Fall 2020 Challenge Spotlight: Pandemic Challenge

Fall 2020 semester’s pandemic challenge will have an interdisciplinary student team working with the newly formed Comprehensive Monitoring Team (CMT) at the Ohio Department of Health. The CMT is tasked with contextualizing pandemic data collected throughout Ohio and neighboring states in order to create actionable steps to be sent to Governor DeWine. This data includes, but is not limited to, emergency department and outpatient care codes, COVID-19 testing data, contact tracing data, as well as data provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Currently underway is an initiative to use wastewater sampling along with other environmental monitoring as another method to characterize the spread of COVID-19 in different areas. This environmental monitoring has the potential to provide new and useful data to the conversation and help the CMT with their mission. Students will be tasked with finding ways to integrate the use of this data into the CMT’s network in a useful and sustainable way. Information discovery will be key to helping the team understand how this data should be used, what can be learned from it, and what type of tool can be created to clear out the noise and make it easy to incorporate with existing data.

Along the way, students will get an opportunity to network with the Ohio Department of Health and other experts in the field as they push to learn more about the challenge. They will also get a sense of how environmental data is collected and utilized in the context of pandemics and health security. This is a great opportunity for students with any background to see how disciplines must come together to ensure health security and the kind of work that goes into creating policies and actions that keep the public safe.

Rapid Innovation for Public Impact (PUBAFRS 5620) meets on Fridays from 12-3. Any student interested in this problem should register for the course and contact us at battellecenter@osu.edu with any questions.