Tuesday March 31st, 2015:
After our teaching-induced hiatus, we are going to resume our TB modeling calls!! The next 2 calls are going to be at 2pm Eastern time on March 31 and April 21 (both Tuesdays). Our goal is to continue the calls at approximately monthly intervals after that time. On the 31st, we're going to discuss a recent piece by Kevins Cain and De Cock in PLOS Medicine (attached), which has important implications for modeling of MDR TB in Africa, and in mobile populations in general. Also some very interesting thoughts about what these kinds of findings mean for our ability to control drug-resistant TB in the long term. TB is featuring prominently in global discussions about antimicrobial resistance and the public health response thereto, and it would be very interesting to think about if/how modeling can contribute to this discussion.
In another exciting development, our modeling group's first writing group submitted a manuscript for review at the American Journal of Public Health - so we're actually hoping to contribute to the scientific discussion on linkage between modeling and public health in TB, even as we carry on our own discussions as well! Thanks to Nila and Gwen for spearheading that, and fingers crossed for that review process to be a positive one!
Tuesday December 16th, 2014:
Our last TB modeling group discussion of the year will be at noon Eastern time on Tuesday (Dec. 16). Andrew Azman will be joining us from Geneva to discuss his attached article, published earlier this month in BMC Medicine. The article is designed to help people convert "cost per TB case diagnosed and treated using active case-finding" into "cost per DALY averted". I'm sure Andrew will be happy to give a little backstory as to how this piece came about, the review process, and perhaps key a larger discussion about how to position cost-effectiveness analyses of various TB interventions - is it necessary, for example, to do a full-on cost-utility model to come up with a cost per DALY for each intervention, and how should those types of results be interpreted in dynamic infectious disease systems?
Have a wonderful start to this week, and I look forward to the discussion on Tuesday!!
Tuesday November 25th, 2014:
Our next TB modeling group discussion will be at noon Eastern time on Tuesday (Nov. 25). Rather than having another journal club-type discussion, I thought we could have something of a roundtable forum on the following proposition and question:
"There is often a great disconnect between the collection of TB data and the crafting of TB public health policy: data that are collected are often either not relevant for decision-making or not translated into a policy framework, and data that could help to inform policy are often not prioritized for collection and/or translation. Part of this disconnect may reflect a training system that is not designed to address this problem.
How should we change our training system -- both short-term/small steps and long-term/large changes -- in order to address this gap?"
We'll start with perspectives from two people here at Hopkins (Sourya Shrestha and Parastu Kasaie) who come from backgrounds other than TB epidemiology. We will then open it up to the larger group. I will encourage you to think about your own personal training journey, what went well and what could have gone better -- I think that, the more personal and "real" the stories are, the richer the discussion will be! I will be very interested to hear how many of you ended up as part of this group, and interested in such questions.
I look forward to the discussion and to hearing from many of you on Tuesday!
Tuesday October 14th, 2014:
It's time to re-start our TB modeling calls for the year!! As discussed before, we're keeping these to a monthly, rather than twice-monthly, schedule in order to ease everyone's schedules. This week, Rosa Sloot from the University of Amsterdam has agreed to participate in an "ask-the-author" session about the attached article, in which she and her colleagues scoured 10 years worth of public health records in Amsterdam looking at contacts of pulmonary TB cases to shed some light on the probability of developing TB following a likely infection event. Her findings have clear relevance for TB models, in which we are frequently having to specify a "recent progression proportion" or probability of progression to active TB after a successful infection.
If you have questions that you would like to ask Rosa about this piece (in the next 3 days), she has kindly agreed to take those questions before the call and answer them either individually or during the call. We will spend the first 30 minutes of the call discussing the paper amongst ourselves, and then Rosa will join us to share a bit of the "back story" (especially as a junior investigator performing this kind of work) and her impressions of these findings. I think it will be an interesting discussion (and thanks in advance to Rosa for participating)!!