five-year project, CAPTRS will play a unique role in bringing these new tools to the front line of US emergency response efforts. Dr. de Rosa will lead the design and deployment of simulation games that train public health officials to use powerful analytics and collect data for continually improving the tools. As an example, CAPTRS recently designed a game that simulates the rapid construction of a municipal command and control structure during an emerging epidemic. With support from the National Science Foundation’s Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention (PIPP) Program, CAPTRS ran the game with elected leadership and public health officials from across Central Texas.

“Our models provided critical information and saved lives throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we continually scrambled to build new analytics and communicate the results to decision makers,” said Dr. Meyers, co-Founder of CAPTRS, director of the University of Texas at Austin Center for Pandemic Decision Science and Professor of Integrative Biology, Statistics & Data Sciences, and Population Health. “This project represents a huge national investment that will allow us to make proven analytic tools available prior to the next pandemic threat and, thanks to CAPTRS innovative gaming, ensure that officials across the U.S. are equipped to use them to reduce uncertainty and save lives.”

“This new project will give CAPTRS a unique opportunity to introduce powerful methods from military wargaming and cognitive systems science into US pandemic preparedness efforts. We will develop games to pressure test and improve our new analytic tools, to facilitate their integration into operational environments, and to train public health professionals around the world,” said Dr. de Rosa, Chief Gaming Scientist at CAPTRS and former NATO Scientist.

The team which CAPTRS is part of is one of thirteen funded partners to work alongside the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA) to establish the outbreak response network.

More information on the effort is available through the CDC and CFA here.