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BackgroundThe COVID-19 pandemic both relied and placed significant burdens on the experts involved from research and public health sectors. The sustained high pressure of a pandemic on responders, such as healthcare workers, can lead to lasting psychological impacts including acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, burnout, and moral injury, which can impact individual wellbeing and productivity.MethodsAs members of the infectious disease modelling community, we convened a reflective workshop to understand the professional and personal impacts of response work on our community and to propose recommendations for future epidemic responses. The attendees represented a range of career stages, institutions, and disciplines. This piece was collectively produced by those present at the session based on our collective experiences.ResultsKey issues we identified at the workshop were lack of institutional support, insecure contracts, unequal credit and recognition, and mental health impacts. Our recommendations include rewarding impactful work, fostering academia-public health collaboration, decreasing dependence on key individuals by developing teams, increasing transparency in decision-making, and implementing sustainable work practices.ConclusionsDespite limitations in representation, this workshop provided valuable insights into the UK COVID-19 modelling experience and guidance for future public health crises. Recognising and addressing the issues highlighted is crucial, in our view, for ensuring the effectiveness of epidemic response work in the future.

Original publication





Wellcome open research

Publication Date





Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Disease, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.