series event

Criticality and Practicality of Collaboration on Rigorous Calibration & Validation Processes for Complex Infectious Disease Model

Policy makers try to increase their reliance on results from diverse types of complex infectious disease models to inform their decisions, they are often stymied by vast differences in models’ results due to different, logical choices made by modelers in the processes of constructing, parameterizing, calibrating, and verifying each model. As modelers, we can try to eliminate some unnecessary differences by working more collectively and demandingly early on before putting the models in use for policy analysis.

In this talk, we will quickly review the standard that infectious disease modelers used in published literature for model calibration and validation, show why the standard is imperfect, and discuss how we can work more closely but still independently, among modelers as well as clinicians, policy makers, laboratory technicians, and social scientists, to ensure the work brings forth the insights behind rigorous modeling sciences with more transparency and less confusion.  

Dr. Yao-Hsuan Chen is an associate principal scientist at the vaccine modeling team at MSD, specializing in construction, calibration, validation, and comparison of complex infectious disease models. Over the years, she has worked with interdisciplinary experts, including public health policy decision makers at various levels and scientists of diverse backgrounds, to create innovative modeling platforms and algorithms to closely replicate the transmission networks and dynamics, especially for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, that have been partially observed in various national surveillance databases and social study surveys.

She has won acclaim for her multidisciplinary research work (e.g. 2017 National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) Honor Award for Excellence in Quantitative Science, 2018 NCHHSTP Nomination for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Charles C. Shepard Science Award, 2018 MSD Vaccinnovation Award) as well as for her public health emergency field response services (e.g. 2016 CDC & Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Honor Award for HIV and HCV outbreak response in Indiana, US; 2016 served as country team lead for ZIKA outbreak in American Samoa). Dr. Chen grew up in Taiwan, graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014 with a Ph.D. in Operations Research, and began her public health career as a Prevention Effectiveness Fellow between 2013 and 2015 at CDC before joining MSD in 2018.      


Please note that this session will NOT be live-streamed/recorded.


Open to all, seats available on first come, first served basis.



Julian Villabona Arenas and Kiesha Prem