CDC Supports Salomon's Prevention Policy Modeling Lab

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Stanford Health Policy researchers, led by Josh Salomon, have been awarded a five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct health and economic modeling to guide national and local policies and programs focusing on some of the most important infectious diseases in the United States.

The CDC grant establishes the Prevention Policy Modeling Lab at Stanford, continuing a multi-institution collaboration that began when Salomon was a professor at Harvard prior to joining Stanford in 2017.

“The overall mission of the Prevention Policy Modeling Lab is to leverage the best available evidence to inform strategic decision-making about major public health problems,” Salomon said. “We do this by combining techniques from decision science, simulation modeling and health economics to estimate and project major patterns and trends in these diseases and to evaluate different clinical and public health strategies to address them.”

The initiative will focus on policy and practice in the areas of tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections and adolescent health. The grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports a wide range of modeling activities, including those that assess: 

  • Projections of future morbidity and mortality
  • Burden and costs of diseases
  • Costs and cost-effectiveness of interventions
  • Population-level program impact
  • Optimized resource allocation

Stanford researchers who are involved in the Modeling Lab include Douglas K. Owens, Margaret Brandeau, Eran Bendavid, Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, Jason Andrews, Samuel So and Mehlika Toy. The consortium also includes partners at Harvard, Yale, Michigan, Boston University, Boston Medical Center and the MA Department of Public Health.

“As a multi-institution consortium, on any given problem we’re able to assemble a team that includes both subject matter experts and collaborators who specialize in statistics, epidemiology, data science, economics and decision analysis,” Salomon said. “The policy models that we develop allow us to synthesize a wide array of different types and sources of evidence to shed light on the essence of the problem and to weigh the likely benefits and costs of responding in different ways.”

Prior work from the consortium on the potential impact and cost-effectiveness of expanding testing for hepatitis C virus was cited in the recent decision by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to revise their screening recommendations to cover all adults. The Modeling Lab has also examined prospects and strategies for eliminaitng tuberculosis in the United States and policies relevant to the rising threat of antimicrobial-resistant gonococcal infection among other topics.