2013 ISDS Conference Plenary Speakers – International Society for Disease Surveillance


abramson_cumc_3-cropped-5809133As Deputy Director and Director of Research at Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Dr. Abramson’s areas of study include disaster recovery and resiliency, the social ecology of vulnerability, risk communication targeted at high-risk or elusive communities, and survey research on preparedness attitudes and behaviors. He is the principal investigator of the longitudinal Gulf Coast Child and Family Health Study, an examination of need and recovery among 1,000+ randomly sampled displaced and impacted families in Louisiana and Mississippi (2006-2010), and is Co-Investigator of an NIH study of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on children’s health. Additionally, Dr. Abramson is leading a foundation-funded effort to identify pediatric need along the Gulf Coast. Other current or recent disaster-related research activities include studies of how US cities recover from disasters, evolving trends in disaster philanthropy, the public health response to Hurricane Irene, and a FEMA-funded “community tabletop” that focused on how well school systems can prepare for disasters. From 2007 – 2010, Dr. Abramson served as an Associate Editor of the AMA peer-reviewed journal, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness.

Prior to entering the field of public health in 1990, Dr. Abramson worked for a decade as a national magazine journalist, having written for Rolling Stone, Esquire, Outside, and the San Francisco Examiner, among other publications. A former paramedic, Abramson holds a doctorate in sociomedical sciences with a specialization in political science, and a master of public health degree, both from Columbia University.

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slutkin_g-cropped-3272287Closing Keynote

Gary Slutkin, MD, Founder/Executive Director, Cure Violence; Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health

Dr. Gary Slutkin is a physician, epidemiologist, infectious disease control specialist and Founder/ Executive Director of Cure Violence. Recognized as an innovator in violence prevention, Dr. Slutkin sees the issue of violence as fundamentally misdiagnosed and has presented his solution-oriented understanding to the World Bank, the State Department, the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine, MIT SaxeLab, Harvard Law School and the National Intelligence Council.

Awards for Outstanding Research Articles in Biosurveillance

shaman_photo_small-cropped-6166228Jeffrey Shaman, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Dr. Shaman’s background is in climate, atmospheric science and hydrology, as well as biology. He studies the environmental determinants of infectious disease transmission. In particular, he investigates how hydrologic variability affects mosquito ecology and mosquito-borne disease transmission, and how atmospheric conditions impact the survival, transmission and seasonality of pathogens. More broadly, Dr. Shaman is interested in how meteorology affects human health. He is now working to develop systems to forecast infectious disease outbreaks at a range of time scales. In addition, Dr. Shaman studies a number of climate phenomena, including Rossby wave dynamics, atmospheric jet waveguides, the coupled South Asian monsoon-ENSO system, extratropical precipitation, and tropical cyclogenesis.

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tricia-schirmer20photo-cropped-4965518Patricia Schirmer, MD, Medical Epidemiologist, Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Health

Dr. Patricia Schirmer works as a medical epidemiologist for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Health Surveillance and Research. She works on the development of VA Health Care Associated Infection Influenza Surveillance Program in the Office of Public Health. She was trained in infectious diseases and her areas of expertise and interest include antimicrobial stewardship, hospital acquired infections, influenza and influenza-like illness, epidemiology of H1N1, dengue and syndromic surveillance.