How Do You Find Truth In Noisy Data Or Proxy Signals?

We live in the information age. When it comes to protecting your business from biorisks, that fact can be both a blessing and a curse. When you’re constantly surrounded by noise, how do you pinpoint genuine signals that point to threats? Sometimes, this can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. 

Identifying threats in a timely and accurate way is essential for any enterprise’s risk management. As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, we have more access to both high-quality information and low-quality information. The good news? The need for accurate, timely, and reliable detection of biorisks has given rise to innovative solutions like the PHC Global Threat Tracker.

Why Is It So Hard To Get Advance Warning for Real Biorisks?

Wouldn’t it be great if biorisks would announce themselves clearly? Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 pandemic reminded us, information often moves around the globe more slowly than a novel threat. When information finally arrives, it’s hard to know how reliable it really is. 

Too often, biorisks can be seen first through indirect indicators or proxy signals. Unfortunately, proxy signals can be hard to act on. Often, they turn out to be:

  • Subtle and hard to detect
  • Intertwined with other factors
  • Intentionally hidden

Proxy signals might be found in social media chatter or trending headlines in online news sources. You might also spot proxy signals if you look closely at unusual patterns in healthcare data or environmental monitoring systems. But proxy signals can be hard to spot and even harder to interpret correctly. Unveiling the truth isn’t always easy – but it is possible.

Why is it hard to get advance warning

How The Right Tools Can Cut Through The Noise

The solution to this dilemma lies at the intersection of technology and public health. When you successfully harness the power of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics, you can distinguish truth from fiction and gain actionable insights to keep your business safe. Here are a few ways in which the right tools can help you cut through the noise.

Data Integration

Today, public health data can be found everywhere. From medical journals to health agencies, from social media platforms to news outlets, bits of information are scattered across our landscape. Your task is to put the puzzle pieces together. You’ll need to sift through many high-quality information streams to gain the most relevant data points. This is the only way to get a comprehensive view of the current landscape.

Pattern Recognition

The best way to mitigate loss from a biorisk or infectious outbreak is to see it coming as early as possible and prepare in advance. What kinds of patterns signal an impending crisis? You might see obvious signs, like news coverage or unexpected disease outbreaks. But there may be more subtle patterns at the onset of a crisis. Unusual spikes in internet search queries about specific symptoms, for example, might point to a novel threat. Machine learning algorithms can help you identify meaningful patterns underneath the chaos.

Contextual Analysis 

Data points mean nothing outside of the appropriate context. Identifying a disease spike is a good start, but you’ll need to consider the broader context in order to take meaningful action. This could include:

  • Cross-referencing with historical data 
  • Gathering and analyzing demographic information
  • Understanding regional specifics
  • Appreciating typical patterns of outbreak evolution and when current outbreaks deviate from recognized patterns 

Contextual analysis is the best way to avoid overlooking an unanticipated biothreat– and therefore, it’s one of the best ways to conserve your organization’s resources.

Predictive Modeling

Once a potential threat is identified, what’s your next move? You’ll need predictive modeling on your side to forecast the likely path this new threat will take. Only then can you allocate resources efficiently and take timely action.

Human Collaboration and Verification

Technology itself plays a vital role in distinguishing truth from background noise. However, you also need human expertise on your side to successfully mitigate threats. When public health, epidemiology, and infectious disease experts collaborate closely with technological tools, they’re able to provide needed validation and context.

Finding Truth with the PHC Pharos Platform

Are you looking for the best tool to protect your enterprise from the next biorisk? 

Look to the Global Threat Tracker, the newest feature of the PHC Pharos platform. It enables your enterprise to understand biosecurity risks and respond early. You can track one location or all of your locations using filters for COVID-19, RSV, influenza and other risks.

The alerts and recommendations in the Global Threat Tracker are based on our experts’ knowledge of information sources and disease spread. Working with some of the best software engineers and technology specialists, our epidemiologists and infectious disease experts are the core of everything we do.

You can receive information from PHC through the stand-alone Pharos platform. Or Pharos can deliver data directly to your dashboards or systems securely via API, REST or GRPC protocols.

Watch our demo to learn more about the Global Threat Tracker.

Dave Komendat retired as the Vice President and Chief Security Officer for The Boeing Company, a role he held for 14 years of his 36 years within the security profession. Komendat was responsible for the company’s global security and fire protection policy and procedures, site security, executive protection, supply chain and aviation security, structural and aircraft fire protection, government and proprietary information security, classified cyber security, strategic intelligence, international security, business continuity and disaster preparedness, Global Security Operations Center, and security background investigations.

 

Komendat was also the lead Boeing interface for both national and international security policy engagement with numerous government and industry advisory groups. He represented Boeing as past co-chairman and current board member on the Domestic Security Alliance Council, past President of The International Security Management Association and served as a member of the Threats and Information Committee for the Overseas Security Advisory Council.  

 

Komendat is the founder and President of DSKomendat Risk Management Services, he also serves on several company advisory boards and holds board leadership roles with several non-profit organizations whose missions are to protect people globally, including Hostage U.S. and The International Security Foundation. Dave is also a Strategic Engagement Advisor for the Office of Private Sector within the FBI. In 2018, Dave was awarded the Director’s Award for Exceptional Public Service by FBI Director Christopher Wray.

 

Komendat graduated from California State University at Long Beach and also attended and completed the executive development program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Dr. Carter Mecher serves as the Medical Advisor for the Public Health Company. 

 

Prior to joining PHC, Carter served as a Senior Medical Advisor for the Office of Public Health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In this position, Dr. Mecher played a key role in the COVID-19 outbreak response. 

 

From 2005 to 2011, he served as the Director of Medical Preparedness Policy at the White House Homeland Security Council and National Security Staff. He was a principal author of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan. In this capacity, he helped set policy and devise strategies to mitigate the consequences of a pandemic and promote pandemic preparedness. 

 

Before serving at the White House, Dr. Mecher was the Chief Medical Officer for the Southeast VA Network in Atlanta from 1996 to 2005. In this role he oversaw the healthcare delivery for veterans in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. 

 

Dr. Mecher is a co-author of Lessons from the COVID War, an in-depth examination of the U.S. response to the pandemic. In addition, he is featured in Michael Lewis’ book The Premonition.

 

Dr. Mecher received his medical degree from Chicago Medical School and completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in critical care medicine at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center.

Dr. Joe DeRisi is a Scientific Advisor to PHC. He is one of the early pioneers of DNA microarray technology and whole genome expression profiling; he is nationally recognized in the field of genomic epidemiology for designing a first-of-its-kind initiative for COVID-19. Joe currently serves as Co-President of Chan Zuckerberg BioHub and is a professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at University of California, San Francisco. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Stanford University.

Dr. Sumiko Mekaru is the Vice President of Research and Innovation at The Public Health Company. Dr. Mekaru is an epidemiologist operating at the intersection of traditional epidemiology and technology and leading cross-disciplinary teams to solve challenges in public health. Prior to joining PHC, Dr. Mekaru was a Life Sciences Strategy, Policy, and Operations Expert at Booz Allen Hamilton where she recently led the development of COVID-19 forecasting models for disease transmission, resource utilization, and critical events for the Department of Defense. Dr. Mekaru has also led health technology teams at Epidemico and Boston Children’s Hospital, creating innovative health surveillance tools. She has published extensively on infectious disease outbreak monitoring, modeling, and surveillance. Dr. Mekaru holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University and a PhD in epidemiology from Boston University.

Justin McIntosh is an experienced professional with 10+ years in management and 8+ years in software engineering. Currently, he is the Vice President of Operations at The Public Health Company. His journey began in college when he co-founded Safe Site, a utility services company, which expanded to operations in three states with over 300 employees. After a successful exit, he founded Docusite, a construction risk management application, diving into software engineering. Despite challenges with Docusite, Justin’s passion for technology led him to various roles before landing at The Public Health Company.

 

In his current role, Justin is tackling the challenging task of improving operations in a remote environment. He is dedicated to his role and is always open to sharing experiences and insights. He is committed to nurturing effective teams, improving operations, and shaping innovative solutions. His focus is on creating a positive, growth-oriented environment and mentoring emerging leaders, reflecting his commitment to collective success.

Lori Sutton is the Vice President of Marketing at The Public Health Company. She is a strategic marketing visionary and global brand leader with 20+ years of progressive experience in B2B/B2C SaaS software marketing in large enterprise and SMB markets. She has expertise in leading strategy development, overhauling brands, launching products and driving growth in target verticals. Prior to joining PHC, Lori was the Vice President of Marketing and Growth at SMS-Magic, where she led the global GTM strategy, orchestrated a brand overhaul, developed new messaging and positioning and launched revenue generating campaigns. Lori held marketing and management roles at Model N, Bullet Point Network, Saba and other SaaS software companies where she focused on marketing strategy, business objectives and analytics to drive revenue.

Lori holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, an Executive Education in Corporate Strategy at Harvard Business School and continues coursework at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Craig Katsuyama is the Vice President of Administrative Services at PHC. He brings extensive experience building companies from the ground up and was instrumental to the launch of IEX Group in 2012, which challenged the status quo of financial markets and created an entirely new stock exchange that works for all investors. Craig spent the last eight years at IEX where he built and oversaw the accounting and finance teams before transitioning to help establish IEX’s Event Stream business, a data messaging platform that applies IEX’s core technology to areas outside of finance. Craig graduated from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Economics.

Dr. David Fisk is the Chief Medical Officer at The Public Health Company. Prior to joining PHC, Dr. Fisk served as an Infectious Disease Specialist at Sansum Clinic.  He serves as the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Cottage Health, leading the infection control team at Cottage, working with physicians and hospital leaders on the COVID Incident Command Center to ensure the highest level of preparation and care for patients. In early March 2020, before the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Santa Barbara County, Dr. Fisk advised that the virus was already spreading locally before community members were observing symptoms.

 

Dr. Fisk completed his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and his Internal Medicine residency and Infectious Diseases fellowship at University of Michigan Medical Center. He is board certified in Infectious Diseases and a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Chris Latko is the Chief Technology Officer at PHC. He joined as a Principal Software Architect where he played a key role in building out the platform. He has over 25 years experience in the technology sector holding positions at companies he started, Fortune 500 companies, and a multitude of startups both in the United States and Japan. He has spent the last decade designing, refining, and reimplementing architectures for hypergrowth startups such as Boxfish, Paxata (acquired by DataRobot), Banjo, and Globality. Chris earned two patents for designing a streaming data ingestion/data normalization platform.

Kendall Burman serves as PHC’s General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining PHC, Burman held leadership roles at Alloy, a data and technology start-up for the progressive political market. Burman previously served as the Deputy General Counsel for Strategic Initiatives at the Department of Commerce and as Associate White House Counsel and Special Assistant to the President in the Obama Administration. She was also a counsel in the cybersecurity and data privacy practice at Mayer Brown and served as Chief Staff Counsel for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

 

Burman is a graduate of Bowdoin College and received her J.D. from the University of Chicago where she was an editor of the law review. She was also was a fellow at both the New America Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Dr. Charity Dean is the CEO, Founder and Chairman of The Public Health Company, a venture-backed Silicon Valley technology startup. 

 

In August 2020 Dr. Dean founded PHC, envisioning a commercial-grade global biosecurity platform to empower enterprises to manage biorisk at scale. Dr. Dean’s obsession with building a new solution was born out of 24 years in public health and the recognition that Silicon Valley innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning could birth this entirely new capability. Two years later PHC PharosTM is a game-changer for numerous businesses providing real-time, dynamic risk management across their global footprint and assets. 

 

Dr. Dean founded PHC having served as the Assistant Director for the California Department of Public Health where she was part of the executive team under Governor Newsom running the COVID-19 pandemic response. She co-founded and co-chaired California’s COVID-19 Testing Task Force and under her leadership, California went from ranking last in the nation for testing to first in three months. In 2019, Dr. Dean served as Acting State Public Health Officer overseeing 4,300 staff with an annual operating budget of $3.5 billion. 

 

Before her move to statewide office, she served as the Public Health Officer for Santa Barbara County and oversaw a myriad of disease outbreaks and biological threats; she also served as attending physician for TB, HIV, and homeless medicine at the Santa Barbara Health Care Centers. 

 

Dr. Dean was awarded Physician of the Year in 2018 by the Central Coast Medical Association and honored as one of the Women of the Year by the California State Legislature.

 

Dr. Dean is a co-author of Lessons from the COVID War. Her work during the pandemic is the focus of Michael Lewis’ book The Premonition. Dr. Dean has shared her insights about the danger of biological threats and the changes we must make before the next crisis in a number of interviews and podcasts.

 

Dr. Dean holds a Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Oregon State University.

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