News

August 31, 2017 |Project Tycho/Job Opportunity

University of Pittsburgh logoThe Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is recruiting a data curator and outreach coordinator to contribute to improving and creating awareness for the Project Tycho global health data repository and to help research to prevent epidemics. Learn more.

August 29, 2017 |Vaccination Myths and Facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccinations that help protect children from infectious diseases have saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the U.S. and prevented millions of hospitalizations over the years. But there is so much confusing information online about vaccines for children that it can be tough to know what's true and what's not, reports Consumer Reports. The CDC recommends a vaccination schedule for children. Addressing the myth that it’s safer to space out kids' vaccines, Wilbert van Panhuis, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, responds, "The CDC bases the schedule on disease risks and vaccine effectiveness at specific ages, and the way vaccines may interact with each other. To start mixing this up is really complicated and actually can be dangerous" possibly leaving kids vulnerable to infectious diseases. Read more.

February 15, 2017 |Project Tycho Introduced to Indian Health Researchers

In December 2016, the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health hosted a one-week workshop titled "Empowering Indian Health Researchers with Computational Modeling Tools". Six researchers from India participated in the workshop, a collaboration between SHARE INDIA/MediCiti Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, and the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh.

The workshop was designed to train Indian researchers in simulation and modeling and other tools developed by the PHDL. In addition to the hands-on-training in the use and application of FRED (Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics), an open source modeling system developed by the PHDL, Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis provided an introduction to Project Tycho.

February 15, 2017 |Project Tycho Featured at Infectious Diseases & Microbiology Seminar Series

Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis, lead investigator for Project Tycho and Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, was the guest speaker at the January 30th Infectious Diseases and Microbiology (IDM) Seminar Series at Pitt Public Health. Dr. Van Panhuis spoke on "Data integration to counter epidemic threats: Computational models of vector-born diseases".

The talk focused on how many valuable datasets are not being used to counter epidemic threats due to challenges in accessing and standardizing datasets, and in integrating data into novel analyses such as epidemic simulation. The Project Tycho team aim to improve the acquisition, standardization, and integration of information about epidemic threats. Dr. Van Panhuis discussed the following examples: 1) Data on dengue fever from eight countries in Southeast Asia found that synchronous dengue transmission in this region coincided with elevated temperatures caused by El Niño; 2) data integrated for an agent-based simulation model of Chikungunya in Colombia, representing 45 million people in over 10 million households, schools, and workplaces, found that information about previous dengue outbreaks can help target mosquito control against Chikungunya. The current aim is to make data and epidemic simulation models easier to use and re-use by researchers and policy makers.

February 15, 2017 |Project Tycho Team Welcomes New Data Manager

Tejaswi Anantaraju, MS, MBA, joins the Project Tycho team at the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Tejaswi received a MS in Information Technologies from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and an MBA from Osmania University in India. He has extensive experience designing and implementing Java based e-Business/e-Commerce applications, including a web service for the Bank of New York Mellon stakeholders, along with a strong business analytics background.

As Data Manager, Tejaswi will contribute to the Project Tycho data infrastructure to help the global health response against epidemic threats such as Ebola, Zika, and Dengue virus. He will assist in the design and development of the Project Tycho data acquisition workflow, assist with ongoing procurement of Project Tycho data, including data on global population health, and integration of data into the Project Tycho data system.

February 15, 2017 |Project Tycho 2.0 coming soon!

Project Tycho data will soon expand to a global scale by adding dengue data from countries around the world and US data for 28 additional diseases! Project Tycho data will also be further standardized by using standard disease codes and standard names for geographic locations that will greatly improve data inter-operability with other data sources. We will also update our online query system and will start accepting suggestions and submissions of datasets by the user community! Stay tuned!

 

 

October 5, 2016 |CBID Summer School in Hanoi Uses Project Tycho® Data

The Computational Biology for Infectious Diseases (CBID) summer school was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, September 18-25, 2016. The program was designed to provide students, researchers and professionals working on infectious diseases with basic concepts and hands-on experience in quantitative analyses of high throughput data. The school was organized in five parallel thematic groups of 15 students covering molecular phylogeny, (meta)genomics, population genetics, transmission dynamics and epidemics forecasting. Ninety students from 16 countries in Southeast Asia and from 38 institutions attended the one-week school. The trainings were led by experts in their fields from Vietnam, France, Switzerland, UK and USA. Project Tycho® data were used for mini-projects including the Southeast Asia dengue data.

 

September 28, 2016 |Project Tycho/PHDL Job Opportunities

Data Manager: The Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is recruiting a Data Manager to contribute to the Project Tycho data infrastructure and to help the global health response against epidemic threats such as Ebola, Zika, and Dengue virus. Learn more.

Scientific Director: The Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health also seeks a senior investigator/faculty to assume the position of Scientific Director. The appropriate person will be responsible for the technical and scientific leadership of a group of clinical and public health investigators who conduct research on the health of populations through mathematical modeling and simulation. The laboratory has specific expertise and skills in the mathematical modeling of infectious diseases, but is expanding its purview to include multiple chronic diseases, and the biologic and social determinants of health. Learn more.

September 21, 2016 |Michelle Dunn from NIH BD2K Visits University of Pittsburgh

Data science is increasingly necessary for biomedical science and requires established leadership and increased funds for research and training. This was the message of the first lecture of the 2016-2017 PHDL Seminar Series by guest speaker, Dr. Michelle Dunn, Senior Advisor of Data Science Training, Diversity and Outreach, Office of the Associate Director for Data Science (ADDS) at the National Institutes of Health.

On September 12th, over 130 people attended Dr. Dunn's lecture at the University Club in Pittsburgh, sponsored by the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL), Pitt Graduate School of Public Health. She described a major trans-NIH program, the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative, led by the NIH ADDS Office, as well as the additional efforts toward enabling the efficient management of biomedical Big Data. Among the aims of the BD2K Initiative is to increase training and funding for research grants and support of a data ecosystem that accelerates discovery as part of a digital enterprise. Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis, lead researcher of Project Tycho®, received a BD2K training grant in 2015 which will build on Project Tycho® as a global scale population health information system, improving the use of information to counter epidemic threats around the world.

For more information on Dr. Dunn's lecture and the information exchange, visit the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory website.

September 13, 2016 |New Post-doctoral Associate Joins the PHDL

Angel PaterninaAngel Paternina, MD, MSc, who has joined the department of Health Policy and Management as a post-doctoral associate. Dr. Paternina will work to develop a research program on the acquisition, integration and analysis of public health data to expand Project Tycho into a global, open access resource. His work will also include development of new analytical methods to visualize large scale disease data to detect patterns of associations between disease transmission and climate/demographic determinants.

Dr. Paternina earned his MD degree from the University of Cartagena, Colombia, and his MSc in Clinical Epidemiology from the National University of Colombia. He started his global health work in his native Colombia by studying the impact of rotavirus vaccination on child disease, reporting the effectiveness, impact and cost-effectiveness of the rotavirus vaccine to prevent rotavirus diarrheal disease and deaths in Colombia, Latin America and low and middle income countries worldwide. Since then, he has focused his research on the impact of different interventions in children and special populations, assessing in Colombia the cost-effectiveness of the varicella vaccine in children, HAART in HIV/AIDS population, mass pneumococcal vaccination in the elderly population, and the burden of H1N1 in pregnant women in Colombia during the pandemic. Currently, Dr. Paternina is an expert collaborator for the Global Burden of Disease study with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and is working with researchers from Latin America to identify the severity profile of some vector-borne diseases in Colombian children, including dengue and chikungunya.

June 24, 2016 |Project Tycho® and Prevention of Disease Spread Across Borders

11th Annual Immunization ConferenceOn November 3, 2016, Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis, lead scientist of Project Tycho®, will speak at the 11th Allegheny County Immunization Coalition (ACIC) Annual Immunization Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His presentation "Preventing the Spread of Diseases Across Borders" will highlight the public health impact of current and possible future vaccines. Project Tycho® will also have an educational booth at the conference to share one-on-one information with attendees about open access to integrated global disease. If you are interested in attending, registration is open at https://ccehs.upmc.com/.

April 5, 2016 |Prominent vaccine advocate acknowledges value of Project Tycho®

Paul OffitOn March 30, 2016, Dr. Paul Offit, a well-known vaccine advocate, author and virologist, accepted the 2016 Porter Prize award at the University of Pittsburgh and acknowledged the importance of the Project Tycho® database and research program.

The Porter Prize is awarded in recognition of an individual's exceptional performance in health promotion and disease prevention. Paul Offit, MD, is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Offit is also the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq. At the award ceremony on March 30, his keynote speech titled "Unvaccinated: The Strange History of Vaccine Exemptions" focused on the great benefits of vaccination programs and the dangers of vaccine refusal to the health of children in the US.

March 17, 2016 |Project Tycho® Joins Global Registry of Data Repositories

re3data logoProject Tycho® has been invited and accepted to participate in a global registry of more than 1,400 research data repositories called re3data.org (REgistry of REsearch Data REpositories). The registry covers research data repositories from various academic disciplines and helps researchers find appropriate repositories for storage and access of research data. Since 2012, re3data.org has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and promotes a culture of sharing, increased access and better visibility of research data. Project Tycho® is pleased to be part of this initiative.

March 9, 2016 |Project Tycho® Data Used to Study US and UK Measles Epidemics

periodicityMeasles epidemics continue to pose a significant public health risk wherever vaccination coverage is low. In a paper published in the PLoS Computational Biology, February 2016, researchers used Project Tycho® data to compare 20-year measles incidence time series in 80 major cities during the prevaccination era. Forty of these cities were located in the US and 40 in the UK. Results showed that slight changes in the seasonal pattern of measles transmission caused by differences in the length of school holidays can lead to chaotic patterns, reducing the capacity to forecast epidemics and to determine the efficacy of control strategies.

 

February 10, 2016 |Published Findings Presented at Pitt Seminar

Sourya ShresthaOn January 11, 2016, Dr. Sourya Shrestha from Johns Hopkins University was the guest speaker at the 2015-2016 Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) Seminar Series at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Shrestha spoke on the findings published in Nature Scientific Reports, October 21, 2015, on the role of influenza in the epidemiology of pneumonia. He employs modeling techniques rooted in applied mathematics and infectious disease ecology, along with epidemiological data to understand transmission dynamics of infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and dengue. He uses multiple sources of epidemiological data, including Project Tycho® data, which vary in the time periods they cover and the scales at which they are collected, and a mechanistic transmission model, both within a likelihood-based inference framework to characterize the nature, timing, and magnitude of this interaction. In this paper, they concluded that influenza infection substantially enhances the risk of pneumonia, though only for a short period.

 

February 4, 2016 |Project Tycho® Opportunities

The Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is currently inviting applications for two full-time postdoctoral fellowship positions. The PHDL is a dynamic, interdisciplinary environment focused on the development of agent-based simulators to represent transmission of infectious diseases. The PHDL hosts a comprehensive data infrastructure named Project Tycho® that aims to improve access and use of public health data for decision making. One position will focus on expanding the PHDL’s vector-borne agent-based modeling program and the other position will focus on expanding the PHDL’s research program on public health data integration and modeling. For more information, click on the links below.

Postdoctoral position to advance the work of the PHDL’s data collection/integration program

Postdoctoral position to advance the work of the PHDL’s vector-borne agent based modeling

February 4, 2016 |Report from the Regional SE Asia Meeting on Dengue Forecasting

On January 26, over 30 representatives from ten Southeast Asian countries convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to review the status of disease forecasting based on climate and epidemiological data, in particular dengue, given the current strong El Niño season. During discussions, some countries reported high dengue transmission at the close of 2015 with the potential of a large 2016 outbreak while interventions will be implemented country-by-country. Every country is already doing some type of epidemic risk forecasting, ranging from qualitative to highly quantitative models. Regional initiatives are ongoing to improve the political and technical framework for data sharing and the University of Pittsburgh is planning to play a significant catalytic role in this process.

January 7, 2016 |Project Tycho® Study Leads to Regional Southeast Asia Meeting on Dengue Forecasting

In collaboration with the University of Malaya, the University of Pittsburgh will organize a Southeast Asia regional meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on January 26, 2016. During this meeting, country partners and international experts will review the status of disease forecasting based on climate and epidemiological data, in particular for dengue fever, given the current strong El Niño season. This convening of partner institutions from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Taiwan, India and Indonesia, resulted in part from the study entitled “Region-wide synchrony and traveling waves of dengue across eight countries in Southeast Asia” published in the October 15, 2015 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. All data for this study are publicly available from Project Tycho®.

November 16, 2015 |Prisoners Learn to Program Using Project Tycho®

A team of prisoners participating in The Last Mile is using Project Tycho Level 1 and Level 2 data to learn computer programming. They are creating a web application for interactive maps that highlight the impact of vaccination against measles, chickenpox and polio. The app will also create data visualizations for influenza reports. The Last Mile team will present their work at Demo Day on December 9th at the San Quentin State Prison.

The Last Mile (TLM) was created to provide in-prison programs that prepare incarcerated individuals for successful re-entry with marketable skills that lead to employment.

The Last Mile team

In 2014, TLM launched the first computer coding curriculum in a United States prison (Code.7370). The students learn HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and Python. In addition to these front end skills, the curriculum has expanded to include web and logo design, data visualization and UX/UI.

October 30, 2015 |Pneumonia and the Role of Influenza

The influenza virus has long been commonly associated with pneumonia. Using data from Project Tycho®, the US Census Bureau and annual reports of the US Army Surgeon General, researchers have quantified the interaction, at a population scale, between pneumonia and influenza. They concluded that influenza infection substantially enhances the risk of pneumonia, though only for a short period. These findings were published in Nature Scientific Reports, October 21, 2015.

 

 

 

October 8, 2015 |Dengue Epidemics Linked to El Niño Season

Epidemics of dengue across Southeast Asia are linked to high temperatures brought by the El Niño weather phenomenon are the findings of an international research team led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), are timely as the most intense El Niño in nearly two decades is emerging in the Pacific, raising the concern that a major increase in cases of dengue will occur throughout Southeast Asian countries early next year.

Dengue surveillance data are routinely collected by public health agencies around the world, but due to a variety of barriers, these data cannot always be used for scientific analysis. The University of Pittsburgh collaborated with colleagues at over 18 institutions across 8 countries in Southeast Asia to integrate dengue surveillance data into the Project Tycho® database and to detect patterns of disease transmission at a regional level.

"Large dengue epidemics occur unexpectedly, which can overburden the health care systems," said lead author William G. van Panhuis, MD, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. "Our analysis shows that elevated temperatures can create the ideal circumstance for large-scale dengue epidemics to spread across a wide region. The ability to predict and prepare for these epidemics should lead to more effective disease surveillance and control efforts."

"This study will contribute toward a better understanding of the cyclical nature of dengue," said co-author Lam Sai Kit, PhD, professor at the University of Malaysia. These findings will help them to prepare for a worst-case scenario and immediate measures can be taken to counter its effect in the next few months.

February 12, 2015 |Project Tycho® Data Featured by The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal

In an effort to bring more scientific evidence into the dialogue on vaccines, the Wall Street Journal used Project Tycho data to visualize the dramatic effect of vaccination programs in recent articles on measles in California and the impact of vaccination programs in the 20th century. These visualizations show the same dramatic pattern illustrated by the Project Tycho team in a 2013 NEJM publication that demonstrated that 100 million cases of childhood diseases have been prevented by vaccination programs in the US during the 20th century.

February 6, 2015 |Project Tycho® Provides Evidence for Measles Vaccination

measles

As the measles outbreak is spreading in the US, currently affecting over 100 people in 14 states, the dialogue on vaccination has intensified. Health officials testified in a Congressional hearing on vaccine effectiveness and safety and the debate has spread widely among the public. The Project Tycho database provides scientific evidence on measles and 57 other infectious diseases across the U.S. since the late 1800s.

Project Tycho data has been used extensively for better insight in infectious disease patterns in the US and provides support to media and scientists to advance the use of public health data for decisions. The project has been featured recently in a variety of media including Bloomberg Business, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and KDKA and WPTS Pittsburgh Radio. Project Tycho previously demonstrated that 36 million cases of measles have been prevented since the vaccine was licensed in 1963 and over 100 million cases of 7 childhood diseases have been prevented in the US since 1924 (NEJM 2013). The Project Tycho team continues to investigate the resurgence of childhood diseases in the US and the role of vaccination.

December 12, 2014 |Project Tycho® Reaches the One-Year Mark!

ASPPH logo

The Project Tycho® team is proud to announce that on November 27, 2014, Project Tycho® marked its one year anniversary. Since its launch on November 27, 2013, Project Tycho® has been presented in radio interviews, via webinars, at national and international conferences, referenced in papers published in top journals, and acknowledged in over 100 media articles - and continues to receive recognition. The pool of registered users, foreign and domestic, is currently at 1463 and growing! And thanks to users who have identified and reported problems, ongoing improvements continue to be made to the database. In October, the Project Tycho® team completed the first update of Project Tycho® level 2 and 3 data to version 1.1.0.

October 27, 2014 |ASPPH Presents Webinar: A Vision for the Acceleration of Global Health Data for Science and Policy

ASPPH logo

The ASPPH hosted the first webinar in the 2014-2015 "ASPPH Presents" webinar series, A Vision for the Acceleration of Global Health Data for Science and Policy, on Thursday, October 16, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Eastern, featuring Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. This webinar, sponsored by the ASPPH Global Health Committee, discussed the importance of using routinely collected public health data to inform public health science and policy and will present one model for such data sharing and use. The "ASPPH Presents" webinar series is provided as a benefit to CEPH-accredited ASPPH member schools and programs of public health.

View the archived recording

October 24, 2014 |Project Tycho® Webinar for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

NNLM logo

Dr van PanhuisThe National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region, hosts a monthly "boost box" on-line session designed to 'boost' knowledge and discussion on a topic of interest. Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis, Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, was the invited speaker for the October 14, 2014, session. Approximately 70 health sciences librarians, public health workers, health professionals and others attended the webinar to hear about "Project Tycho®, Data for Health: Open Access to Public Health Data". Dr. Van Panhuis discussed how the Project Tycho® team aims to provide open access to public health data from around the world. Currently, the database contains the entire 125 year history of US weekly nationally notifiable disease surveillance reports. All these data are freely available to the public through an easy-to-use online interface at www.tycho.pitt.edu. Often times restricted access to public health data limits opportunities for scientific discovery and technological innovation.

The Project Tycho® team is continuously engaging in new partnerships with scientists, funding and public health agencies around the world to add or connect new historical and current datasets to the system. New datasets include global dengue surveillance data and Chikungunya data for Latin America (www.tycho.pitt.edu/dev). The Project Tycho® team is collaborating with international partners from a large variety of scientific disciplines to create innovative analytical approaches to add value to public health data. Currently, about 1,300 people from around the world have registered to use Project Tycho® data and over 17,000 users have visited the website since the launch in November 2013. Project Tycho® data are used for research, student theses, dissertations, homework, teaching, and for public advocacy. The Project Tycho® team is excited to present this new resource for the advancement of science and population health.

A recording of this webinar and the presentation slides are available on the Boost Box Archives page under: Project Tycho / Data for Health: Open Access to Public Health Data / October 2014 [Recording | Presentation].

October 3, 2014 |Project Tycho® Data Updated

Project Tycho V1.1.0 Release

The first Project Tycho® update has been released. This includes an update of level 2 and 3 data to version 1.1.0. This update includes new weekly counts of all nationally notifiable diseases published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control from August 23, 2013 through August 8, 2014. In addition, disease subcategories for measles, polio, and hepatitis A and B have been harmonized and made available as total weekly cases reported for each of these diseases. The Project Tycho® data system cannot accommodate specific disease subcategories yet but work will continue on this. Finally, multiple errors have been corrected or removed for this update. We would like to thank all contributors who have detected errors or suggested improvements to the Project Tycho® data system. All contributors have received a Project Tycho® mug.

October 3, 2014 |Project Tycho® Scarves and Ties

People wearing Project Tycho tie & scarf

Project Tycho® scarves and ties have been distributed to advance vaccination programs. In response to many positive comments on stunning heatmap visualizations of the decline of childhood diseases in the United States after vaccination programs, we have decided to create scarves and ties that depict this pattern. Vaccination programs are not widely accepted despite their overwhelming impact. Recently, it appeared that vaccination rates among children in wealthy schools in Los Angeles are similar to those in South Sudan. We have distributed these scarves and ties to vaccine advocates around the world and are now actively seeking mechanisms for expansion to a larger audience.

October 3, 2014 |Data Mining with Project Tycho® Data

FUNNEL

Project Tycho® data have been used by investigators at Carnegie Mellon University and Kumamoto University in Japan in collaboration with Project Tycho® to develop a data mining tool named FUNNEL. FUNNEL can automatically detect multiple characteristics of epidemiological time series data such as data errors, effects of external influence, the introduction of vaccines, seasonality effects, and spatial heterogeneity. FUNNEL has recently been presented at the 20th ACM SIGKDD international conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining and has been published in the proceedings of this conference. We congratulate the authors Dr. Yasuko Matsubara, Dr. Yasushi Sakurai, and Dr. Christos Faloutsos on this great accomplishment and contribution to add value to public health data.

August 28, 2014 |Project Tycho® Team Makes Chikungunya Data Available

Since late 2013, cases of Chikungunya have been reported in the Americas, starting in the Caribbean. In 2014, this epidemic has spread throughout the region through importations and autochthonous transmission between countries. The Project Tycho® team has transformed weekly reports of Chikungunya cases and deaths provided by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Agence régionale de santé (ARS) into a digitized data resource for science and policy making.

Access the data here.

June 26, 2014 |Project Tycho® Presented at CSTE 2014

On June 23 and 24, the Project Tycho® database was presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists in Nashville, Tennessee. A poster based on Project Tycho® data presented that 103 million cases of seven serious childhood diseases have been prevented by vaccination (see abstract). The Project Tycho® online data system was also demonstrated during a software demonstration breakout session (see abstract). We are looking forward to continue working with Federal, state, and local health departments to improve and expand the Project Tycho® data system.

June 25, 2014 |Project Tycho® at 1000+ Registered Users

The number of user registrations on the Project Tycho® web site exceeded 1,000 in April this year. There are now over 1150 registered users of Project Tycho®. Most users are from the United States but users from 49 other countries have registered as well including France, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada and India. Up to 40,000 datasets have been downloaded through the web or API interface. Over 45,000 people from almost every country have visited the Project Tycho® website and about 50 new visitors browse by every day. Project Tycho® data are being used by journal editors for infographics, by scientists and students as research projects, by code developers to create new programs and by teachers for training. We would like to thank all our users for adding value to these new data and for their valuable feedback and comments.

June 9, 2014 |User Contributions Recognized

Since launching the Project Tycho® database in November 2013, over 60 user Feedback Forms have been received. The quality of the inquiries, errors reported and suggestions offered has been impressive! To recognize key contributions, a Project Tycho® mug has been created and to date, 10 registered users have received one as a token of appreciation.

The Project Tycho Team would like to extend their thanks to all users for their support of and interest in the Project Tycho® database!

April 24, 2014 |Webinar Highlights Project Tycho®

Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis from the University of Pittsburgh was the invited speaker for the April 23, 2014, International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) webinar. Forty-four epidemiologists, public health officers, professors and scientists from state-wide public health departments, public health agencies, universities, and federal agencies joined to hear Dr. van Panhuis talk about Project Tycho® and open access to newly digitized U.S. weekly nationally notifiable disease surveillance data from 1888-present. Dr. van Panhuis discussed the background, methods, results, and conclusions of Project Tycho, wanting to impart to the audience a general idea of the history of notifiable disease surveillance across the United States, to familiarize them with a new resource for historical notifiable disease surveillance data, and to develop an idea of new opportunities provided by large scale historical disease surveillance data for evidence-based decision making.

To view slides from this webinar, click here: http://syndromic.org/resources/isds-webinars/upcoming-recent/745-2014-apr-project-tycho.

April 23, 2014 |Project Tycho® Turns Big Data from Lazy to Active

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been collecting data for decades on the nation's health, demographics, social services, and scientific research. But what is the value of all this data if it isn't used?

As part of the President's government-wide Open Data Initiative to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency, the HHS Health Data Initiative was launched three years ago. They have gathered vast troves of data which have been published at HealthData.gov, and they recently reached a milestone of cataloging the one-thousandth data set. These data sets include data from the CDC, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the NIH, the Administration for Children and Families, and other agencies.

Project Tycho® is one example of how innovators have put accessible government data to use in their efforts to improve health care quality, guide individuals to available health care and social services, and inform health policy.

Earlier this year, Kathleen Sebelius, then HHS Secretary, made this statement in her remarks to the Aspen Institute's Care Innovation Summit on the topic of 'Reimagining health care delivery'. "We're seeing innovation in the academic and nonprofit sectors. A University of Pittsburgh initiative called Project Tycho, for example, unlocks CDC data on contagious diseases which goes back all the way to 1888. Among other things, they've identified more than 100 million cases of contagious illness that were prevented by immunizations."

March 6, 2014 |Project Tycho® Data Published in Nature

Project Tycho® data have been featured in a supplement on vaccination in the 6 March 2014 issue of the journal Nature. In a compelling infographic named “The Age of Vaccines”, the data show the dramatic decline of childhood diseases after licensure of vaccines. The infographic also highlights the importance of continued vaccination as for some diseases such as whooping cough, incidence rates are increasing and for other diseases such as measles, resurgences have been reported in previously protected populations. Project Tycho® data are freely available for anybody to use in innovative visualizations and data analyses.

January 20, 2014 |Project Tycho® Enhances Availability of US Disease Data

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced the enhanced availability of data for nationally notifiable diseases in the January 17 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Provisional weekly data reported by U.S. states and territories and published weekly in the MMWR will become available and downloadable in machine-readable format starting in on January 10, 2014, through data.cdc.gov. Currently, these data are available in downloadable text files from 1996 onwards from the CDC's WONDER system. Data from before 1996 are available in PDF format for MMWR volumes 1-30 (1952-1981) through CDC Stacks. The Project Tycho® database greatly advanced the availability of these historical data by providing open access to newly digitized weekly data from 1888 to the present. Project Tycho® enables the online exploration, visualization, and downloading of weekly nationally notifiable disease data and will continue to update its database every six months with newly available weekly data.

December 19, 2013 |Libraries Promote Project Tycho®

Following the launch of Project Tycho® on November 28th, several university libraries in the U.S. and abroad have featured the Project Tycho® database on their Web sites as a new resource of open access public health data. Various libraries have also indexed the database in their guides and catalogues for retrieval in searches on disease surveillance data. This is an exciting new venue to advance the use of these data among academic faculty, students and staff. Libraries that have featured the Project Tycho® database include the University of Pittsburgh, UC Davis, Georgia State University, William & Mary College, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Brown University, UC Berkeley, Tulane University, University of Padova Italy, and the Medical Library Association.

December 11, 2013 |Project Tycho® Study Featured on WESA 90.5 FM

Dr. Van Panhuis on NPRProject Tycho® investigators explained in Paul Guggenheimer's Essential Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh's NPR News Station – WESA 90.5 FM – how they collected and digitized 125 years of US contagious disease data. Dean Donald Burke explained that the data have always been available but not in a format that could be used in scientific analysis to support policy making. Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis explained how these newly digitized data revealed that 100 million cases of seven severe childhood diseases have been prevented by vaccines in the United States since 1924.

Click here to listen to the interview.

 
 

December 6, 2013 |Project Tycho® Release Featured in the New York Times

The release and publication of Project Tycho® data has been featured in an article of the New York Times online and print version of Thursday November 28th entitled “The Vaccination Effect: 100 Million Cases of Contagious Disease Prevented”. It emphasizes that the large amount of data digitized by the project provides an invaluable resource for science and policy and the importance of vaccination programs in the United States.

December 6, 2013 |Project Tycho® Data Available on HealthData.gov

Through a collaboration with the Open Government Initiative, Project Tycho® data have been listed on HealthData.gov as new open access resource for governmental data. In addition on the listing, HealthData.gov has agreed to host Project Tycho® level 1 and level 2 data that can each be downloaded from this site as a one CSV file with a single click. Comments on this release have been made in the HealthData.gov blog.

November 28, 2013 |Project Tycho® Data Version 1.0.0 Released for Public Access

After four years of data digitization and processing, the Project Tycho® Web site provites open access to newly digitized and integrated data from the entire 125 years history of United States weekly nationally notifiable disease surveillance data since 1888. These data can now be used by scientists, decision makers, investors, and the general public for any purpose. The Project Tycho® aim is to advance the availability and use of public health data for science and decision making in public health, leading to better programs and more efficient control of diseases. Read full press release.

Three levels of data have been made available: Level 1 data include data that have been standardized for specific analyses, Level 2 data include standardized data that can be used immediately for analysis, and Level 3 data are raw data that cannot be used for analysis without extensive data management. See the video tutoral.

November 28, 2013 |A Project Tycho® Study Estimates that 100 Million Cases of Contagious Diseases Have Been Prevented by Vaccination Programs in the United States Since 1924

In a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Contagious diseases in the United States from 1888 to the present,” a Project Tycho® study estimates that over 100 million cases have been prevented in the U.S. since 1924 by vaccination programs against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Vaccination programs against these diseases have been in place for decades but epidemics continue to occur. Despite the availability of a pertussis vaccine since the 1920s, the largest pertussis epidemic in the U.S. since 1959 occurred last year. This study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health and all data used for this study have been released through the online Project Tycho® data system as level 1 data.

“Historical records are a precious yet undervalued resource. As Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, we live forward but understand backward,” explained Dr. Burke, senior author on the paper. “By ‘rescuing’ these historical disease data and combining them into a single, open-access, computable system, we can now better understand the devastating impact of epidemic diseases, and the remarkable value of vaccines in preventing illness and death.” See an interview with the authors and an animation on the analysis.

November 28, 2013 |Project Tycho® Data Have Been Used by Undergraduate Students During the Undergraduate Data Palooza! 2013

The University of Pittsburgh MIDAS Center of Excellence funded by the National Institutes of Health conducted an international research competition for undergraduate students around the world named the Undergraduate Data Palooza! 2013. Hundreds of students registered as individuals or as teams for this competition which allowed them to use up to 10 Project Tycho® datasets for a creative analysis in one of three categories: 1) The historical context of a disease pattern, 2) a creative visualization, 3) a quantitative analysis of a disease pattern. The datasets included a wide variety of infectious diseases such as AIDS, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tuberculosis, malaria, and others. Out of many outstanding submissions, one winning submission was selected in each category by an independent panel of reviewers. The winners of the competition were:

Runjing Lu and Lu Zhang, Emory University
Prasad Kanuparthi, University of Pittsburgh and Asish Balu, Pennsylvania State University
Emily Hu, Johns Hopkins University

Read more about the winners.

The Project Tycho® database is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health

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