Simulations for Epidemiology and Public Health Education
Recent and potential outbreaks of infectious diseases are triggering interest in predicting epidemic dynamics on a national scale and testing the efficacies of different combinations of public health policies. Network-based simulations are proving their worth as tools for addressing epidemiology and public health issues considered too complex for field investigations and questionnaire analyses. Universities and research centres are therefore using network-based simulations as teaching tools for epidemiology and public health education students, but instructors are discovering that constructing appropriate network models and epidemic simulations are difficult tasks in terms of individual movement and contact patterns. In this paper we will describe (a) a four-category framework (based on demographic and geographic properties) to discuss ways of applying network-based simulation approaches to undergraduate students and novice researchers; (b) our experiences simulating the transmission dynamics of two infectious disease scenarios in Taiwan (HIV and influenza); (c) evaluation results indicating significant improvement in student knowledge of epidemic transmission dynamics and the efficacies of various public health policy suites; and (d) a geospatial modelling approach that integrates a national commuting network as well as multi-scale contact structures.
KeywordsPublic Health Policy Transmission Dynamic Contact Pattern Stage Duration Public Health Expert
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