Social & Behavioral Science Spotlight – Janani Thapa
Assistant Professor, Health Policy & Management
Director, Economic Evaluation Research Group
Topic: Corona virus is likely to continue to attack regions and populations in Georgia that have the poorest, overall health.
Dr. Janani Thapa is the director of the Economic Evaluation Research Group (EERG). Her group provides an infrastructure to conduct economic evaluations, quantitative and qualitative analyses of health policies, chronic disease modeling, and evaluations of public health interventions and programs.
Using publicly available data, the EERG is currently developing Rapid Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic maps based on vulnerability in the state of Georgia. They are currently tracking five COVID-19 categories:
Based on her preliminary data, Dr. Thapa has found that the pandemic has a disproportionate burden on communities that were already facing health disparities. She will continue to track the data through the summer and hopes her work will help inform local governments and stakeholders regarding the risk of infection to their communities.
Dr. Thapa has been invited by a collaborator in Tuskegee, Alabama to propose this research to Merck for four more states and noted that using publicly available data could also be done to study economic impact, flu vaccinations rates and what to expect in fall, etc.
A secondary purpose of the EERG is to provide linkages of key faculty and staff with expertise to conduct economic evaluations, quantitative and qualitative health policy analysis, chronic disease decision modeling, and public health program evaluation for the purposes of obtaining research funding to produce scholarly outputs that will ultimately improve population-level health.