The BC Centre for Disease Control is organizing a series of five special seminars and workshops on Machine Learning for Precision Public Health, as part of our Centre’s larger effort to incorporate more data science into the work we do along with our academic and community partners. Taking place over the next few months, these events will cover topics including data-driven decision-making in public health, machine learning algorithms, data visualization, and big data ethics.
Our first session runs Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 at Latham Hall, UBC Medical Student and Alumni Centre (2750 Heather St). There will be a Grand Rounds seminar presentation, titled “Public Health and Smart Cities” from 12-1pm. This talk is open to anyone (no registration required), and can be attended in person or online via this link. Dr. Jennifer Gardy (a BCCDC/UBC researcher now joining the Gates Foundation as Deputy Director, Surveillance, Data, and Epidemiology) will introduce the emerging application of data science and machine learning approaches within public health and clinical microbiology, and Mr. Tom Schenk (former Chief Data Officer, City of Chicago, currently Director of Smart Cities at KPMG) will share the City of Chicago’s experience in using machine learning algorithms to build a smarter and healthier city, including improving water quality microbial forecasting and prioritizing restaurants for food safety inspections.
For those who would like to explore these topics in more detail, the seminar will be followed by a Machine Learning for Precision Public Health Workshop. Running from 1:15 – 3pm in the same space, participants will have the chance to join small group, in-depth discussions led by Dr. Gardy and Mr. Schenk to learn more about the application of machine learning in public health. The workshop will guide participants in thinking about potential opportunities of machine learning application in their own public health work, identifying general barriers in launching such projects, and discussing possible solutions to overcome these barriers. Please register to participate in the workshop as spaces are limited; no prior experience with machine learning is required.
Jennifer Gardy is an Associate Professor at the School of Population and Public Health of the University of British Columbia, and a Senior Scientist at the BC Centre for Disease Control, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Public Health Genomics, and as of February, 2019, she will be the Deputy Director, Surveillance, Data, and Epidemiology at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She is a leader in using whole-genome sequencing of bacterial and viral pathogens to understand outbreak and epidemic dynamics, and her work incorporates machine learning and data visualization methods. She was named one of BC’s most influential women in STEM by BC Business Magazine, and has received numerous awards, including a YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Science, Technology & Research.
Tom Schenk is the Director of Smart Cities at KPMG Chicago, where his work focuses on using big data to inform decision-making. In his former role of Chief Data Officer at the City of Chicago, Tom took a leadership role in many data-driven projects to address public health needs, for example, the development of an algorithm to predict food-borne illness. He was named as one of Government Technology’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers of 2018.