SIAM News Blog

Natalie Dean to Receive the 2024 JPBM Communications Award

The following was shared by the American Mathematical Society.

Dr. Natalie Dean will receive the 2024 Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communications Award “for a remarkable record of public engagement providing clear meaning and context to COVID models and predictions through traditional and social media,” according to the award citation.

Dr. Dean is an assistant professor in the department of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she became active in communications via Twitter and engagement with media. She has explained vaccine epidemiology to TV viewers, radio listeners, and newspaper readers in the U.S. and internationally.

Response from Natalie Dean

© Emory Rollins School of Public Health.

What an absolute honor it is to receive the JPBM Communications Award. This recognition by the JPBM, including my home society, the American Statistical Association, means the world to me. The magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated an enormous response that includes keeping policymakers and the public up to date. It has been my privilege to be able to contribute to this effort along with so many others.

I would like to thank my community of infectious-disease researchers and biostatisticians: an incredibly hardworking community who leapt headfirst into the pandemic response, many in less visible but absolutely critical roles. Thank you to my family, friends, and colleagues, who encouraged me with kind words of support, with a special shout-out to my pal Caitlin Rivers. Thank you to the incredible science reporters I have worked with and learned from along the way and to the communications professionals at the University of Florida and Emory. I’d like to thank my sweet babies, Owen and Noelle, who keep me present and balanced. Most of all, I’d like to thank my husband, Ethan, my biggest and best supporter.

Biographical Sketch of Natalie Dean

Dr. Natalie Dean is an assistant professor in the department of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and codirector of the Emory Alliance for Vaccine Epidemiology. Her primary research area is in methods for infectious-disease epidemiology and vaccine study design. Dr. Dean received her Ph.D. in biostatistics from Harvard University and worked as a World Health Organization consultant and as faculty at the University of Florida. She has published op-eds in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Stat News, and Slate, and has appeared on TV and radio, including CNN, MSNBC, “Good Morning America,” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” She has been quoted more than 300 times in national and international media outlets. Dr. Dean was honored previously as a member of the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies Leadership Academy.

About the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics Communication Award

The Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communication Award was established by the JPBM in 1988 and is given annually to reward and encourage communicators who, on a sustained basis, bring mathematical ideas and information to non-mathematical audiences. The JPBM is a collaborative effort of the American Mathematical Society, American Statistical Association, Mathematical Association of America, and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Find out more about the award and see past recipients.

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