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Research Assistant Opportunity

Tuberculosis and the Use of Social Distancing in the United States [Research Assistant]

Tuberculosis and the Use of Social Distancing in the United States

Professor Rebecca Katz

The Project: Globalization, changing human behaviors and the emergence of new pathogens create an ongoing vulnerability to disease threats. In the early days of communicable disease outbreaks or pandemics, social distancing tools may be the only interventions available to public health officials to mitigate the spread of disease. State and local public health officials’ use of social distancing tools in infection control varies widely, even when these measures may limit morbidity and mortality. Instituting social distancing requires legal authorities and financial resources, and may also be impacted by evidentiary standards, risk assessments, political will, and community and individual support. It is unclear exactly how these factors influence public health officials when making decisions to use social distancing tools or if any of these factors can be predicted. Yet, this knowledge is essential to understanding what actions are most likely to be instituted during a public health emergency and to target interventions to better prepare health departments to enact social distancing measures when necessary. The specific aims of the proposed research are: (1) to conduct case studies of health department experiences with tuberculosis (TB) isolation, (2) to assess the decision making process associated with social distancing, and (3) to determine predictive factors associated with decision making for social distancing.

Research Assistant Tasks: 

– Check accuracy of previously-collected tuberculosis counts and case rates in local health jurisdictions in the U.S.
– Assist in the compilation of contextual information for a database of factors that may be important in local and state social distancing – this includes state and local demographic information, laws, and regulations
– Assist in the transcription and coding of case study interviews with local health department officials
– Assist in project-related administrative tasks

Time Commitment: 4-6 hours per week

Credit Hour Option: 2

Application Instructions: Please attach your resume and include a cover letter in the body of your email detailing your interest in the position and the project, your relevant skills and coursework, and what you hope to gain from the experience.

Contact Email: avaught@gwu.edu