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Digital Frontiers in Public Health


The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the crucial importance of data in monitoring and protecting public health. It also highlighted how far we have yet to go to appropriately leverage data for that purpose. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, the fragmented data infrastructure in the U.S. can stymie effective systemic responses and harm individual patients. Fragmentation and a lack of uniform standards limit the ability of patients to control their data, entrepreneurs to develop tech solutions, and governments to respond nimbly to population health needs. 

Presented by the Ellison Institute and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Digital Frontiers in Public Health gathered leaders with deep experience in health information, digital technology, and public health to galvanize recent progress in both the technology and the regulatory environment for collecting, sharing, and using health data.
The event's Plenary Welcome by Dr. Gabriel Seidman, Director of Policy at the Ellison Institute
The event's Plenary Welcome by Dr. Gabriel Seidman, Director of Policy at the Ellison Institute


During two panel discussions, panelists who have grappled with these issues at the highest levels in the public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors took a hard look at current status and proposals for health data architecture at the federal, state, and local levels. 

Panel 1: Architecture for health data at the federal level

•  Moderator: Michelle Williams | Dean, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
•  David Brailer, MD, PhD | Executive Vice President & Chief Health Officer, Cigna
•  David Feinberg, MD | Chairman, Oracle Health

•  Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH | CEO, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH)

Panel Discussion 1
Panel Discussion 1

Panel 2: Architecture for health data at the state and local level

•  Moderator: Dr. David Agus | Founding Director & CEO, Ellison Institute
•  Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd | Director, LA County Department of Public Health
Anthony Iton, MD, JD, MPH | Senior Vice President, Programs & Partnerships, The California Endowment
•  Claudia Williams, MS | Digital Health Strategist and Former CEO, Manifest MedEx
•  Joshua Sharfstein, MD | Professor of the Practice in Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Panel Discussion 2
Panel Discussion 2


Read the key takeaways and insights from both panel discussions and event breakout sessions here.
Swipe through below to read the key insights and recommendations that came out of the event's panel discussions and breakout sessions.