Reading the COVID Tea Leaves: Strategic Public Health Decision Making for the Workforce

Wednesday, October 13 4:00 pm ET

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The only constant throughout the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is uncertainty. What activities or behaviors foster risk? How might we prevent or mitigate infection? How can government and industry leaders balance work requirements with workforce safety? While no single answer addresses the problems we continue to face, data analytics mixed with a pinch of creativity can yield scientific navigation through the COVID environment and towards a ‘new normal.’

This talk will include research conducted by scientists within the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center on various elements of COVID risk analysis, emergency response, and recovery. Specifically, Dr. Trump will highlight opportunities to bring risk assessment and communication into the workplace – allowing industry and government leaders to move beyond a simplified interpretation of regional incidence and towards a platform of ‘micro exposure assessment.’ Tasked to COVID response since March 2020, the ERDC team has provided data analytic support to a number of agencies, including regional arms of FEMA, HHS, CDC, multiple US state governments, foreign health departments and ministries, and multiple national and international US military commands. Our team’s scientific methodologies integrate engineering and public health in service of the public throughout the pandemic.

Ben Trump Bio: 

Dr. Benjamin Trump is a Research Social Scientist for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Since March 2020, Dr. Trump has served as the public health lead for USACE-ERDC’s COVID response efforts, including assistance to FEMA, the CDC, and many other federal agencies, state governments, international public health partners, and military commands. In 2019, he was selected to the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI). Dr. Trump is a contributing author of the International Risk Governance Council’s Guidelines for the Governance of Systemic Risk. Co-authored with Dr. Igor Linkov, Dr. Trump’s book The Science and Practice of Resilience (2019) includes a detailed discussion of the methodological, philosophical, and governance-related work behind the concept of resilience. His latest edited work, Emerging Threats of Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology (2021), includes perspectives on the development, risk governance, and commodification of emerging biotechnologies from a NATO Science for Peace and Security Studies Advanced Research Workshop (2019). Dr. Trump received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, Department of Health Management and Policy in 2016.


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