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Infectious Disease Modeling: Recommendations for Public Health Decision-Makers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2022

Scott W. Olesen
Center for Public Health Preparedness and Resilience, Institute for Public Research, CNA, Arlington, Virginia, USA
Eric Trabert*
Center for Public Health Preparedness and Resilience, Institute for Public Research, CNA, Arlington, Virginia, USA
Corresponding author: Eric Trabert, Email:


Infectious disease modeling plays an important role in the response to infectious disease outbreaks, perhaps most notably during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In our experience working with state and local governments during COVID-19 and previous public health crises, we have observed that, while the scientific literature focuses on models’ accuracy and underlying assumptions, an important limitation on the effective application of modeling to public health decision-making is the ability of decision-makers and modelers to work together productively. We therefore propose a set of guiding principles, informed by our experience, for working relationships between decision-makers and modelers. We hypothesize that these guidelines will improve the utility of infectious disease modeling for public health decision-making, irrespective of the particular outbreak in question and of the precise modeling approaches being used.

Report from the Field
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc.

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