"Globalization and anthropogenic changes to the natural world continue to create new opportunities for disease emergence and spread across human and animal systems. As more data becomes available to tackle these complex pathways, researchers and policy makers need novel tools to collect, store, analyze, and interact with this multidisciplinary data. EcoHealth Alliance is working creatively across disciplines to harness these new data challenges to prepare for the next disease threat."
Karissa Whiting is a research assistant for the EcoHealth Alliance Data Science and Technology team, where she applies her background in biostatistics and qualitative research to understand and assess gaps in surveillance, and plan tools and technologies to bridge these gaps with the goal of minimizing delay between disease emergence and detection.
Karissa received her BA in Anthropology from New York University where she studied Medical Anthropology and a biocultural approach to understanding disease experience and treatment. Her work there sparked an interest in research that uses a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods, and in harnessing data to solve complex, interdisciplinary problems.
At EcoHealth Alliance, Karissa’s work focuses on the assessment and application of digital tools to detect and analyze emerging infectious disease threats before they reach epidemic levels, particularly by finding structured information in nontraditional data sources like news feeds. Karissa works on design, development, testing, and validation of the Data Science and Technology team’s software projects, as well as conducting research to inform the team’s work.
To engage with the increasingly complex ecosystem of tools and analytic methods available to tackle this work, she is currently pursuing an M.S. in Biostatistics at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Karissa Whiting has also contributed to the USAID PREDICT behavioral research team and modeling and analytics team.