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MIT System Dynamics Seminar | Behavioral Epidemic Models

March 15 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Please visit the MIT System Dynamics Seminars page for more information.

You are invited to attend the System Dynamics Seminar being held on Friday, March 15th from 12:30-2:00pm EST in the Jay W. Forrester conference room, E62-450, or via Zoom: (Password: SDFA24). Our virtual guest speaker will be Navid Ghaffarzadegan (Virginia Tech) presenting Behavioral epidemic models (see abstract and brief bio below; announcement attached). Lunch will be provided to those attending in person and a reminder email will be sent out closer to the date.

From social distancing and vaccination in response to the perceived risk of infection to changes in Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions under economic pressures, human responses alter the outcomes of an epidemic outbreak. While recognized in theory, this realization is not reflected in current infectious disease models at large. A grand challenge for scientists is to incorporate more realistic behavioral assumptions about human response and to couple human behavior models and epidemic models to represent change in human behavior endogenously (within epidemic models). In a series of studies, we show that the endogenous representation of human behavior: 1) improves the accuracy of long-term projections, 2) sheds light on several challenging puzzles such as early convergence to the reproductive number of one and the observed large variations in mortality rates across different regions, and 3) offers a different perspective on the health vs. economy tradeoff during a pandemic. Finally, we discuss methodological challenges in parameter estimation of behavioral epidemic models.

Navid Ghaffarzadegan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. He applies simulation techniques to study complex social systems and policy problems, the main application areas being health and education policy. His research has been supported by several competitive grants from NIH, NSF, and DOD. His COVID-19 studies appeared in various leading journals in health policy such as Health Affairs, BioScience, Lancet Planetary Health, and PLoS Computational Biology and received media coverage by Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, and Le Monde. He is an Associate Editor of the System Dynamics Review. He is the recipient of the College of Engineering’s Excellence Award for outstanding new Assistant Professors. He has a PhD in Public Policy with a concentration of System Dynamics from the State University of New York at Albany, and an MBA, and BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Navid was a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, Engineering Systems Division.


March 15
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
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MIT Jay W. Forrester Conference Room
77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States
+1 617-253-1571
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MIT System Dynamics Group
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