2018 ISDS Board of Directors
Wayne Loschen, MS
Mr. Loschen has been involved in the disease surveillance domain as the technical lead for the ESSENCE system at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) since 1999. Additionally, he has worked on numerous research initiatives with a variety of individuals from diverse backgrounds including epidemiology, mathematics, statistics, computer science, and others.
Loschen joined the society in 2005 when he attended his first conference in Seattle, Washington, and had since then been involved beyond just presenting at the conference. Starting with the Website Committee, Wayne has been periodically active in other committees and have helped support major ISDS project initiatives. While working with many jurisdictions Wayne has provided technical support for the Distribute project and contributed some technical expertise to the Meaningful Use working group. Additionally, he has presented at the conference close to 20 times since 2005, co-chaired the Informatics track of the scientific program committee for the 2012 conference, and was the chair for the 2013 scientific program committee.
Erin Austin, MPH
Ms. Austin is Enhanced Surveillance Coordinator, Division of Surveillance and Investigation at the Virginia Department of Health. Since 2011, she has worked as a public health practitioner at the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) focusing on syndromic surveillance; first as a surveillance epidemiologist and now as the coordinator of the syndromic surveillance program. In this role she manages the operation of Virginia’s ESSENCE system, oversee the onboarding of syndromic surveillance data sources such as emergency department and urgent care center visits, coordinate VDH’s Meaningful Use activities, ensure quality, integrity and completeness of syndromic surveillance data, oversee the use of these data to identify emerging public health issues and monitor health trends as well as sharing data with public health partners for situational awareness and informed decision making. She has had the opportunity to contribute to recent national efforts focused on improving syndromic surveillance data, reporting, and tools such as leading Virginia’s participation in the piloting of ESSENCE as part of CDC’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) as well as participating in the CDC Meaningful Use Public Health Reporting Taskforce subgroup focused on developing guidance materials for public health agencies on the registration and onboarding process in preparation for Stage 3 of Meaningful Use. Through her work she has built collaborations with other public health jurisdictions, most notably within the National Capital Region, to establish best practices for conducting syndromic surveillance, implement data sharing methods, and help expand surveillance capabilities in order to detect and monitor events of public health concern across the region.
Jennifer Bernstein, JD, MPH
Jennifer Bernstein is the Deputy Director of the Network for Public Health Law’s Mid-States Region. In this position, she provides legal technical assistance to public health practitioners, attorneys and policymakers on a broad range of public health legal issues. She has expertise and has worked extensively on legal issues related to health information and data sharing. This includes legal matters related to HIPAA, FOIA, disease surveillance and eHealth. Jennifer has worked with state and local health departments to address legal barriers and enable the sharing of public health information.
David Blazes, MD, MPH
Dr. Blazes is Senior Program Office, Surveillance and Epidemiology, Vaccine Development, Global Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His career in the military involved experience living and working in developing settings, complemented by several years at the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance program. During this time, he served on the Global Outreach committee and gave a keynote address at the 2007 ISDS meeting. Over the years, his research group has presented numerous posters and presentations at the annual meetings. His group also taught outbreak management across Latin America, serving as a bridge to the gold-standard Field Epidemiology Laboratory Training Program (FELTP).
Alina Deshpande, MS, PhD
Alina received her MS (1995) and PhD in Biomedical Sciences (2003) from the University of New Mexico, while working in the Bioscience Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). She has a BS in Microbiology from the University of Pune, India. Her doctoral research focused on genetic susceptibility of women in New Mexico to cervical cancer. As part of the project she developed a high throughput, multiplexed flow cytometry-based assay for identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms, genetic variations that contribute to disease susceptibility. She received a LANL director's funded post-doctoral fellowship in 2004 to pursue research on host-pathogen interactions of intracellular pathogens within the National Flow Cytometry Resource (NFCR). Specifically she used flow cytometry to characterize cholera toxin binding and internalization in human premonocytes, and performed quantitative characterization of protective antigen (component of anthrax lethal toxin) binding to receptors of various target human cells.
Alina has been a technical staff member at LANL since 2005 and has worked on projects including risk analysis for natural or intentional outbreaks of agricultural diseases, evaluation of mixed architecture systems for foreign animal disease surveillance and evaluation of technologies for non-destructive evaluation of chem, bio, and radioactive threat agents. She has also led projects on the development of multiplexed assays for human, animal and plant pathogen detection and characterization as well as human forensics, and currently runs the biological agent testing laboratory (BATL), an 1SO 17025 accredited facility for evaluation of vendor assays for the BioWatch program. Since 2010 Alina has also been a team leader for DTRA funded projects on the evaluation of traditional and non-traditional data streams for integrated global disease surveillance and development of decision support tools for enhancing situational awareness in infectious disease surveillance. She recently became group leader of the Biosecurity and Public Health group in the Bioscience Division. Alina is a reviewer for the Journal of Infectious Diseases, The International Journal of Cancer, Human Immunology, Plos One, Frontiers in Microbiology and the Journal of Medical Microbiology. She is a member of the International Society for Analytical Cytology (ISAC), the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS). She has published over 45 peer reviewed articles and reports so far.
P. Joseph Gibson, MPH, PhD
Dr. Gibson is the Director of Epidemiology at the Marion County Public Health Department, serving Indianapolis, Indiana. He chairs the informatics workgroup for the national association of local health agencies (NACCHO) and has been active in various national public health informatics efforts, including serving as the first Chair of the BioSense Governance Group, where he represented ISDS. He also works with the Regenstrief Institute to create public health informatics tools that leverage the clinical health information exchange.
He has a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health, and a doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Washington, with a focus on access and use of health services. Before starting work at the Marion County Public Health Department in 2003, he spent 8 years working for the pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly and Company, doing quality of life and cost research related to medications for schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses.
Katherine Harmon, MPH
Katherine (Katie) Harmon holds a Masters of Public Health with a dual concentration of Environmental and Occupational Health and Epidemiology from Saint Louis University. Currently, Ms. Harmon is pursuing a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The focus of her dissertation is the use of emergency department data to identify and describe sports and recreation-related injuries among school-age children.
Amy Ising, MS
Amy Ising is the Program Director for North Carolina’s statewide syndromic surveillance system, NC DETECT. NC DETECT is managed at the Carolina Center for Health Informatics in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) under contract to and in close collaboration with the North Carolina Division of Public Health. Ising has contributed to the design, development, implementation and maintenance of NC DETECT and its precursor NCEDD since 2000. She has been a co- investigator on several health informatics and biosurveillance-related research projects. Ising is adjunct faculty in the Department of Epidemiology at the UNC-CH Gillings School of Global Public Health, where she teaches introductory graduate-level courses on public health informatics. She received a B.A. with Distinction from the University of Virginia, and a M.S. in Information Science and Certificate in Field Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ising has been an active participant in ISDS since 2004 and is looking forward to attending her ninth ISDS conference this December. She has served on three conference organizing committees and is the 2012 Scientific Program Chair. Ising also served on the first ISDS Meaningful Use Workgroup that produced the ISDS Emergency Department and Urgent Care Recommendations.
For over 10 years, Eric Lau has been involved in disease surveillance as an academia at the School of Public Health, University of Hong Kong. In his early career, he had the opportunity to study the long-standing avian influenza surveillance system in Hong Kong which was set up after the emergence of avian influenza A(H5N1) epidemic in 1997. This allowed him to evaluate the effectiveness of a series of control measures in the poultry market, which subsequently provided valuable insight to the control of avian influenza A(H7N9) outbreaks in mainland China. Since then he became principal/co-investigator in several disease surveillance-related projects in human and animals, such as optimizing avian influenza surveillance strategy in live poultry markets, establishing electronic school absenteeism surveillance data, and designing digital dashboard for surveillance data dissemination. Through these work, he has obtained knowledge and experience in the science, practice, and utilization of disease surveillance, and appreciated the value of collaboration with people with diverse backgrounds.
Eric joined the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) and attended the conference in Raleigh in 2008. He enjoyed the interactions with experts from different discipline and geographical regions where they faced different challenges. It became clear to him that different stakeholders, including policy makers, public health practitioners, academia and solution developers, should come together for further improvement in the science and practice of surveillance. The ISDS conference provided an excellent opportunity. He attended 7 of the 9 annual conferences and gave talks or presented posters in each of these conferences. Eric was getting more involved in the conference and became a member of the pre-conference planning committee in 2013 and 2014 and a member of the Scientific Program committee and Chair/co-chair of the Analytics/Methodologies Track for the conferences in 2015, 2016 and 2018.
Eric has also actively participated in different ISDS workgroups and committees. One of these was the social media workgroup where he and the group initiated the idea in an annual conference and worked through it from distributed efforts in literature review and writing, to a published review of disease surveillance via social media. Recently he has also been involved in the one health surveillance committee, awards committee and the analytics solution committee.
In his work Eric has collaborated with local CDC in Hong Kong, city-, provincial- and national-level CDCs in China and worked on disease surveillance in human and animals, data quality, statistical algorithms for generating alerts, and epidemiological inferences from routine and multiple surveillance data streams.
Sheri Lewis, MPH
Sheri Lewis leads the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory’s (JHU/APL) Health Surveillance Program which includes the ESSENCE and SAGES projects. In this capacity, she works closely with both the US and international public health communities on the development and implementation of electronic disease surveillance systems, mobile health applications, and the development of advanced analytics for the prediction and modeling of emerging infectious diseases.
Additionally, Ms. Lewis is a member of the JHU/APL Principal Professional Staff and is the Research and Applications Program Area Manager for the organization’s National Health Mission Area. In this role Ms. Lewis oversees technical aspects of a range of programs spanning a variety of health topics including health surveillance, systems biology, neurological health and human performance, and biomechanics.
Ms. Lewis has been an active member of ISDS since its inception.
Gayatri Raol, MPH
Gayatri Raol graduated from the Benedictine University with Masters of Public Health in 2015. Recently, she completed a year long CSTE Applied Public Health Informatics Fellow with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in Office of Health Informatics. Her work at state department focused on Data extraction, data analysis and data quality activities for the CDC’s Enhanced Surveillance on Opioid-Related Morbidity and Mortality grant.She also coordinated the Public Health Surveillance Framework project that will provide surveillance data and health indicators to monitor population health in Wisconsin. Prior to joining to office of Health Informatics, she served as an AmeriCorps member at the Illinois Department of Public Health and have worked on various public health information systems and programs.
Vivek Singh, MPH, MBBS
Dr. Singh is a public health specialist working as an Associate Professor at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)'s Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) at Hyderabad. He received his MBBS degree from Government Medical College in Nagpur, MH, India and his MPH degree from Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA. He is also affiliated as a research scholar at the department of International Health, CAPHRI School of Public Health of Maastricht University in Netherlands.
Dr. Singh has worked as a medical officer for surveillance with the National Polio Surveillance Program of World Health Organization (WHO), providing leadership and technical support to the health system in various states in India. He has also worked as a consultant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta's 'STOP' program, and the WHO country office in Kenya providing technical support to Kenya's polio eradication program.
At PHFI, Dr. Singh is involved in academics; research; practice and consulting. He is engaged in the development and delivery of public health training programs using competency based approaches. He leads the training programs on field epidemiology; public health surveillance; public health emergency preparedness; and public health program management at the institute.
As a member of the ISDS, Dr. Singh has played a critical role in increasing the global outreach of the Society. He has been a member of the Scientific Program Committee for annual conferences and the co-chair for the public health surveillance practice track since 2012. He was instrumental in forging partnerships between PHFI and ISDS and in contributing to the Society's membership in the WHO's Global Health Workforce Alliance. He is also a steering committee member of the Asia Alliance on Global Health (AAGH), an alliance with a vision for better health in Asia through global interactions.