Kristina Talbert-Slagle PhD
Associate Research Scientist in Public Health (Health Policy) and Lecturer in Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
global health; complex systems; health spending; social services spending; infectious disease; HIV/AIDS; public-private partnerships; water and sanitation
My current projects include: 1) exploring virus spread from cell to cell as a possible model for innovation spread from health system to health system, 2) looking at the influence of individual heterogeneity on virus spread among human populations as a model for spread of infection within the body, 3) analyzing how the practices of supply chain management by The Coca-Cola Company throughout Africa have been applied to improve delivery of medicines in Tanzania, and 4) exploring how social services spending versus health services spending affect the incidence of infectious and chronic diseases in different U.S. states.
My main scientific interest lies in exploring how systems that seem completely different from each other may actually use similar processes and then in studying how those similarities may help us learn new ways to improve global health. For example, might the way a virus has evolved to spread from cell-to-cell give us helpful insight into how to spread an innovative new treatment from one health system to another? Or might the way that The Coca-Cola Company successfully delivers their products to the remotest corners of Africa give us insight into how to deliver life-saving medicines to those same areas?
Extensive Research Description
I am interested in exploring parallels among complex systems at different scales: molecular, individual, community, and population. My work is fundamentally interdisicplinary, uniting my doctoral training in basic biological sciences (especially virology) with my postdoctoral training in mathematical modeling, health policy, and global health. I am particularly intrigued by the interplay between social context and infectious disease, or more simply, how events in the outside world influence or parallel what is happening inside the body, and vice versa. In analyzing common dynamics or processes among different, sometimes nominally distinct systems, I hope to gain new insights into how to improve global health and prevent or abrogate the spread of infectious disease.