(The Gist of Science Reporter) International symposium in New
Delhi addresses emerging challenges in Health Analytic and Disease Modeling
International symposium in New Delhi addresses emerging challenges in
Health Analytic and Disease Modeling
The International Symposium on Health Analytic and Disease Modeling (HADM),
2018 Was held during March 8-9 , 2018 , at the National Academy of Medical
Sciences (NAMS) auditorium, New Delhi. It was co-organized by Public Health
Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) of Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH),
University of Pittsburgh, USA, and the National Institute of Medical Statistics
of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR-NIMS), New Delhi, and Science Health
Allied Research Education (SHARE), Hyderabad, India.
The two-day international symposium brought together health experts,
practitioners and researchers from various disciplines including computer
science, applied mathematics and statistics, public health, biostatistics,
epidemiology, health policy research and more to discuss opportunities and
challenges in health analytics and disease modeling.
Symposium Day 1
On Day 1 of the symposium, Dr. M. Vishnu Vardhana Rao, Director of ICMR-NIMS
discussed the importance of Health Analytics and Disease Modeling for
evidence-based health research and policy making.
Professor Mark Roberts, Director of PHDL, in his keynote talk on
‘Mathematical. modeling as a tool for improving population health’ emphasised on
the link between predictive models and health policies. He provided examples of
agent based disease modeling for various communicable and non-communicable
Prof. Saumyadipta Pyne, Scientific Director of PHDL, delivered a plenary talk
on ‘Modeling of high-dimensional human immuno-phenotypic diversity’ in which he
discussed statistical platforms to rigorously model complex immunologic
phenotypes in big cohorts for predicting vulnerabilities and strengths in terms
of population health and biosecurity.
Dr. Kaja Abbas from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK,
spoke about ‘Modeling epidemiological and economic impact of vaccines’ by
describing the various stages of an infection using a dynamic agent-based model
to :valuate spread of infection and policy decisions.
Prof. Daphne Lopez from the Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore,
spoke on ‘Climate and dengue modeling: a big data analytics perspective'. She
discussed models to integrate climate data and health data for understanding the
inter-relationships between disease outbreaks and climate change.
Prof. Nirmal Kurnar Ganguly. former Director General of lCMR, delivered a
special talk addressing the challenge of data sharing mechanisms. lle nated that
health analytics and disease modeling could help protect the identity of
patients and ensure more efficient medical practices worldwide.
Dr. Wilbert Van Panhuis from Pl lDL delivered the second plenary talk on
‘improving data access and standardization for epidemic modeling in global
health’. Using the example of integrative dengue data analysis across Southeast
Asia, he discussed Project Tycho to explain the importance and benefit: of data
access and standardization. He commented on the need for data transparency and
building modeling capabilities integrate disease surveillance.
Dr. Marc Choisy from the University of Montpellier France, presented a case
study in which traditional surveillance systems were harnessed to create big
data for modeling dengue in Vietnam and parts of Southeast Asia.
Dr. Olivier Telle from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS),
France, spoke on the climatic and socioeconomic factors of dengue transmission
in a city like Delhi based on his research conducted at the Centre for Policy
Research, New Delhi.
The first day of HADM 2018 symposium concluded with a panel discussion on
‘Communicable Disease Modeling’. Panel discussants were Professors Arvind Pandey
(former Director, ICMR-NIMS) and Mark Roberts (PHDL).
Symposium Day 2
Day 2 of the symposium started with a keynote talk by Prof. Roni Rosenfeld
from the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA, on ‘Forecasting
Epidemics’. He underscored the predictive ability of models for evidence-based
policymaking and timely prevention of the spread of outbreaks. He also discussed
one-of-a-kind-events like Ebola, SARS, across season forecasting, within season
forecasting, nearcasting, nowcasting and backcasting.
Prof. Carmen Molina-Paris from the University of Leeds, UK, presented (Via
Skype) her plenary talk on ‘A mathematical model of CD8 +Tcell responses
calibrated with human Yellow fever vaccine data’. She described models to track
antigenspecific cellular expressions and quantify human immune responses to
Dr. Martin Lopez-Garcia from the University of Leeds, UK, presented his work
on ‘Mathematical models fora better understanding of the life cycle of infection
causing bacteria’. He explained how dose-response probabilities at the
individual level could be used to estimate the airborne propagation of potential
Dr. Himanshu K. Chaturvedi from ICMR-NIMS discussed the complexity of disease
modeling for malaria using the SEIR model and geospatial data.
Dr. Prashant Mathur, Director of ICMR-National Centre for Disease Informatics
and Research (NCDIR), Bangalore, discussed the importance of population
registries in facilitating cancer research, healthcare planning & monitoring,
policy formulation, health impact assessment, guiding hospital administration,
and increasing awareness.
Dr. M. Vishnu V. Rao, Director of ICMR-NIMS, delivered a talk on ‘Big Data
Analytics in nutrition and health’ where he discussed cluster analysis as a
means for logical grouping of observations in large nutrition datasets.
Dr. Hukum Chandra from ICAR-Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute
(IASRI), New Delhi, discussed ‘Small area estimation by combining demographic
health survey and census data’. Using examples of health data from Bangladesh,
he talked about the merits of small area estimation in overcoming sample size
challenges and generating representative and reliable estimates.
Dr. P.S. Reddy, the Chairman of SHARE lndia and Professor of Medicine at
University of Pittsburgh, delivered a special talk on ‘Healthcare delivery
during the information age‘ where he discussed the future of medicine and
upcoming trends including personalized medicine, precision medicine, predictive
medicine, and participatory medicine.
Dr. lndranil Mukhopadhyay from the Indian Statistical Institute (181),
Kolkata, described a new approach to tackle big data by dividing a problem into
more tractable components under certain conditions.
Dr. D.K. Shukla, former Director-in-charge of ICMR-NIMS, chaired a panel
discussion on ‘Health informatics fm non-communicable diseases’. Dr. Clareann
Bunker, Emeritus Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the University 0
Pittsburgh, delivered the closing remarks at the end of this highly enriching
two-day international symposium. Dr. Ajit Mukherjee, lCM R-NlMS presented a vote
of thanks to express gratitude to all stakeholders involved in the detailed
planning and successful execution of the symposium.
The two-day International Symposium on Health Analytics and Disease Modeling
showcased several important aspects of big data analytics for health including
agent-based disease modeling, disease forecasting, challenges of big data,
modeling and simulation packages and data repositories developed in different
parts of the world.
Predictive and forecasting models for communicable diseases like dengue,
malaria, etc., were addressed ‘: evidence-based policy making. In particular,
the symposium attendees learned about model driven approaches to health
analytics and policy such as the Framework for Reconstructing Epidemic Dynamics
(FRED) developed by the Public Heat“ Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) of the
University of Pittsburg. In addition to model-driven approaches, data-driw 1
approaches to health analytics such as Project Tycho’(https:. www.tycho.pitt.edu/)
were also discussed. Developed by PHDL, University of Pittsburgh, Tycho0 is a
freely available online resource that aims to advance the availability and usage
of global disease surveillance data through implementation of the FAIR data
standards (namely, Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability
HADM 2018 was partly funded by the GSPH Dean’s grai t from the US. National
Institutes of Health (NIH) Fogarty International Center, and support from ICMR.
University of Pittsburgh, ICMR-NIMS, SHARE India and Health were co-organizers
of this event.
According to Prof. Saumyadipta Pyne, Chair of the HADM 2018 Symposium
Organizing Committee, the cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that was
presented by the symposium’s national and International speakers drives home the
point tha1 the time is right for India to incorporate systematic modrl driven
and data-driven approaches to address key challenge in public health and policy.
Courtesy: Science Reporter