Abstract for: Using integrated modeling to support the global eradication of vaccine-preventable diseases

The long-term management of global disease eradication projects involves numerous inherently dynamic processes, health and economic trade-offs, significant uncertainty and variability, rare events, complex and inter-related decisions, and a requirement for cooperation among a large number of stakeholders. Over the course of more than 15 years of collaborative modeling efforts to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we developed increasingly complex integrated models that combined numerous analytical approaches, including system dynamics, risk and decision analysis, discrete-event and individual-based simulation, probabilistic uncertainty and sensitivity analysis, health economics, and optimization. We summarize the integrated models, give examples of how these different tools provided complimentary insights about specific questions, and provide an example to illustrate how we integrated analytical tools. We discuss the central role of system dynamics in the overall effort. We further emphasize that due to the nature of disease eradication management efforts, the integration of different modeling approaches proved critical to develop the ability to holistically address policy questions as they arose. We discuss practical challenges we faced in the context of integrating different analytical tools and provide our perspective on the future of integrated modeling.