Public Health Infrastructure Modernization: How State Leaders are Using Covid-19 as a Catalyst to Build Next Generation Technology

Thursday, October 21, 2021 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm


Date & Location

Thu, Oct 21, 2021 | 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Host Organization


Event Contact

Jim Kamp

As the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the nation, it revealed how fragile our aging public health surveillance systems are when faced with an unprecedented influx of data. What did public health agencies do to overcome this challenge and how has it informed their modernization planning? And how can states leverage knowledge shared through communities of practice to continue their progress?

Moderated by Altarum's Rick Keller, vice president of Connected Health, this one-hour event brought together state disease surveillance and public health informatics leaders from across the nation to discuss how they are preparing for tomorrow’s public health challenges. Time was reserved for the audience to connect with panelists and ask questions about their own modernization plans.

Watch a recording of the event:

Learn more about our expert panelists:

Jim Collins, MPH, RS
Director, Communicable Disease Division
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)

Jim serves as director of the Communicable Disease Division of MDHHS, where he led the development of the Michigan Disease Surveillance System and the implementation of Michigan’s Syndromic Surveillance Initiative—creating a new model for communicable disease surveillance in the state. In addition to his role at MDHHS, Jim serves on several national workgroups that are defining the content of the Public Health Information Network initiative and functions as agency lead on public health integration of meaningful use standards. He is also a director on the Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services Board, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing health informatics in Michigan, and a lecturer with the University of Michigan School of Public Health and Michigan State University. Jim received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Alma College and completed a Master of Public Health Degree in Epidemiology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Prior to joining MDHHS, he worked in a variety of capacities as a registered sanitarian and epidemiologist at a local public health agency.

Erin Holt Coyne, MPH
Chief Public Health Informatics Officer
Tennessee Department of Health

Erin serves as the Chief Public Health Informatics Officer and the Acting Director of the Office of Informatics and Analytics for the Tennessee Department of Health. Her current role is to oversee the Informatics, Analytics, and Data Governance units of the Office, as well as provide direct oversight to the Informatics unit. The Office of Informatics and Analytics directly supports the epidemiologic response to the opioid and drug overdose crisis, data governance including data release, suppression, and the Institutional Review Board, the department’s integrated data system, standards-based interoperability and support for federal HIT incentive programs, and advanced analytics and reporting. Her role is to help support informatics infrastructure within the department, facilitate department-wide strategic and operational informatics activities, and represent the health department in relevant nationwide public health informatics activities.

Bryant Thomas Karras, MD
Chief Informatics Officer and Senior Epidemiologist
Washington State Department of Health

Byrant’s current position is in the Office of Science Health and Informatics, where he guides the agency's interoperability work. He is a physician, an engineer, and a public health informatician. He has a technical, business process, and problem-solving approach with a background in Internal Medicine/Chief Resident (University of Wisconsin), Biomedical Engineering (University of California San Diego), and a Medical Informatics Fellowship (Yale). As informatics officer for the state’s public health agency, he guides the informatics and interoperability enterprise-wide agency efforts including how to utilize innovative technologies such as Bluetooth Exposure Notification. Bryant is passionate about improving public health’s use of health information technology in Washington state helping state and local public health agencies elsewhere with informatics issues.