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Instrumenting the Edges to Predict: H1N1 Virus

Location: Independence Ballroom A Level:
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In this session we’ll examine how modern networks permit us to harness information flow to provide early warning and vastly improve our response to system-stressing events such as the H1N1 pandemic. Technologies available now offer governments and engaged citizens much better pandemic surveillance, situational awareness, and decision-making across all levels of response and can provide for much greater resilience. Jim Stogdill of Accenture serves as our moderator; he will be joined by two world class leaders in medicine, collaboration, resilience, and information technology: Michael McDonald, MD; President, Global Health Initiatives, Inc., and Eric Rasmussen, MD; CEO, INSTEDD, a .org begun with initial funding from Google to look for early signs of disease detection through innovative approaches to technology and collaboration.

Michael McDonald

Global Health Initiatives, Inc.

Michael McDonald is director of the National Sustainable Security Infrastructure Pandemic Initiative. Dr. McDonald is chief architect of the U.S. Resilience System and is also currently President and CEO of Global Health Initiatives, Inc., and Executive Director of Health Initiatives Foundation Inc. He is Principal Investigator on the Disaster Knowledge Management System and the Global Resilience System testbed, which are oriented toward the prevention and management of large-scale social crises (e.g., disease outbreaks, terrorism, natural disasters, economic and social discontinuities) at the global, national, regional, and local levels.

Since 2003, an increasing amount of Dr. McDonald’s time has been committed to improving local, regional, national, and global responses to pandemic flu and other global threats. Dr. McDonald has led four large PanFlu exercises, including in summer 2006 with the top officers in the National Capital Region. He has provided speeches on Capital Hill with leading Senators and Congressman in the area of biosecurity emphasizing our vulnerabilities regarding pandemic flu. He debated Tony Fauci (Director of NIAID and one of President Bush’s key advisors on biosecurity) on BioShield on National Public Radio. He coordinated the U.S. Resilience Summit 2008, including a simulation of an event destabilizing the Southeast Asia food supply.

Dr. McDonald provided testimony to the Congressional Budget Office on key weaknesses of current U.S. pandemic flu policy. He has been an early voice for global, real-time, transparent biosurveillance systems and building infrastructures supporting situational awareness and verifiable resilience at the household, neighborhood and community levels. Dr. McDonald has made it clear that the local level is where the most life critical decisions will be made to stem the tide of infection during the first wave of a pandemic. He has chaired a panel on pandemic surveillance emerging from the 7/19/06 National Capital Region PanFlu Exercise and was principal author of the Surveillance Panel Report on Pandemic Surveillance Impacting the National Capital Region. Dr. McDonald discussed the Panel Report findings in the Aspen Institute Meeting on Pandemic Surveillance (including key thought leaders from the White House, UN, WHO, HHS, CDC, World Bank …) Dr. McDonald led the National Capital Region Pandemic Flu Simulation, and led the 2006 review of the District of Columbia Pandemic Flu Plan.

Dr. McDonald’s primary attention today is directed at building the next generation of health and crisis management systems integrating health care systems, emergency management, information technologies, community resilience, and knowledge science. Dr. McDonald continues to pioneer in the development of health information systems, virtual health management systems, decision support systems, knowledge management, evidence-based practices, health/humanitarian/disaster management command and control systems, and cross-media health and community empowerment. Dr. McDonald chaired the Genomics and Bioinformatics working group and was co-founder of the Bioterrorism working group of IEEE. Dr. McDonald is performing research in memetics and biosecurity in association with several universities and government agencies. He has been co-principal investigator with the Centers for Disease Control on the Psychosocial Dimensions of BioSecurity Initiative. Dr. McDonald is developing crisis management policy and technologies on global, national, state, and local levels.

Photo of Eric Rasmussen

Eric Rasmussen


Dr. Eric Rasmussen was elected in October 2007 as Chief Executive Officer of InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters), an international nonprofit organization founded by and dedicated to delivering innovative technological support to those who help the world stay safe.

Prior to accepting this position Dr. Rasmussen was both Chairman of the Department of Medicine within Naval Hospital Bremerton near Seattle, Washington, and an advisor in humanitarian informatics for the US Office of the Secretary of Defense. He holds academic positions at several institutions and has been a Principal Investigator for both the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and for the National Science Foundation. He is a Reviewer for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the American Journal of Public Health and sits on several advisory boards, including the Crisis Management Resources Board for the National Academy of Sciences. He has a number of publications and has been awarded several personal, unit, and theater military decorations, including a Presidential Legion of Merit.

Dr. Rasmussen spent seven years enlisted in nuclear submarines before leaving the Navy to receive his undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford University. After graduate work in molecular biology at Los Alamos National Laboratory and teaching in Haiti, he completed a Residency in Internal Medicine and re-entered the Navy as Chief Resident in Medicine at the Navy Medical Center in Oakland, California. Subsequent Navy positions included three years as Fleet Surgeon for the US Navy’s Third Fleet.

Dr. Rasmussen, with an additional European Master’s Degree in Disaster Medicine, served on the Afghanistan humanitarian support planning staff within US Central Command Headquarters (CENTCOM) in 2002, and later as a physician to the Iraq Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) for the Iraq War in 2002-2003. As a member of the DART, he served within the International Humanitarian Operations Center in Kuwait and was later selected for the DARPA 2003 “Sustained Excellence in a Principal Investigator” award.

Further work as Director of the Strong Angel series of international humanitarian support demonstrations led to work in Afghanistan in 2004 and 2007, and in Indonesia as head of a Civil-Military Coordination Team for the tsunami response in Banda Aceh in early 2005. Later in 2005, he deployed with Joint Task Force Katrina in New Orleans, coordinating a small portion of the relief response after Hurricane Katrina.

In addition to his responsibilities at InSTEDD, he currently serves as Permanent Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Forum on Water Disasters, and as a member of Kofi Annan’s Global Humanitarian Forum.

Eric has been married for more than 20 years to Demi, and has daughters Melissa and Faith. He divides his time between Palo Alto and a small ranch near Olympic National Park in western Washington.

Photo of Jim Stogdill

Jim Stogdill


Martin Stadtler

Red Hat

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