Wilbert van Panhuis, MD, PhD
Wilbert van Panhuis, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and a faculty member of the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. The goal of my work is to accelerate the efficient use of data in public health. Vast amounts of data are collected daily in various domains including biomedicine, public health, demography, climate sciences, etc. that could be used to improve public health. Unfortunately, various barriers limit the use of these data including technical challenges but also political, economic, and ethical issues. My research projects aim to break through these barriers by: 1) building prototype data systems to demonstrate value, 2) conducting data intensive applied public health research, and 3) advance policies and guidelines on the use of data in public health. Our current prototype data system is Project Tycho that unlocked 125 years of newly digitized weekly US disease surveillance data for science and policy (NEJM, New York Times, Washington Post, Scientific American). Data intensive applied research projects include agent-based simulations of vector-borne (dengue, chikungunya) and vaccine preventable diseases (pertussis resurgence), and quantifying the impact of routine childhood immunization programs. On the policy end, we are working towards a global process to systematically find solutions to advance the use of data in public health (BMC Public Health, Chatham House report). We are advancing the use of traditional data in public health, such as disease surveillance data, but are also exploring the value of novel data such as electronic medical and laboratory records. For all projects, I work in partnership with health agencies and academics at the global, national, and local level across the world including the World Health Organization, Ministries of Health in Southeast Asia and Latin America, and the US Centers for Disease Control.