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Physician Uses Data to Help the Nation’s COVID-19 Response

Adi V. Gundlapalli, MD, PhD, MS
American Board of Internal Medicine
Specialty: Internal Medicine
Subspecialty: Infectious Disease
American Board of Preventive Medicine
Subspecialty: Clinical Informatics

When Adi V. Gundlapalli, MD, PhD, MS moved from Utah to Atlanta for a position with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he imagined he and his family would spend his off-hours exploring their new city. But all that changed when the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the United States.

“The CDC’s mission is to work 24/7 to protect the safety, health, and security of America from threats here and around the world,” said Dr. Gundlapalli. “As one of my colleagues recently remarked, ‘these days, that mission feels more like 26/8.’ I am grateful to my wife and children for understanding that, right now, my main focus must be on helping our nation battle COVID-19.”

A physician and informatician, Dr. Gundlapalli serves as the Chief Public Health Informatics Officer at the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (CSELS) in the CDC. In this role, he serves as a liaison for informatics across the agency and with the US Department of Health and Human Services and other external partners.

Dr. Gundlapalli’s current work is focused on understanding how the pandemic is evolving in order to inform the country’s planning and decision-making. “Once I began working at the CDC, I was immediately humbled by the incredible work of my dedicated colleagues, including those deployed in the field to work on infection control in health care settings and to answer the many questions coming in from clinicians. It is humbling to see how complicated it is to create a comprehensive and accurate national view of a little-understood and continually-changing public health crisis like COVID-19.”

Dr. Gundlapalli credits continuing certification for his successful transition from patient care and local informatics to national public health work. “My background of practicing medicine while maintaining my board certifications has been helpful as I try to bridge direct patient care with public health issues.”

“I definitely miss working one-on-one with my patients, but I know that every patient in the nation will benefit when we are able to modernize national public health surveillance and provide actionable data to front line health professionals, state and local public health jurisdictions, and the community,” said Dr. Gundlapalli. “CDC is bringing to bear its rich history of public health expertise to this pandemic and the lessons learned will inform our work going forward in the post-COVID-19 period to shape the public health data ecosystem.”

Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Gundlapalli serves as Chief Public Health Informatics Officer at the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services in the CDC.

(Published: July 27, 2020)


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