Dr Anna Foss
in Public Health Education and Mathematical Epidemiology
15-17 Tavistock Place
I joined LSHTM in July 2001 after graduating with a Masters of Mathematics Honours Degree (First Class) from the University of Manchester.
Alongside my work at LSHTM, I completed a part-time staff-PhD (awarded June 2007), titled: 'Mathematical modelling of HIV/STI transmission and prevention: methodological issues when dealing with uncertainty'.
In June 2010, I was awarded a Distinction for my Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (Full Certificate - Modules 1 and 2) and became a Fellow Member of The Higher Education Academy.
My portfolio of work is now diverse, spanning teaching management roles, mathematical modelling of HIV/HPV, health systems and climate change, alongside educational research.
Received a Director’s Award 2018 (jointly with Rebecca French) in September 2018 for Excellence and Innovation in Developing Students as Researchers.
A Director of LEARN – the Learning and Educational Advances Research Network - promoting best practice in learning and teaching through educational research (since November 2015).
Partnering with alumni and students on a project (2018-2020) to develop a virtual peer mentorship scheme for Public Health MSc students undertaking a research project via distance learning.
Undertaking public engagement activities in primary and secondary schools (September 2017-July 2018), including talking about PhDs, research/science careers and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, with some children (aged 8-11) building a compartmental model in Excel and others using doubling methods to make predictions.
Educational Supervisor for the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (PGCILT) and conducted PGCILT Summative Teaching Observations (2010 - 2012, and again since November 2015).
PHM305 Project Module Organiser and Project Supervisor for the Public Health PGDip/MSc by Distance Learning (since Oct 2008).
PhD Supervisor/Advisor (since Sept 2008).
Educational Developer coordinating the academic side of identifying suitable groups of DL MSc modules to form standalone short courses, including developing promotional and supporting materials, canvassing opinions of senior teaching staff, and working with the Head of Registry on a marketing strategy (Oct 2010 - Sept 2011).
Educational Developer using e-Learning technologies to produce an induction package of study skills materials for Distance Learning and London-based MSc students - leading on the Basic Maths component while also coordinating and contributing to the development of the other components, e.g. Statistics and Epidemiology, English for Academic Purposes, and guidance from the Library (Oct 2010 - Sept 2011).
Course Director for the Faculty of Public Health & Policy contribution to the Control of Infectious Diseases MSc and Public Health in Developing Countries MSc (summing to over 4 years within period 2007 - 2012).
Basic Maths Support Coordinator / Module Organiser (2007 - 2012) and Seminar Leader in the Basic Maths Support Sessions (2002 - 2012).
I am a senior modeller in the Evaluation of Social and Public Health Interventions (ESPHI) Research Group with over eighteen years of experience working on mathematical modelling of HIV/STI transmission, and the impact of prevention interventions in different Asian, African and South American settings, working in close collaboration with overseas partners.
My methodological specialism is in handling uncertainty in mathematical modelling and using mathematics to explore epidemiological questions relating to public health. I have developed mathematical methods of different levels of complexity to address specific HIV/STI transmission questions, with explicit consideration of the structural and parametric uncertainties in model projections. This work has included analyses reflecting the biological uncertainty associated with herpes-HIV interactions, the epidemiological and delivery uncertainties associated with introducing new HIV prevention technologies, such as microbicides, and the behavioural uncertainties associated with trying to make projections about marginalised and hidden groups, such as men who have sex with men in southern India.
My methodological specialism also formed the basis of my involvement with colleagues in the Department of Public Health, Environments and Society (PHES) on handling behavioural uncertainty when modelling health in the urban environment. This has also led to me collaborating with UCL and Imperial College on a project using mathematics to explore health issues associated with climate change, sustainability and intergenerational equity.
In addition, I was a member of the LSHTM Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases (CMMID) COVID-19 working group (April 2020 - May 2021).
Building on this background in mathematical modelling and handling uncertainty, I am now involved in supporting the agent-based modelling within the COSMIC project: 'Novel methods for optimising health systems payment for performance interventions to improve maternal and child health in low-resource settings'.
My current research interests have also expanded to educational/pedagogical research to explore various issues in learning and teaching. I have published on raising staff awareness and understanding of creativity and innovation. I have also posted a comment (fourth in the list) in response to an article in the Times Higher Education. Alongside this, I wrote a review of a book about learners struggling with mathematics. I am following a 'students as partners' approach in co-writing the evaluation of the DL alumni-peer mentorship scheme for publication. My educational research experience has also led me into new work on accelerating the development of health policy and systems research capacity in the Western Pacific Region, as well as exploring how students learn quantitative skills and apply these to modelling the dynamics of infectious diseases.