Panel Discussion: Insights from Public Health
During this panel discussion, we will explore the impact that initiatives such as the COVID-19 and Influenza Scenario Modeling Hubs and related efforts had and are having on shaping public health response. This session will feature panelists from CDC, ACIP, public health departments, and hospital networks.
- Dr. Rachel Slayton (CDC)
- Dr. Megan Wallace (ACIP)
- Dr. Tomás León (CDPH)
- Dr. Daniel Diekema (Maine Health)
- Ellie Bergren (CSTE)
- Dr. Isaac Benowitz (Maine CDC)
Dr. Rachel Slayton is a PhD trained epidemiologist and infectious disease modeler. She leads a mathematical modeling unit focused on healthcare-associated infections and multi-drug resistant organisms in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Epidemiology Research and Innovations Branch. She also serves as the Scientific Director for the Modeling Infectious Diseases in Healthcare (MInD-Healthcare) network and co-led CDC’s COVID-19 mathematical modeling unit.
Dr. Megan Wallace is the COVID-19 Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices Work Group Lead and an Epidemiologist in the National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases.
Dr. Tomás León is the Chief of the Modeling Section at the California Department of Public Health. He has a background in environmental engineering and a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, and has been actively doing infectious disease modeling for the state of California since late 2020. His team produces the public-facing California Communicable diseases Assessment Tool (a.k.a, CalCAT) and is currently expanding their portfolio to model more infectious diseases in collaboration with partners.
Dr. Daniel Diekema is the Medical Director for Epidemiology and Infection Prevention at MaineHealth, and Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. He is also a Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa, where he served as a director for the Division of Infectious Diseases from 2010-2021. Dr. Diekema received his MD at Vanderbilt University in 1989. He did his residency in internal medicine at the University of Virginia (1989-1992). He did his fellowships in infectious diseases (1992-1995) and medical microbiology (1998-2000) at the University of Iowa. Also while at the University of Iowa, he received his master of science in preventive medicine. As an epidemiologist, infectious diseases clinician and a clinical microbiologist, Dr. Diekema has studied and published extensively on the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance and health care-associated infections. Dr. Diekema is a past president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and was also a member and co-chair of the CDC Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee.
Ellie Bergren is the Forecasting Lead at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. She maintains a community of practice for modelers and forecasters across public health agencies, academia, and industry, and works to improve the utility of forecasting and modeling in public health practice. Before coming to CSTE, she modeled economic analyses of tuberculosis interventions and later COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income countries. She holds a Master of Science degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics.
Dr. Isaac Benowitz is the State Epidemiologist and Chief Medical Officer at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, where he provides epidemiological and clinical support for disease surveillance and response, environmental health and toxicology, healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance, and other public health areas. He is a graduate of Columbia University and the Yale University School of Medicine. He completed a Pediatrics residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a Public Health and General Preventive Medicine residency at CDC. Prior to coming to Maine in 2021, he served as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer based at the New York City health department and as a medical epidemiologist in CDC’s healthcare division.