2019 Annual Meeting

Spatial Intelligence and Digital Mapping to Optimize Disease Surveillance and Response Workshop
Wednesday, November 20, 2 pm - 5 pm

Smart maps and digital systems, if user-centered and implemented well, can help optimize the delivery of life-saving interventions, like indoor residual spraying, mass drug administration, and other community health services. ASTMH and Akros, along with National Malaria Control Programs, Ona, UCSF’s Malaria Elimination Initiative, PATH’s Malaria Control and Elimination Partnership in Africa, Clinton Health Access Initiative, WHO, Digital Solutions for Malaria Elimination (DSME) Community, USAID President’s Malaria Initiative (Zambia), and others have partnered to bring attendees an interactive workshop on challenges encountered during large-scale intervention delivery campaigns, and how these challenges can be addressed through “spatial intelligence” and analytic tools. Attendees will learn processes used to build base-maps, guide and support intervention planning, and monitor coverage and impact of intervention delivery through interactive maps. During the workshop, partners will provide use cases from multiple countries and sectors to describe how spatial intelligence tools and digital mapping approaches are fundamentally changing intervention delivery. The agenda will also include time to brainstorm the potential for applying these tools in projects relevant to participants. All are welcome to attend, including country governments, implementing partners, representatives from donor organizations, and individuals interested in utilizing novel approaches to improve impact in cost-effective ways. For more information, please contact [email protected].
NOTE: The workshop fee is waived for registered trainees and attendees from low and low-middle income countries. Please contact Brenda Howe if you wish to register for this workshop.



Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling for Infectious Diseases
Tuesday, November 19, Morning Session 8 am - Noon; afternoon session 1 pm - 5 pm 

ASTMH and the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) are partnering to offer a two-part introductory workshop on using agent-based models for modeling infectious diseases. Modeling is essential for understanding disease dynamics and creating effective control strategies. ASTMH and IDM are offering this workshop on ABMs with the intention of making modeling more accessible to public health researchers. IDM is composed of global health researchers as well as professional software engineers and has developed open-source software that is freely available to the research community.

The target audience for this workshop includes researchers in public health and epidemiology at a professional level (e.g. possessing a PhD, MD, Master’s or related degree) or working towards a professional degree (graduate students are welcome). Depending on your background and prior experience, you may choose to attend one or both sessions. Attendees in either session will need a laptop with Wi-Fi capabilities.

Session 1: Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling for Infectious Diseases
In this workshop, attendees will first get an overview of the fundamentals of disease modeling, including a brief overview of compartmental (SIR) models and how agent-based models (ABMs) differ. ABMs simulate the simultaneous interactions of individual agents to recreate complex phenomena and are especially useful for modeling transmission dynamics and control efforts. They excel at integrating population variability, such as variation in mixing rates, infectivity, immunology, and more. Second, attendees will get hands-on experience with IDM’s web-based graphical teaching tool, the QuickStart, and IDM’s agent-based model, Epidemiological MODeling software (EMOD). EMOD contains logic to model malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, typhoid, and many other diseases.
By the end of the workshop, attendees should have a working understanding of the fundamental concepts of disease modeling and be familiar with agent-based models, their utility, and their limitations. Further, attendees will have the requisite knowledge to run basic EMOD simulations on their local machine.  
Prerequisite knowledge includes familiarity with basic public health and epidemiology concepts, and an interest in learning about disease modeling. Attendees will download and install the EMOD software on a Windows or Linux laptop (a Mac running a Windows or Linux VM is acceptable); they must have administrative rights to the laptop.
Session 2: Introduction to the EMOD Agent-Based Modeling Tool
In this workshop, attendees will get in-depth experience with IDM’s Epidemiological MODeling software (EMOD). In addition to EMOD’s disease-specific features, the software contains logic for modeling complex cascades of care, heterogeneous transmission, and other advanced features. Attendance for Session 1 is not a prerequisite for Session 2; this session will include a brief introduction to EMOD so that individuals only attending Session 2 have the requisite knowledge to use the software.
By the end of the workshop, attendees should understand intermediate aspects of ABMs and EMOD, in particular heterogeneous transmission systems. Included in the course materials will be example exercises and tutorials that attendees can explore using EMOD as a modeling framework. Attendees will also be introduced to IDM’s other software tools and how these tools can be used for their own research projects.
Prerequisite knowledge includes familiarity with the fundamentals of ABMs and some experience using R, Python, or other scripting language. Attendees will download and install the EMOD software on a Windows or Linux laptop (a Mac running a Windows or Linux VM is acceptable); they must have administrative rights to the laptop.



Writing Workshop
Wednesday, November 20, Noon - 4:30 pm

PLOS Pathogens and PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, along with the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, and The Lancet Infectious Diseases present a Writing Workshop intended to equip and support early-career researchers and researchers from disease endemic regions in understanding the publication process and best practices for manuscript writing. Highlights of the sessions include: Framing your research and choosing your journal, mapping out your paper, abstract writing, the mechanics of writing, and research and publication ethics. For more information contact [email protected].

Tentative Agenda

 Noon - 12:30 pm  Presentation - Introduce the Journals and Contextualize the Presentation
 12:30 pm - 1 pm  Presentation - Framing your Research and Choosing your Journal
 1 pm - 1:15 pm  Questions
 1:15 pm - 1:45 pm  Presentation - Mapping out your Paper (covers abstract writing)
 1:45 pm - 2 pm  Questions
 2 pm - 2:30 pm  Abstract Writing Workshop
  • 15 minutes as small groups
  • 15 minutes as full group
 2:30 pm - 3 pm  Presentation - Mechanics of Writing
 3 pm - 3:15 pm  Questions
 3:15 pm - 3:45 pm  Presentation - Research and Publication Ethics
 3:45 pm - 4 pm  Questions
 4 pm - 4:15 pm  Conclusions and Wrap-up
 4:15 pm - 4:30 pm  Final Questions