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Stacy Baird: Europe’s Privacy Law - A Barrier to Artificial Intelligence or an Enabler?
Stacy Baird: Europe’s Privacy Law - A Barrier to Artificial Intelligence or an Enabler?
Stacy Baird 
This article is part of the series, the Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance by the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum Join in the discussion on LinkedIn Companies across the globe are dealing with the impact of Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as it has extraterritorial legal reach, revising privacy policies and practices (such as those annoying pop-ups about using cookies on many website, a notice required by GDPR). One of the topics of the work we were doing in Salzburg was whether boards needed to have expertise to address the use of AI in the company’s business processes and possibly, products and services. A question boards must consider is the implication of GDPR with the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning (ML). GDPR carries severe penalties, and significant privacy issues tend to carry high reputational cost. With the heightened concerns around AI, ML and privacy, there will be brighter lights shining on issues, when they arise. As your company moves into the use of these new technologies, are you prepared? Is your board? With GDPR in effect just over six months, it is too early to know the impact – good or bad. Do you see GDPR as an impediment or an enabler of AI and ML for your company? Are there legal frameworks you can imagine or are aware of that may be a better approach? Is your company weighing these issues? The more data processed by AI or ML system, the better and more accurate the technology is able to complete its tasks. When that data is personally identifying of individuals, questions come to the fore regarding privacy. There are also privacy concerns regarding the outputs of the AI or ML system that paints a portrait of an individual that may reveal personal attributes that the individual may prefer remain private. Sometimes, indeed, data may not be personally identifying, but could be compared with data that are, with the result of identifying an individual. The European Court of Justice has already held where this is “likely reasonably,” the former data moves into the class of data protected by the Data Protection Directive, the predecessor to the GDPR. In Europe, the GDPR, in part, addresses these issues directly, stating in Article 9: “Processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.” The GDPR requires consent of a data subject (i.e. the person whose data is being processed) be freely given, specific and informed, and unambiguous – and by a clear affirmative act, such as a writing or speaking. “Specific and informed” means that consent is granted only for that particular purpose for which the consent is being sought, and does not extend to other (e.g., new) purposes. Further, consent can be withdrawn at any time and the individual has a right to have the data deleted (i.e., the right to be forgotten).  An alternative to obtaining consent is to anonymize, de-identify or pseudonymize the data, which allows a data processor to use the data for purposes beyond which consent was obtained. However, the effectiveness of anonymization is only as good as the extent to which the anonymization is irreversible. As the Information Commissioner’s Office of the UK points out, it may not be possible to establish with absolute certainty a particular dataset is irreversible, especially when taken together with other data that may exist elsewhere. GDPR Article 5 sets out “principles relating to processing of personal data” including “lawfulness, fairness and transparency; purpose limitation; data minimization; accuracy; storage limitation; integrity and confidentiality; and accountability.” Some of the principles may be contrary to the use of AI and ML, which must first collect as much data as possible, and then analyze the data after collection (the “learning” process). This process makes complying with the purpose limitation and data minimization principles challenging. Article 22 protects data subjects from decisions based solely on “automated individual decision-making, including profiling” which produce legal effects or similarly significantly affects the data subject. The requirement can be overcome if the data subject gives explicit consent. As well, the restriction addresses decisions based solely on automated processing. Therefore, for decisions such as applications for credit, loans, health insurance, or in the case of job interviews, performance appraisals, school admissions, or court ordered incarceration, the automation can (and many would say should) be used to inform a human decision, not supplant it. The use of an AI and ML for “decision-making including profiling” must also be “explainable” to the data subject. But it is an open question as to the extent of the explainability – and to what degree the data subject must understand. Barriers to understanding an algorithm include the technical literacy of the data-subject individual and a mismatch between the mathematical optimization in high-dimensionality characteristic of machine learning (i.e., conditional probabilities generated by ML) and the demands of human-scale reasoning and styles of interpretation (i.e., human understanding of causality). There are competing views on whether the provisions of GDPR enable or are barriers to AI and ML. For example, does the GDPR right to withdraw consent weigh in the decision of a company to use the data? It may be a challenge to delete data in widely federated datasets, and doing so diminishes the “learning” based on the data. With each new use for data, the company is required to go back to get consent. Is that alone an impediment? With the growing range of devices collecting data (i.e., Internet of Things), will it be possible to get specific and informed consent as a practical matter? In contrast to those raising concerns, Jeff Bullwinkel at Microsoft has written that the GDPR framework strikes the right balance between protecting privacy and enabling the use of AI – provided the law is interpreted reasonably. What is your view? How is your company weighing these issues? Do you see the GDPR as an enabler? Blocker? Do you know enough about the GDPR to make informed decisions? Does the rest of your board know enough? Given the potential liabilities and risks to the company, do you think it should? Have an opinion?  We encourage readers to share your comments by joining in the discussion on LinkedIn Stacy Baird is a Salzburg Global Fellow and consulting director at the Singapore-based consulting firm TRPC. His expertise lies in law and advising businesses and governments on information technology, privacy, data protection, cloud computing, and intellectual property (IP) public policy matters. Stacy also serves as executive director of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Forum Intellectual Property Program, where he helps address bilateral technology transfer and IP issues in the context of clean energy research and commercialization. Previously, Stacy served as Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, including work on the U.S. Patriot Act, and advisor to U.S. Congressman Howard Berman on issues of first impression related to the then-nascent internet and the mapping of the human genome. Prior to law, Stacy worked as music recording engineer with clients including Madonna, Stevie Nicks, Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, and Francis Coppola. He held appointments as Visiting Scholar at the University of Southern California College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and Visiting Fellow at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law. Stacy has a J.D. from Pace University and a B.A. in radio and television communications from San Francisco State University.  The Salzburg Questions for Corporate Governance is an online discussion series introduced and led by Fellows of the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum. The articles and comments represent opinions of the authors and commenters, and do not necessarily represent the views of their corporations or institutions, nor of Salzburg Global Seminar. Readers are welcome to address any questions about this series to Forum Director, Charles E. Ehrlich: cehrlich@salzburgglobal.org To receive a notification of when the next article is published, follow Salzburg Global Seminar on LinkedIn or sign up for email notifications here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/corpgov/newsletter
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SEL, Creating Systems Transformation, and the Politics of Reform
SEL, Creating Systems Transformation, and the Politics of Reform
Louise Hallman 
Education policies are often introduced but then thrown out on the changing of administrations, political or otherwise. To avoid this, social and emotional learning (SEL) needs to be adopted at a systems level. As experts from India, the US, New Zealand and Kenya explained on the first full day of Social and Emotional Learning: A Global Synthesis, integrating SEL at a systems level needs buy-in from all actors in the education system.  In schools, SEL should be encouraged not only for students, but also teachers and all other staff throughout the school. Outside of individual schools, buy-in is needed from the school districts and local education administration, such as having someone within the school district who is responsible and can advocate for SEL.  The buy-in of parents and students is also vital to ensuring the long-term support for and success of SEL. Oftentimes, parents complain that time spent on SEL programs is a “time-taker” from the more traditionally revered academic subjects, but evidence shows improved SEL can in fact be a “time-maker” as it enables students to better engage, pay attention, and process information, as well as work more collaboratively with their peers in a more learning-conducive environment thanks to reduced anti-social behavior, such as classroom disruption or bullying.  Unable to travel to Salzburg but undeterred from sharing his innovative policy, Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia filmed a video that morning in a city classroom to introduce the “Happiness Class”. This program is a new addition to schools’ curriculum in the Indian capital and aims to improve students’ mindfulness and confidence, which in turn will have an impact on their attainment in their other academic subjects.  SEL does not have to be delivered as a separate course such as the Happiness Class, but can instead be integrated into other subject areas. Languages, literature and geography can help develop cultural awareness and empathy; history teaches critical thinking; and team-building can be developed through PE and drama, for example.  Achieving system-wide transformation thus needs both a top-down and a bottom-up approach, but bottom-up need not start only with the parents, teachers and students. High-ranking local officials, such as school superintendents in the US, can be powerful advocates in spreading change outward and upward.  Watch: Manish Sisodia, Delhi Education Minister, addresses Salzburg Global Seminar from a classroom in India
The Politics of Reform Finland is often asked, “What’s your secret?” when it comes to education reform. Is it the teacher training? Is it the integrated curriculum? Is it the overarching education policy?  But as it was pointed out on the panel “SEL and the Politics of Education Reform,” there is no single secret ingredient. “We have many building blocks,” pointed out the Finnish panelist; combined, these blocks have built a successful education system, but these blocks are not easy to replicate wholesale in another country.  When testing and rolling out new programs, the following advice was given: “Start small, learn fast, and fail well.” Evidence collection, evaluation, and adaptation are all important prior to scaling up. But this approach was not deemed appropriate for all contexts, with another Fellow pointing out on Twitter: “Doesn’t work in an Indian context where the numbers are huge and contexts are diverse. Innovations in education have not traditionally scaled.” Introducing the oxymoron for the day, one panelist urged SEL implementation should be “compulsorily voluntary,” i.e. everyone should do it, but how SEL is delivered should be determined by the local context. Context matters. As another panelist added, “What works in one country might not work in another; what works in one school might not work in another; what works for one child might not work for another.” (After all, even McDonald’s, which pride itself on its global universal standards, adapts to local markets!) With so many different actors involved in delivering SEL education reform – from individual teachers and schools to policymakers and politicians, researchers and other advocates – efforts need to be made to “network autonomous actors” and guide their direction. A key ingredient to achieving this networking and thus implementing successful education reform is trust. Trust needs to be developed at all levels, from the teachers to the ministry.  The program Social and Emotional Learning: A Global Synthesis is part of Salzburg Global's mutli-year series Education for Tomorrow’s World. This year’s program is being held in partnership with ETS, Microsoft and Qatar Foundation International, who will also co-chair the program, together with additional partners, the British Council, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank.
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Social and Emotional Learning - A Global Synthesis
Social and Emotional Learning - A Global Synthesis
Anna Rawe 
In 1954, the German philosopher Hannah Arendt described education as “the point at which you decide if you love the world enough to assume responsibility for it.” Her words still resonate, even in a world that has changed almost beyond recognition. Yet the vast majority of education systems around the world are still organized around approaches and principles from the last century that are widely seen as outdated and failing to prepare young people for the modern world.  As societal and technological change accelerates, Social and Emotional learning (SEL) is becoming more and more important as a reform topic in global education. It offers a vision and pathway for teaching all young people the skills to help them manage their emotions, develop their own sense of identity, work well with other people, and set goals they can achieve.  Over the last three years, Salzburg Global Seminar has therefore developed and refined a supply and demand hypothesis around SEL, building an expanding coalition of partners and co-hosting regional workshops on comparative practice around the world.  On the demand side, we see an exceptional window of opportunity to embed SEL in education systems around the world because of the range of different voices that consider SEL the best answer to the kind of changes they want to see in education.  These stakeholders have different priorities: the skills and competencies required to equip the workforce of tomorrow; the innovation capacity that societies will need to meet the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals; urgent improvements in the health and well-being of young people; or new thinking about academic attainment, personal resilience, and dynamic communities. Their arguments are becoming more widely accepted by policy makers and people of influence around the world, in part because the demand side voices span the whole political spectrum.  On the supply side, however, significant and widespread barriers have hindered the implementation of SEL reform. These fall into three broad categories: i) teacher preparation; ii) curriculum design and the recognition of extracurricular learning opportunities; iii) measurement and assessment. These are valid concerns but recent years have seen major research, policy and practice innovations around SEL which point to promising ways forward.  Salzburg Global Seminar’s six-day program, Social and Emotional Learning: A Global Synthesis, held in Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria will put the spotlight on what works and why in Social and Emotional Learning. It brings together education leaders, influencers, researchers and practitioners from 31 countries to share their insights and recommendations on how SEL could impact the entire education ecosystem and how this could have sustained long-term value for countries across the world.   This program builds on Salzburg Global’s long track record on educational policy and innovation. It forms part of our multi-year series Education for Tomorrow’s World, which aims to address emerging challenges and opportunities for education, exploring new approaches to learning, skills and inclusion for radically different societies. This year’s program is being held in partnership with ETS, Microsoft and Qatar Foundation International, who will also co-chair the program, together with additional partners, the British Council, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank.
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Hot Topics - Who Are the Key Stakeholders We Need to Work with to Improve Outbreak Timeliness Metrics?
Salzburg Global Fellows share their views during Session 613 - Finding Outbreaks Faster - How Do We Measure Progress?
Hot Topics - Who Are the Key Stakeholders We Need to Work with to Improve Outbreak Timeliness Metrics?
Anna Rawe 
Finding Outbreaks Faster - How Do We Measure Progress? A select number of Fellows at the Ending Pandemics - Finding Outbreaks faster program were asked: Who are the key stakeholders we need to work with to improve outbreak timeliness metrics? We have published their answers below. "I think the obvious stakeholders here are the World Health Organization, as the UN agency for global health… who are supposed to be doing global governance for disease and the national level ministries of health. Ministries of health at the national level as well as the intermediate local public health officials. These are the folks you actually have to do the work, and therefore they're the ones who will be officially collecting data and therefore they're the ones we need to coordinate with if we want data collected in a certain way." Rebecca Katz Associate professor and director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University "I think that national level epidemiologists who work with… responses to outbreaks would probably be [those] responsible to implement that in the country level, and then [that] cascade[s] to regional and local [levels], and of course, you also need some political support." Vladimir Mikikj Epidemiologist at the Institute of Public Health of Macedonia "I think each group has [its] importance. Community groups are important, stakeholders are important, [and] health workers are important because ending outbreaks requires the involvement of each other... The most important thing is to reduce timelines of the metrics." Aïcha-Marceline Sarr Project manager for Senegal and West Africa Projects at Foundation Merieux "I would say the key stakeholders would be public health authorities at multiple geographic levels, so at the local, regional, country and international level. But then there is an important stakeholder that is our communities who may identify, help to report, [and] seek clinical care. So, those also are key stakeholders for these timeliness metrics. Then within those infrastructures, you have not only the clinician and healthcare workers, but you have epidemiologists and public health [officials]. Then you have technologists who are really important as we think about advancing our ability to find dates and find notifications, and so being able to comb and curate that data from systems so we can more efficiently and practically employ these metrics." Amy Kirchner Co-director of the Collaboratory of the University of Minnesota and director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute "You need the people from the front line up. I really like the saying 'Nothing about us without us,' and that goes down to community level of citizens, but it also talks about frontline workers. You're never going to get anything in a system to work unless people who are all the way through the system have buy-in, and part of the way to have buy-in is to have ownership, and part of the way to have [that] is to have a say in what the thing is about. If you want something to be sustainable, you've got to have ownership." Melinda Moore  Senior physician policy researcher at RAND Corporation The program Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? is being held in partnership with Ending Pandemics and the University of Minnesota. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the program, please follow #SGShealth on Twitter and Instagram.
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Kevin McCarthy - Diversity in the Workforce Makes Companies Better
Kevin McCarthy at the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum
Kevin McCarthy - Diversity in the Workforce Makes Companies Better
Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu 
Kevin McCarthy is in a powerful position, and he is all too aware of that. McCarthy, general counsel at the Bank of New York – Mellon, describes his role as sometimes being “more complicated than running the legal department.” Among other responsibilities, it involves advising the board of directors, meeting regulators and helping colleagues within the bank to solve their issues, he says. But another critical aspect of his portfolio is to ensure there is diversity in his own department and those of others. There is a real benefit of having a diverse workforce, McCarthy believes. It makes companies better. “Corporations, particularly public corporations have to reflect the communities and the ecosystems which they operate. Your customers are diverse, you are located in a diversity of geography. So, in order to be successful and competitive and attract and retain the best talent, you need to look like and act like and think like all of those various voices, and that is why having a diverse workforce, diversity of thought, diversity of gender, diversity of ethnicity, [and] diversity of experience all comes together to make companies better.” The #MeToo movement that has exposed cases of sexual impropriety in the workplace has put the lack of diversity in many companies under the spotlight. For McCarthy, the movement has not only exposed “shameful” instances of sexual abuse by those in power in all industries, it also shows “what happens when power is concentrated, and people are excluded and when you have a cadre of powerful white men who have been running industries and businesses for a long time with no accountability.” McCarthy adds, “Unfortunately it is not surprising to see that that [unchecked] power is going to be abused and people who don’t have the power, which women are very often in these situations, become the victims.” But how can this change? McCarthy says having more women in senior positions, in boardrooms, at the helm of affairs running companies will “[help] shift the power dynamic, and some of this stupidity and shameful behavior will necessarily really go away because it will be a different set of circumstances.” He also believes quotas, as used in countries such as Norway and Germany, have been “very, very effective” in achieving gender diversity on boards. The reason is simple: “they are very clear, they are very binary; you have got to get x amount of women or minorities by this period of time, and if you don’t, there will be sanctions.” But he is well aware that in some other countries such as his native United States, government-mandated quotas might face some resistance. For tips on how to still strive for diversity without quotas, McCarthy recommends hiring managers to ditch rigid attributes all job applicants should possess. McCarthy says “you are going to miss the opportunity to pull more diverse people into that pool. Because the reality is not everyone is going to check those boxes and the folks that do check all of those boxes probably are not going to be representative of the broader whole. “What I have done and what I advise folks in our company to do is to really think hard when you are creating the framework specifications in roles and responsibilities to be more flexible to enable you to create a broader pool to pull from.” Another tip put forward by McCarthy is for managers to engage with groups and associations that will expose them to a range of constituencies for job applications. McCarthy says an internship program and a track record of hiring and retaining diverse staff will “create its own buzz, its own story about you. So when university graduates are looking for places to go, they can look at your company and see that you have actually made the effort, that you actually have been visible to them and that makes you a more welcoming employer and the odds of [attracting diverse job applicants] are going to go up and up.” Kevin McCarthy was a participant at the Salzburg Global program Brave New World: How Can Corporate Governance Adapt?, which is part of the multi-year series, the Salzburg Global Corporate Governance Forum. The program was held in partnership with Shearman & Sterling LLP and CLP Group. It was sponsored by Bank of America, Barclays, BNY Mellon, Elliott, Goldman Sachs, and Microsoft. More information on the program can be found here.
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Hot Topic - Fellows Discuss How They and Their Organizations Define "Outbreaks"
Salzburg Global Fellows share their views during Session 613 - Finding Outbreaks Faster - How Do We Measure Progress?
Hot Topic - Fellows Discuss How They and Their Organizations Define "Outbreaks"
Anna Rawe 
A select number of Fellows at Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? were asked: How do you and your organization define an outbreak? We have published their answers below. "We have very huge debates back home about defining an outbreak, but at least we come to the standard saying that when two cases are linked epidemiologically to each other, of the same disease of course, then we might call it an outbreak and that’s the baseline of the outbreak. Then the more cases come, the bigger the outbreak.” Kujtim Mersinaj One Health expert at the South East European Center for Surveillance and Control of Infectious Disease (SECID) "You could have a fixed metric where you just say two cases or whatever that have an epidemiological link, and I don’t really believe in that. I believe in that unusual thresholds, anything that’s unusual, or even one case could potentially be a threat to health security... the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control... are concerned about events that could potentially overrun the public health infrastructure in Europe, and so we use specific filtering criteria to assess these kinds of events. So, outbreaks are events related to communicable diseases extending to more than one member state... but we are also concerned about the events that... are at risk of introduction or propagation between member states.” Jan Semenza Directs the work on environmental and social determinants of infectious diseases at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) “I have to use the definition of our FETP training... that the number of cases - observed cases - exceeds the number of expected cases. So, [if] it’s above a known threshold, it can become an outbreak. If it starts in a country that is not expecting Ebola, we have zero cases of that disease and then suddenly we see one case that is above the expected threshold, so we consider that to be an outbreak even with one case.” Angela Hilmers Senior associate director for science at TEPHINET “An outbreak is the unusual, sudden increase above the normal levels of a disease or new disease anywhere defined by its characteristics in people - young children, women, older people... Is it in towns or rural areas? ... transmission and characteristics are different in those places... and time: when is this happening? And what are the basic characteristics of this disease? Is it something that can spread very fast? If [it can] it’s an outbreak even if it’s a very small amount, even if it’s a single case [it] can be an outbreak...” Andrew Kitua Epidemiologist and current Africa region director of the USAID/EPT2 Preparedness and Response project implemented by DAI The program Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? is being held in partnership with Ending Pandemics and the University of Minnesota. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the program, please follow #SGShealth on Twitter and Instagram.
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Finding Outbreaks Faster - Questioning Outbreak Thresholds
Participants of Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? in Parker Hall
Finding Outbreaks Faster - Questioning Outbreak Thresholds
Oscar Tollast 
How would you define an outbreak? Do you apply specific case count thresholds for different diseases? How are these selected? These are several of the questions participants considered on the second day of the program. Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress?, convened by Salzburg Global Seminar and Ending Pandemics, sought to advance a common framework for monitoring progress toward pandemic preparedness in every country. But before they could assess this framework, participants had to learn how outbreaks can be perceived differently. Participants working in 16 countries and territories were divided into five pre-determined breakout groups to explore this topic further. The first group to report on its discussions indicated there were two definitions. An outbreak could be where there are more cases than usual, or an outbreak could be when an unusual event has occurred. Participants within this group also considered the political obstacles, economic pressures, and the requirements needed to declare an outbreak. If “unusual” became the theme of the first group’s discussion, “diversity” was the theme of the second group’s presentation. Participants highlighted how much diversity already existed among and within countries. While certain diseases are going to have similar metrics, there will be variations when this is drilled down to a regional level. Considering the role of standardization could be helpful. Participants discussed the potential use of an algorithm-based support tool which would be flexible enough to be utilized in different localities. This tool would also have to be simple and easy to adopt. From a logistical point of view, there are challenges behind declaring outbreaks. For example, some regions require an epidemiologist to undertake a site visit before an outbreak can be declared. There needs to be an outbreak definition which is practical and adaptable. At the basic level, an outbreak can be considered a number of cases exceeding the number of expected cases. Is there existing training taking place which could be leveraged? Words which ran through each of the break-out group discussions included unknown, unusual, and unexpected. These are three words, however, which mean different things. Toward the end of this session, one participant suggested there was a need to separate the definition for outbreak and what could be described as an early warning alert. They are different yet both important. The program Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? is being held in partnership with Ending Pandemics and the University of Minnesota. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the program, please follow #SGShealth on Twitter and Instagram.
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Meesha Brown - We Need Effective Communication
Meesha Brown at Salzburg Global Seminar
Meesha Brown - We Need Effective Communication
Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu 
“Usually, they think of us when things have already gone out of hand,” Meesha Brown jokes. Brown, the executive vice president of PCI Media, a communications NGO based in New York, believes communication should no longer be considered as a last resort. It should be central to the fight against the spread of pandemics and part of the response to outbreaks from the onset. Information is powerful, she says. Speaking as a participant of Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress, Brown says, “The people that have the best information are the ones most equipped to make the best decisions. If people do not have access to accurate and timely information then, they are not positioned to act in ways that help to control an outbreak.” Brown and her colleagues at PCI Media worked on two communications campaigns during the Ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2016 in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. According to the World Health Organization, 11,300 people died as a result of the outbreak. Focusing on the lives of some of the 17,000 survivors of the disease, the #ISurvivedEbola campaign was a multilingual multimedia campaign featuring stories of resilience that sought to debunk myths and misinformation. It conveyed the message that surviving the disease was possible if treatment was found early and helped reduce the stigma survivors faced when they returned to their communities. In Sierra Leone, PCI Media also worked on “Road to Recovery," a multimedia series employing the elements of drama and romance to tell stories about survivor stigma and the need for prevention and vigilance. Aside from radio, television and social media, PCI Media used gatherings to spread messages. Brown says, “We ended up partnering with about 50 other organizations that were involved in other aspects of the Ebola response - like airing [our campaign videos] when the World Food Programme would go to a community to do a food drop. So while people were coming to get the food, they could see these stories of survival and hope.” An estimated five million people were reached directly through both campaigns in 14 languages widely spoken in the three affected countries, Brown says. Brown believes the absence of effective communication strategies from the start of the pandemic was a contributing factor to the spread of the epidemic that occurred later. “Information about proper burial techniques, information about what medical professionals that were showing up in the PPE (personal protective equipment) were actually there to do, information about what exactly happens when you go to a treatment facility, all of this information, if you are medical professional you have access to [and so] your level of comfort is very high,” Brown says. She adds, “But if I am in a village, and I don’t have access to the same information, then you can see where all the types of things that happened in the outbreak occurred - communities refusing help from medical professionals and the continuation of burial practices until we were able to communicate things in an understandable way. So, communications is critical; it provides a tool for people to use to make the decisions that can save the lives of themselves and others.” However, communication must be done well, and campaign messages must be thought through before being shared with the wider populace. “One of the common mistakes is thinking that just because [a message] is technically accurate, it is effective communication,” Brown says citing an example. “One of the countries in the Ebola outbreak built a communications campaign around this idea that there is no cure for Ebola and put a lot of resources behind spreading this campaign message which is technically accurate, but if you reflect on it for a moment, it is also quite disempowering.” So, what message should have been used instead? Brown says, “The message that might be technically accurate and more effective is ‘It is possible to survive.’ It is not the same thing as saying there is a cure and it does not promise a cure, but it promises the idea of a recovery which is possible. And a message like that is a way to speak the truth but also help people know what they can do next.” The program Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? is being held in partnership with Ending Pandemics and the University of Minnesota. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the program, please follow #SGShealth on Twitter and Instagram.       #s3gt_translate_tooltip_mini { display: none !important; }
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Finding Outbreaks Faster - Assessing Where We Are, Where We Have Been, and Where We Go Next
Participants of Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? in Parker Hall
Finding Outbreaks Faster - Assessing Where We Are, Where We Have Been, and Where We Go Next
Oscar Tollast 
Each day of Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? had a theme. On Monday, participants were asked to focus on “Prioritizing Challenges.” In aid of this, participants were given a refresher of the metrics and definitions currently used by Ending Pandemics. These metrics include the date of outbreak start, the date of outbreak detection, the date of outbreak reporting, the date of laboratory confirmation, the date of public health response, and the date of first public communication. Working definitions are in place, but it is hoped participants will help improve and refine these definitions as the program progresses. Pilot programs have taken place all over the world, from Albania and Serbia to Costa Rica and Pakistan. Participants heard from Zimbabwe and Taiwan, two of the first countries to receive investment from Ending Pandemics and provided greater detail as to what work had taken place so far. In Zimbabwe, the detection of infectious disease outbreaks was monitored between 2003 and 2013. Data sources included official Ministry of Health reports, outbreak reports by the Zimbabwe FETP, and informal online reports collected using ProMED and HealthMap. Data points included total cases and dates for timeline milestones. Priority diseases included anthrax, cholera, malaria, rabies, H1N1, typhoid, and hepatitis. In this period, there was an increase in the number of outbreaks reported. There was also a decrease in the overall time in outbreak discovery and response. Overall, there was an improvement in surveillance over time across a number of public health conditions. Moving forward, a need was identified to track the outbreak milestones prospectively and correct issues of missing data. In Taiwan, meanwhile, the detection and notification of infectious disease outbreaks was monitored between 2006 and 2013. Data sources included total cases, geographical information, and dates for the timeline. Confirmed outbreaks included respiratory diseases, diarrheal diseases, and varicella. In this period the timelines of outbreak reports and responses did improve over time except for outbreaks concerning respiratory diseases. Those behind the analyses also concluded different sources of outbreak reporting had a measurable influence on the timeliness of outbreak detection. Good coordination between local health departments and Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control greatly assisted data collection. The next steps for the project are to set up an operational definition of an “outbreak” and develop a standardized workflow for reporting, data collection, and database management. The program Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? is being held in partnership with Ending Pandemics and the University of Minnesota. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the program, please follow #SGShealth on Twitter and Instagram.
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