RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. —Researchers at RTI International — Dr. Pia MacDonald and Dr. Meera Viswanathan — have been tracking the COVID-19 pandemic since its start using real data and on-the-ground experience from past infectious disease outbreaks to conduct research that provides insights and recommendations for best practices for effective COVID testing, contact tracing and screening processes that curbs infection rates and protects lives.
MacDonald and Viswanathan can provide evidence-based indicators and public health approaches that federal, state and local health officials should be implementing as part of their re-opening measures, outbreak response and containment, public health interventions and disease prevention efforts.
Expert on COVID Testing and Contact Tracing:
- Pia MacDonald, MPH, PhD, Global Health Expert at RTI International, is using her experience from past epidemics to track the potential spread and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In her current role, Dr. MacDonald’s work is focused on emerging infectious diseases and strengthening capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks. She has an extensive experience in infectious disease epidemiology and surveillance, global health security, public health preparedness, and outbreak investigation and response. Dr. MacDonald has served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer within the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, led projects funded by the CDC, Pan American Health Organization, National Association of Country and City Health Officials, and the North Carolina Division of Public Health.
Expert on COVID Screening Process Effectiveness:
- Meera Viswanathan, PhD, Director of the RTI International-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Evidence-based Practice Center, has new research that questions the effectiveness of COVID-19 screening practices, including symptom screening in public spaces. Her latest research findings revealed that screening methods for COVID-19 used across the country have an "extremely high" chance of missing infected individuals. She shared that for screening to be effective it needs to incorporate three key measures: screening methods that are more sensitive and accurate, a robust public health infrastructure with a testing plan put into place, and public buy in — she emphasized that testing will not succeed without public acceptance.
To request an interview with RTI COVID testing and screening experts, email firstname.lastname@example.org.