The first SHP story in the annual report is about the high-energy, highly productive Coronavirus Simulation Model.
Just weeks after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic in March 2020, a team of Stanford Health Policy faculty and researchers scrambled to launch a modeling framework to investigate the epidemiology of COVID-19 and to evaluate policy responses.
A year later, the Stanford-CIDE Coronavirus Simulation Model (SC-COSMO) remains at the forefront of dozens of projection models in the United States and Mexico, while helping the state of California and its prison system, hospitals, and health care providers plan for and mitigate the impact of the pandemic. As of May 2021, the SC-COSMO team’s work has resulted in a half dozen studies published in medical journals and open data sites.
“The pandemic has continued to evolve, as have the policy questions and available interventions,” says Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, PhD, associate professor of medicine at Stanford Health Policy (SHP). “Basic questions about how quickly the virus would spread in diverse populations were followed by urgent planning for hospital capacity during the surges and then nonpharmaceutical interventions and social distancing questions.”
Goldhaber-Fiebert is one of the principal investigators of the SC-COSMO project, along with Fernando Alarid-Escudero, assistant professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics in Mexico, and Jason Andrews, MD, associate professor of infectious diseases at Stanford Medicine. Other SHP faculty, among two dozen investigators on the team, are Joshua Salomon, PhD, and David Studdert, LLB, ScD, MPH, both Stanford Health Policy professors of medicine. Studdert is also a professor of law at Stanford Law School.
“We have had to consider the timing and magnitude of subsequent epidemic waves, what fraction of the population may have acquired natural immunity, and what waning immunity might mean. The team has risen to the challenge time after time,” Goldhaber-Fiebert says.
The second story in the Department's annual report features the work of Maya Rossin-Slater, a health economist who wants to see more women in economics.
Health economists study wide-ranging and essential questions about the health care system, population health, and the causes and consequences of health inequities.
Yet the economics profession has a poor record of attracting and retaining women and people of color. Economist and Associate Professor of Medicine Maya Rossin-Slater, PhD, says that leaving these groups out of the profession is doing a disservice to our society.
While economists are often associated with studying macroeconomic issues such as unemployment and GDP, health economists like Rossin-Slater research the determinants of population health and the causal impacts of policies that affect health outcomes and health care costs. They often use large-scale data and methodology that separate causation from correlation to deliver findings that inform policies at the local, state, federal, and global levels.
Rossin-Slater’s research, for example, has investigated the long-term impacts of early-childhood access to the Food Stamps program on adult health and socioeconomic well-being. She’s looked at the impacts of paid family leave policies on workers, families, and employers, as well as the implications of the increasing number of school shootings in America on children’s mental health and on their educational and economic outcomes later in life.
“Economics is fundamentally the study of human behavior and how people make choices in the face of constraint,” says Rossin-Slater, a core faculty member at Stanford Health Policy and a faculty fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). “The questions that are posed and analyzed by economists influence so much of public policy. And we cannot make progress on some of the most important issues facing our society today without a diverse set of voices contributing to the research and discussion.”