The CDC has a new center to help forecast and analyze outbreaks.

Dubbed the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, the new entity is designed to enhance the country’s ability use data, models and analytics to enable timely, effective decision-making in response to public health threats, according to an announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The center is one of the CDC’s efforts to improve its response to outbreaks, said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. 

“This new center is an example of how we are modernizing the ways we prepare for and respond to public health threats. I am proud of the work that has come out of this group thus far and eager to see continued innovation in the use of data, modeling, and analytics to improve outbreak responses,” Walensky said.

The center will focus on improving its responses to outbreaks by using infectious disease modeling and analytics, according to CDC officials. It will also provide support to leaders at the federal, state, and local levels. The center is also charged with developing a program to provide insights about infectious disease events to the public to inform individual decision making for infectious diseases, similar to the work of the National Weather Service in regard to weather emergencies.

The director of the new center said it will focus on the three main pillars of predicting, informing and innovating related to the aspects of outbreaks. The center is expected to continue to advance the state of the science of outbreak data, models and analytics to improve the nation’s ability to respond to health emergencies.

Officials at the CDC are in the process of building the center staff with experts from several disciplines to be included to develop ways to predict trends and guide decisions during outbreaks.

“The capabilities and team we are building at the new center will improve decision-making in a health crisis,” said Dylan George, director for operations for the center.

The CDC began planning for the new center in August 2021 with initial funding of $200 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. So far, CDC has awarded $26 million in funding to academic institutions and federal partners to advance modeling and forecasting methodology, with an emphasis on workforce development and health equity. 

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