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John Brownstein, PhD

Department: Emergency Medicine
Hospital Title: Research Faculty
Academic Title: Associate Professor

About John Browstein, PhD

Brownstein was trained as an epidemiologist at Yale University where he received his PhD. Dr. Brownstein’s research interests are in the development of methods and data sources in public health informatics which focuses on two major areas: (1) the design, evaluation and implementation of public health surveillance systems and (2) statistical modeling of public health surveillance data to improve prevention and control activities. This research has focused on a variety of infectious disease systems including malaria, HIV, dengue, West Nile virus, Lyme disease, RSV, salmonella, listeria and influenza.

Current research activities focus on predicting patterns of influenza epidemics and pandemics, with specific interests in the efficacy of disease control strategies including vaccination, quarantine and travel restrictions. He has received funding for this research from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is also leading the development several novel disease surveillance systems, including HealthMap.org, an internet-based global infectious disease intelligence system. The system receives grant funding from Google.org and is currently in use by the CDC, WHO, DHS, DOD, HHS, EU among others. As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, HealthMap data provided one of the earliest indications of the novel H1N1 virus in 2009. He also published extensively on issues of patient privacy (including a recent piece in the New England Journal). His research also includes the development novel surveillance methods and informatics approaches for the post-marketing surveillance of therapeutics.

Dr. Brownstein has advised the World Health Organization, Institute of Medicine, the US Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security, and the White House on real-time public health surveillance data. He has used this experience in his role as Vice President of the International Society for Disease Surveillance. He has authored over forty articles in the area of disease surveillance. This work has been reported on widely including pieces in the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, National Public Radio and the BBC.

Affiliations

  • Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
  • Director, Computational Epidemiology Group, Children’s Hospital Boston
  • Research Scientist, Partners Healthcare
  • Adjunct Professor, McGill University
  • Vice President, International Society for Disease Surveillance
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