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Isabelle Rao

The convergence of COVID-19 and the opioid epidemic has led to a significant increase in overdose deaths as more individuals experience isolation, anxiety, and difficulty obtaining treatment. I develop mathematical models to inform health policy for the twin epidemics of COVID-19 and opioid abuse. My research integrates methods from operations research and computer science to identify and evaluate optimal policies, epidemiology to develop dynamic disease models, and health economics to assess effectiveness of interventions. In past projects, I estimated the effectiveness of face masks in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of policies for controlling the US opioid epidemic. Currently, my work aims to determine the optimal allocation of vaccines to control an infectious disease. Although my recent work focuses on COVID-19 and the opioid epidemic, it provides general theoretical frameworks that can be adapted to other public health challenges.