CDC announces new disease forecasting center

Aug. 20, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a new center designed to advance the use of forecasting and outbreak analytics in public health decision making.

Once established, the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics will bring together next-generation public health data, expert disease modelers, public health emergency responders and high-quality communications, to meet the needs of decision makers. 

The new center will accelerate access to and use of data for public health decision-makers who need information to mitigate the effects of disease threats, such as social and economic disruption. The center will prioritize equity and accessibility, while serving as a hub for innovation and research on disease modeling.

The center, with initial funding from the American Rescue Plan will focus on three key functions:

  • Predict: Undertake modeling and forecasting; enhance the ability to determine the foundational data sources needed; support research and innovation in outbreak analytics and science for real-time action; and establish appropriate forecasting horizons.
  • Connect: Expand broad capability for data sharing and integration; maximize interoperability with data standards and utilize open-source software and application programming interface capabilities, with existing and new data streams from the public health ecosystem and beyond.
  • Inform: Translate and communicate forecasts; connect with key decision-makers across sectors including government, businesses and non-profits, along with individuals with strong intergovernmental affairs and communication capacity for action.

The new leadership team charged with the development and implementation of a plan to establish the center, includes:

  • Dr. Marc Lipsitch, who will serve as Director for Science
  • Dr. Dylan George, who will serve as Director for Operations
  • Dr. Caitlin Rivers, who will serve as Associate Director
  • Dr. Rebecca Kahn, who will serve as Senior Scientist

In establishing the center, CDC is addressing a critical need to improve the U.S. government’s ability to forecast and model emerging health threats, while building on existing modeling activities, expanding collaboration through interoperability, accessibility and increased emphasis on policy-maker decision support and communication to the public.

CDC release