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The Use of Human Mobility Data in Public Health Emergencies

April 27th @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Can data on an individual’s movement and location help support populations affected by pandemics, disasters, and wars? Should it?

For the past several years, human mobility data – which shows an individual’s movement as measured by their activity on smartphones and social media platforms – has helped estimate population movement patterns to inform epidemiological modeling, situational awareness, and resource allocation during public health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

This data has also proven to be instrumental in humanitarian responses. This has been especially true as the war in Ukraine continues to unfold. In this context, mobility data has been used to identify population movement patterns around the Western border of Ukraine to support displaced refugees fleeing the country. These data have proven to be a formidable resource in both public health and humanitarian response, yet efforts to leverage them are fraught with limitations and the potential for inadvertent harm.

In March and April 2021, CrisisReady, a research organization at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, hosted a four-part seminar, “Safe, Fair, Equitable and Responsible Use of Human Mobility Data,” which sought to identify the technical, regulatory, and translational gaps that hinder the effective integration of human mobility data into field response. The resulting White Paper, which recounts the deliberations that took place of over 40 domain experts during the seminar, organizes these challenges around three clusters: Data Readiness, Methods Readiness, and Translational Readiness.

Join CrisisReady on Wednesday, April 27 from 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM ET, where the paper will be presented by the directors of CrisisReady, Satchit Balsari, Caroline Buckee, and Andrew Schroeder. Urs Gasser, Dean of the TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology at the Technical University of Munich and Rector of the Munich School of Politics and Public Policy; and former Director of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.


Date: April 27th
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Calendars: Public Events, School-wide Events, University-wide Events
Event types: Lectures / Seminars / Forums