COVID-19 Intervention Fellowship Awardees Announced
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked unprecedented public health and social measures (PHSM) by national and local governments, including border restrictions, school closures, mandatory face mask use, and stay-at-home orders. Quantifying the effectiveness of these interventions in reducing disease transmission is key to rational policy-making in response to the current and future pandemics. In order to estimate the effectiveness of these interventions, detailed descriptions of their timelines, scale and scope are needed. Health Intervention Tracking for COVID-19 (HIT-COVID), led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) faculty in collaboration with over 200 volunteer contributors around the world, is a curated and standardized global database that catalogs the implementation and relaxation of COVID-19 related PHSM.
This year the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health developed a unique fellowship opportunity to support graduate students to work with HIT-COVID. Using this database, fellows have the opportunity to design an original research project regarding COVID-19 health policy, contribute to a global database, and gain valuable data analysis skills. The fellows will work together to contribute to the data collection efforts and to develop new ideas on how to use the data to inform public health policy. Students will be supported by the faculty team to develop academic manuscripts, policy briefs, and other relevant outputs.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health is excited to announce two fellowship recipients for the COVID-19 Intervention Fellowship.
Priyanka Das is an MSPH student in the Department of International Health in the Health Systems program. Priyanka has had the opportunity to closely monitor the rapid developments pertaining to the COVID-19 outbreak in real-time working as a teaching assistant for the “Current Issues in Public Health: COVID-19 Pandemic Response” course offered by the Department of International Health at JHSPH. She was responsible for helping the teaching team to finalize the design of the COVID Public Health Tracker, which was subsequently leveraged for the HIT-COVID database.
Priyanka is excited to utilize the robust HIT COVID database to devise policy solutions that effectively engage social determinants of health as an integral part of public health and looks forward to participating in activities that usher in Public Health 3.0, a renewed public health framework that draws attention to social determinants of health and multi-sectoral collaboration to ensure health for all.
“The pandemic has reinforced the need for multi-sectoral collaboration and integrated health service delivery to control disease spread and to reduce their adverse outcomes on population health,” Das explains. “I look forward to working in a larger cohort and on future collaborations, as well as learning from my others who are more experienced in data analyses and quantitative skills.”
The specific research question that Priyanka will explore during her fellowship is “Does the association between non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for COVID-19 and health outcomes vary across countries?” The proposed study will explore the HIT-COVID database to assess the effect of each NPI on health outcomes across a range of high, upper-middle, lower-middle and low-income countries. The analyses will also simultaneously compare the effect of multiple NPIs in each country. Conducting similar analyses for each selected country, representing the four income groups, would help explore if a particular NPI had a differential effect on health outcomes. Findings from this study will help the global scientific community and decision-makers to identify the optimal mix and timing of non-pharmaceutical interventions, given differences in existing health systems, and devise an effective response to future pandemics.
Priyanka's mentor is Dr. Shivam Gupta, Associate Scientist in the Department of International Health.
Sara Solomon is a DrPH Student on the Implementation Science track and is interested in understanding and describing the nuances of why and how health interventions are impactful or not. Sara, who has volunteered at COVID-19 testing sites located within vulnerable communities, believes that she has a personal responsibility to contribute to the COVID-19 response. As a trainee in a virtual program, Sara is happy to have the opportunity to interact with students, staff, and faculty as much as possible.
“I was particularly excited about applying a new method of comparative qualitative analysis through this fellowship,” says Solomon. “I look forward to working collaboratively with other students and mentors at Hopkins.”
The specific research question that Sara will explore during her fellowship is “What are the conditions that occur or combine to promote or discourage the application of COVID-19 interventions worldwide?” During her fellowship, she will explore the complexity of how and why life-saving practices and policies have or have not been adopted. With this understanding, she hopes to be able to formulate recommendations for communities, counties, states, and countries to effectively respond to their crises in both the short and long-term. With these rich data already on hand, Sara’s inquiry is particularly relevant and will allow a timely understanding in order to recommend a set of criteria to ensure the effective rollout of recommended best practices and policies related to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as for future pandemics.
Sara's mentor is Dr. Shannon Frattaroli, Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management.
Congratulations to our two fellows!