Mathematical Models Matter: A Course for Advocates

Lesson 1: What Are Mathematical Models And What Are they Used For?3 Topics

Lesson 2: Key Components Of Mathematical Models And Common Terminology2 Topics1 Quiz

Lesson 3: Limitations Of Mathematical Modeling

Lesson 4: Making Sense Of Mathematical Modeling Studies3 Topics

Lesson 5: Making Models Matter

Course Summary
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Mathematical Models Matter: A Course for Advocates
Welcome to Lesson 3. This lesson helps you differentiate between questions that can and can’t be answered with mathematical modeling.
As you learned in Lesson 1, mathematical models can be used:
 To understand the spread of diseases or the future course of an outbreak
 To evaluate the impact of public health interventions
 To evaluate the costeffectiveness of public health interventions
 When clinical trials are not possible
While modeling is useful in these instances, it isn’t the best approach for answering all questions. To formulate a question that can be addressed using mathematical modeling, you need to be able to define the model inputs and outputs and the mathematical relationships between them. Ideally the models will build on realworld studies that measure these mathematical relationships, such as measuring the costs and impacts of interventions, factors that impact disease transmission, morbidity (illness) and mortality (death), how quickly diseases spread through populations with different characteristics and how populations grow over time. Questions that already have data about some of these relationships may lend themselves to mathematical modeling. Other questions are better studied by trying to measure what happens in the real world, because modeling would require too many assumptions to be informative.
The exercise below will help you differentiate between questions that are more and less suitable for modeling. Read the questions below and select ‘yes’ if modeling can be used to answer the question and ‘no’ if a different approach should be used. Please continue to click the arrow to ensure you answered all of the questions.