$17.5M in CDC funding establishes the Michigan Public Health Integrated Center for Outbreak Analytics and Modeling (MICOM)
On September 19, the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics announced funding to develop an outbreak response network that uses data to support decision makers during public health emergencies. The University of Michigan School of Public Health was selected as one of the 13 partners to receive roughly $17.5M over five years to establish the Michigan Public Health Integrated Center for Outbreak Analytics and Modeling (MICOM).
“This center is a remarkable opportunity to build on the strong partnerships between the University of Michigan and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to integrate outbreak analytics, modeling, and forecasting into public health practice and improve public health in Michigan and beyond,” says Marisa Eisenberg, associate professor of Epidemiology and Complex Systems at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and director of the center.
Establishing the network
The establishment of a network through the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics is the first step in creating a nationwide resource for outbreak analytics, disease modeling, and forecasting to support more effective response during public health emergencies.
“Each of the grantees will help us move the nation forward in our efforts to better prepare and respond to infectious disease outbreaks that threaten our families and our communities,” said Dylan George, director of the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics. “We are committed to working alongside these outstanding partners to achieve our goal of using data and advanced analytics to support decision-makers at every level of government.”
Housed with the School of Public Health, MICOM is a multidisciplinary partnership between several University of Michigan units—including the College of Engineering; College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; School of Information; and the Medical School—and in collaboration with the the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The center will support the development of a number of modeling and data analytics tools and pipelines to be integrated into MDHHS workflows to address public health emergencies and current infectious disease threats. Joe Coyle, director of the MDHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Prevention, is the project lead for the state’s involvement.
Emily Toth Martin, associate professor of Epidemiology at Michigan Public Health and center co-director, says one of MICOM’s focus areas will be to integrate and refine these modeling and data analytics tools for state and local public health partners in support of data-driven decision-making and solutions.
“Systems for evidence-based decision-making and communication of data to public health officials need to be in place before we need to respond to an outbreak. The work of this network will save valuable time in responding to future disease threats,” Martin says.
Michigan Public Health researchers have previously partnered with MDHHS in providing resources that have led to the integration of modeling into MDHHS decision-making for COVID-19, influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis C, and other threats. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Eisenberg and Martin were involved in assisting the state in providing critical disease modeling and surveillance information and were part of a larger University of Michigan team to develop the MI Safe Start Map and to provide tools to support public health departments in vaccination efforts. Eisenberg is also working on wastewater surveillance tools, which earlier this year were expanded to include the tracking of Mpox, influenza-A, norovirus GII and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
“The ability to monitor and detect disease threats is a critical part of public health.” says Eisenberg. “We are excited that MICOM will connect our collaboration between Michigan Public Health and MDHHS to national partners at the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics to integrate analytics into public health practice.”
University of Michigan researchers include: Michelle Ammerman, Rada Mihalcea, Alexander Rodriguez, Jenna Wiens, Krista Wigginton, College of Engineering; Tom Schwarz, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Adam Lauring and Evan Snitkin, University of Michigan Medical School; Andrew Brouwer, Joseph Eisenberg, Betsy Foxman, Michael Hayashi, Jennifer Head, Sharon Kardia, Arnold Monto, Bhramar Mukherjee, Laura Power, Michael Rubyan, Abram L. Wagner and Jon Zelner, School of Public Health.
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Destiny CookSenior Public Relations SpecialistUniversity of Michigan School of Public Health734-647-8650