Epidemiologists Marc Lipsitch and Rebecca Kahn to help establish new CDC center

Marc Lipsitch and Rebecca Kahn
Marc Lipsitch and Rebecca Kahn

August 18, 2021 – Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Marc Lipsitch and Rebecca Kahn will help establish a new center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that is designed to advance the use of forecasting and outbreak analytics in public health decision making.

Lipsitch, who founded the School’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD) in 2009, will be director of science at the CDC’s new Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics. He will also remain at the School part time as CCDD’s director and a professor of epidemiology. Kahn, who is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in CCDD, will be the new center’s senior scientist.

By bringing together next-generation public health data, expert disease modelers, public health emergency responders, and high-quality communications, the new center aims to improve the U.S. government’s ability to forecast and model emerging health threats, to expand capability for data sharing and integration, to translate and communicate forecasts, and to connect with key decision-maker across sectors.

“The new center will meet a longstanding need for a national focal point to analyze data and forecast the trajectory of pandemics with the express goal of informing and improving decisions with the best available evidence,” said Lipsitch. “I am very excited to be working with a great team at CDC to set it up, and eager to integrate the best and most innovative ideas from academia, the private sector, and government to make this a reality that will truly improve our response to future pandemics, and indeed to other infectious diseases.”

“I’m thrilled that Prof. Lipsitch and Dr. Kahn will be establishing a truly transformative center at the CDC,” said Michelle Williams, dean of Harvard Chan School. “By leveraging assets across multiple sectors, the center will be able to improve the nation’s ability to forecast and model emerging epidemics like COVID-19, and ultimately to improve public health in the U.S. and beyond.”

Nicole Rura

Read a CDC press release: CDC Stands Up New Disease Forecasting Center