Subproject 4 – Public Health and Epidemiology

Professor Chou Yiing Jenq of the National Yang-Ming University’s Institute of Clinical Medicine and Institute of Public Health is responsible for the coordination and implementation of this subproject. Professor Chou is an experienced researcher with expertise in health policy, health economics, and health insurance. 

Key Issues: The COVID-19 pandemic is a constantly changing challenge with new information, policies, and effects continuously occurring.  

Unmet Needs: Current data lacks an integrated structure suitable for forecasting and analyzing the economic and societal impacts of border control and quarantine measures. 

How to Solve: Our team has deep theoretical knowledge and practical experience in systematically collecting, analyzing, and synthesizing data on policies and benefits, as well as in assessing differences and benefits of pre-existing solutions. In addition, our team has expertise in establishing database and creating forecasting models, conducting cost-effectiveness analyses of various policies, and evaluating the establishment and planning of a new pandemic control zone.  

Objectives

At the end of 2002, the first confirmed case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus occurred in Guangdong Province, China. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) was not notified of the event until February 10th, 2003, enabling the spread of the virus to various other countries and resulting in over 8,000 confirmed cases and more than 700 deaths. In addition to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore each reported large number of cases while South Korea and Japan were able to escape the SARS pandemic unscathed. After the SARS crisis, Taiwan strengthened its pandemic control organizational structure, established an infectious disease physician and medical system, created a hospital-based infectious disease control system, revised the Communicable Disease Control Act, and founded an international cooperation group to strengthen international epidemic data collection. As soon as Taiwan’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) detected the appearance of similar cases of atypical pneumonia (COVID-19) at the end of 2019, the CDC immediately initiated various response measures and established the Severe Special Infectious Pneumonia Central Epidemic Command Center to effectively coordinate resources and manpower of various ministries.  

Taiwan has received international praise for its rapid response and effective control of the COVID-19 epidemic. In order to improve upon the public health system’s capacity to prevent and control infectious diseases, this project will be led by Yang-Ming University’s interdisciplinary and interdepartmental team with backgrounds in medical sociology, health information technology, health economics, health policy, decision analysis, and health technology assessment among other disciplines, to conduct research in public health-related fields. To strengthen Taiwan’s comprehensive public health system, the project will include three key areas: Epidemiological Modeling and Simulation Research, Policy Impact Analysis and Comparison, and Asia Pacific Special Medical and Epidemic Prevention Zone Establishment Plan.