Ninth Annual Conference to Increase Diversity in Mathematical Modeling and Public Health

This conference is hosted by the MIDAS Coordination Center in cooperation with the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD) at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

Watch this short 5-minute video to learn more!

Conference Dates:  February 26 – 28, 2021
Conference Location:  Virtual

This conference is for undergraduate students or students in a post baccalaureate program from underrepresented groups who have an interest in public health and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases. The conference will introduce students to modeling methods and familiarize students with modeling resources of the MIDAS Network.

Infectious disease modeling is an exciting field whose practitioners study the mechanisms by which diseases spread, to predict future outbreaks, track current outbreaks, and evaluate methods to control an epidemic. Currently, MIDAS members are using infectious disease modeling in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, including predicting the trajectory of the disease and communicating findings to policymakers and the public about optimal mitigation strategies. Hear from some of the top experts in the field and their experiences during the pandemic!

Students must satisfy all the requirements below. Applicants must:

  • Be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Be undergraduate students or students in a post-baccalaureate program
  • Be from an underrepresented group as defined by the NIH, which includes:Racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented, such as:
    • Blacks or African Americans
    • Hispanics or Latinos/as
    • American Indians or Alaskan Natives
    • Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders
    • Students with disabilities
    • Students from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Have an interest in public health or infectious disease epidemiology


Conference agenda (subject to change):
Day 1, Friday:

  • Start: 12:00 pm ET (9:00 am PT)
    • Opening: 12:00-12.30: Marc Lipsitch & Wilbert van Panhuis
    • 12:30 – 1:30: Caroline Buckee 
    • 1:30-2:15: Lecture 1 – SIR basics
    • 2:15-3:00: Level-specific Breakout Section 1- SIR modeling exercises
    • 3:00-3:15: Break
    • 3:15-4:00: Lecture 2 – SIR extended
    • 4:00-4:45: Breakout Section 2
    • 4:45-5:00: Break
    • 5:00-5:30: Project discussion and select teams
    • Homework: Review topics from the day, do some background reading on projects
  • End: 5:30 pm ET (2:30 pm PT)


Day 2, Saturday: 

  • Start: 11:00 am ET (8:00am PT)
    • 11:00-11:15: Recap of Day 1 and Overview of Day 2
    • 11:15-12:00: Lecture 3 – Spatial modeling with machine learning component
    • 12:00-12:45: Breakout Section 3
    • 12:45-1:30: Lunch break
    • 1:30-2:15: Lecture 4 – TBD
    • 2:15-3:00: Breakout Section 4
    • 3:00-3:15: Break
    • 3:15-5:00: Project work time + time with mentors
    • 5:00-6:00: Career panel
    • Homework: Review topics from the day, continue working on projects
  • End: 6:00 pm ET


Day 3, Sunday:

    • Start: 1:00 pm ET (10.00 am PT)
    • 1:00-2:00pm: Project work time + mentoring (prepare presentations, ensure equal speaking time)
    • 2:00-3:00: Project presentations (7-12m depending on # of groups)
    • 3:00-4:30: Applications of modeling research talks (15 – 30m each)
    • 4:30-5:00: Marc Lipsitch talk on application of research and communication
    • 5:00-5:30 closing remarks by Marc Lipsitch and Wilbert van Panhuis, Project prizes announcements
    • End: 5:30 pm ET (2:30 pm PT)


There is no registration fee. Costs are covered by the MIDAS Coordination Center, the Harvard CCDD, and the participating instructors.

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Jessica Salerno at the MIDAS Coordination Center at or Ms. Tiggy Menkir at 

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