Public health workers are reaching out to mathematical scientists to use disease models to understand, and mitigate, the spread of emerging diseases. Mathematical and computational scientists are needed to create new tools that can anticipate the spread of new diseases and evaluate the effectiveness of different approaches for bringing epidemics under control. That is, these models can provide an opportunity for the mathematical scientists to collaborate with the public health community to improve the health of our world and save lives.
The talk will provide an overview, for general audiences, of how these collaborations have evolved over the past decade. I will describe some recent advances in mathematical models that are having an impact in guiding pubic health policy, and describe what new advances are needed to create the next generation of models. Throughout the talk, I will share some of my personal experiences using these models for controlling the spread of Ebola, HIV/AIDS, SARS, malaria, foot and mouth disease, and the novel H1N1 (swine) flu.