Improvement science and research methods seminar: “Using Simulation to Explore the Survey Process used for Assessing Transmission Interruption in Lymphatic Filariasis”

On 10th May from 1400 – 1500 Paul Weiss gave a seminar entitled: “Using Simulation to Explore the Survey Process used for Assessing Transmission Interruption in Lymphatic Filariasis”.

A major effort in global health is elimination of disease as a public health problem. The conditions for elimination vary from disease to disease; the WHO acknowledges 20 neglected tropical diseases and lists a handful of such conditions which may be eliminated in the future. In the case of infectious NTDs like lymphatic filariasis, elimination involves the reduction of prevalence below a threshold which thereby limits disease transmission. In 2011 the WHO adopted a new surveillance system which now features prominently in a country’s elimination certification dossier but re-emergence of LF in countries that were certified as eliminated led to inquiries about the survey processes used in assessing transmission interruption. In this talk we will explore the TAS process and how we simulated it to measure its performance. We present the findings we published in 2020 and discuss how simulation of survey processes can lead to numerous avenues of improvement in many areas of global health.

Paul Weiss served as a faculty member in Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health from 2000-2022. During this time he co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed papers pertaining to studies he designed. As a survey methodologist, Paul has developed weighting adjustments for large national public surveys in the US and has contributed to developing national surveys in India and the Republic of Georgia. Paul worked directly with a WHO team to produce their recent report on drug-resistant HIV where he calculated the complex sampling weights for the combination of dozens of adult and pediatric HIV surveys across more than 20 nations. Paul’s interest in infectious diseases began as a teenager when HIV emerged, opening up a new world of investigation and inquiry. Paul’s work with the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia (US, not Europe this time) gave him opportunities to work with people on the front lines of eliminating some of the world’s most debilitating and dangerous illnesses. His work with the trachoma group has led to changes in design and implementation of impact surveys for evaluating mass drug administration campaigns. His work with the lymphatic filariasis group led to the research being presented today. Paul currently lives with his wife and step-children outside of Athens, Georgia. In his spare time he enjoys listening to music or playing video games with his children.

This seminar was given on Teams, but some of us met in LMS3003 on the third floor of the Medical School. All are welcome, please contact Sue Bowler if you would like to attend future seminars.

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