FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2020
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics and Ariadne Labs receive capacity-building support for work against pandemic
Cambridge, MA – Two centers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with key roles in confronting COVID-19 have received major gifts, allowing them to accelerate their work against the global pandemic. The Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD), led by Professor of Epidemiology Marc Lipsitch, and Ariadne Labs, a joint venture of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital led by Asaf Bitton, have received a combined total of $1.4 million thanks to a generous gift from the Morris-Singer Foundation.
“COVID-19 represents an extraordinary challenge to our society, and our systems of care,” says Andrew Morris–Singer, who heads the Foundation with his husband, Corey Morris–Singer. “We believe that both the CCDD and Ariadne Labs are going to make critical contributions to addressing this crisis.”
A gift of $900,000 will enable CCDD to continue its emergency work modeling and predicting the spread and impact of COVID-19. The Center, which has advised the White House and governors across the country, is also working on improving testing procedures and finding new ways to uncover hidden data about the pandemic—including estimating disease prevalence using infection rates among travelers and predicting the effects of social distancing.
“This gift transforms our ability to do the most important science and make the most important contributions we can to evidence-based policy and decision-making, giving us the flexibility to deploy our resources in the areas of greatest need,” says Lipsitch of CCDD.
Ariadne Labs will expand its current work designing hospital and health care system response with help from the Morris-Singers’ gift of $500,000. Ariadne is developing community mitigation strategies, including practices for poorer countries and guidelines on protective equipment for hospital systems; they are also recommending practices to allow normal medical and health systems to continue their work—like obstetrics, surgery, virtual ambulatory care, and elder care.
“We are incredibly grateful to Andrew and Corey for investing in this critical work during a time of unprecedented challenges,” says Ariadne Labs Director Asaf Bitton. “Because of their generosity, Ariadne will be able to have an immediate impact on patients, health care workers, governments, social service organizations, and the general public by developing system-level best practices, effective tools, and pragmatic guidelines to address COVID-19.”
Both centers are experienced in confronting large–scale epidemics. Since its establishment in 2009, CCDD has helped shape the world’s response to outbreaks like SARS, H1N1, and Ebola. Ariadne Labs previously collaborated with the CDC to help hospitals prepare to face the West African Ebola outbreak.
“Andrew and Corey are leaders in philanthropic strategy, responding to the COVID-19 crisis with urgency and with a grounding in science,” said Michelle Williams, Dean of the Faculty at the Harvard Chan School. “Their unrestricted gifts to CCDD and to Ariadne Labs give our research the much-needed latitude to respond to this crisis on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour level.”
About the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. As a community of leading scientists, educators, and students, we work together to take innovative ideas from the laboratory to people’s lives—not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices. Each year, more than 400 faculty members at Harvard Chan School teach 1,000-plus full-time students from around the world and train thousands more through online and executive education courses. Founded in 1913 as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, the School is recognized as America’s oldest professional training program in public health. Learn more at www.hsph.harvard.edu.