This Pandemic Center is uniquely positioned to work across disciplines and sectors to generate and analyze evidence, educate a new generation of leaders, and ensure this work is translated to effective policy and practice around the globe. This Pandemic Center is working to stop pandemics, other biological emergencies, and the harms they pose to health, peace, security, and prosperity.
Evidence to Drive Decision-Making
A major strategic goal of the Pandemic Center is to build the evidence base to inform the most pressing decisions about how to address pandemics, including creating more tailored tools that communities can adapt to their unique circumstances. Better, faster data is critical to support the rapid decision-making that’s needed in a pandemic. We recognize and are responding to the need to generate, synthesize and translate evidence to better define the most effective policies, practices, and resources to prepare for future infectious disease emergencies and confront the current crisis. Understanding the full extent of this pandemic’s harms and recovering from them will require focused, cross-disciplinary, and long-term research to better understand and help economies and societies get back on track.
Importantly, we recognize the need to generate knowledge from fields outside of public health, such as economics, political science, international relations, ecology, history, and demography, to better understand the broader impacts of pandemics and how to equip societies and systems to address them. We are focusing, for example, on building better global, national and local data systems for detecting and responding to pandemic threats and mitigating their impacts. We are working to generate evidence to identify the best approaches for mitigating all harms.
Preventing Pandemic Harms Across Society
The Pandemic Center recognizes the COVID-19 pandemic leaves in its wake historic impacts — on public health, our economy, our society, and our democracy. The virus has caused a massive loss of life, significant disability, deeper health inequities, setbacks in health and development goals, and a worsening of mental health. Society is also dealing with profound economic consequences and political polarization. The health, economic and social impacts of the virus are vast and longstanding, hitting hardest the poorest and most vulnerable in every society. There are also political consequences, including rising questions about the success of democracies in controlling the pandemic. As challenging as COVID-19 has been, worse pandemic scenarios could occur as biological risks increase in our interconnected society where there is an enhanced potential to create and engineer pandemic agents, increasing the risk of deliberate misuse.
The Pandemic Center recognizes that addressing these challenges demands inter-disciplinary approaches that bring together scholars and policy-makers from across multiple disciplines. We must ensure that tools from multiple fields are integrated to improve the overall evidence base for preventing, detecting, and responding to pandemic threats. Brown’s culture of interdisciplinary inquiry and University-wide collaboration distinguishes it from other schools of public health and positions this Pandemic Center to tackle the full set of pandemic challenges. This interconnectedness enables this Pandemic Center to uniquely take a whole-of-society approach to pandemic preparedness.
Creating and Impacting Leaders
The Center is dedicated to building the next generation of pandemic leaders and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to make change in the world. We are cross-training a new generation of diverse pandemic decision-makers — public health and national security leaders, who can prevent and manage biological threats, enable “no regrets” response, improve equity in health emergencies, and prevent catastrophic consequences. Our work will recognize the full range of pandemic threats, including naturally occurring outbreaks, and events that are accidentally or deliberately caused. We also seek to equip leaders across the public and private sectors with the tools they need to translate risk into action, protect themselves, and operate safely and securely.
Maximum Impact to Prevent, Detect, and Change Pandemic Outcomes
Ultimately, our goal is to affect change so that the United States and the world can prevent and prepare for pandemics — saving lives, improving quality of life, and equity, and averting existential biological risks. The Pandemic Center will actively engage with governments, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations and media across the globe to advance evidence-based policies and practices. This translational work sets this Pandemic Center apart from many existing centers at academic institutions focused on education and research. The Pandemic Center will build on the living connections of its leadership with decision-makers, practitioners and the public to inform its research and ensure the Center is addressing the most pertinent questions in the field.