Closing the gap between epidemiological discovery and implementation

After COVID-19 is contained, the field of public health should reassess its existing priorities and proficiencies so that they are better aligned with the challenges of the 21st century, according to Caroline Buckee, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and associate director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics.

In a podcast and a white paper produced by Harris Search Associates, Buckee said that, too often, epidemiological breakthroughs in wealthy nations don’t get translated into workable solutions in low-resource countries that shoulder some of the heaviest disease burdens.

“My opinion is that we have to start thinking about the development of both technical and contextual capacity locally. We have to move from the idea that we have these institutions of higher education that are elite and they train very few people to do a very high level of technical work,” she said. “We have to come up with a much more distributed system for training people and making sure that they are working in situ to solve public health problems using the science and technology that we have available to us.”

Read the Harris Search Associates white paper: In the fight against infectious disease, public health brawler Caroline Buckee is the world’s champion

Listen to the Harris Search Associates podcast: Public Health’s Next Big Challenge