Mr. Baltazar Nunes spent 3 months at Fogarty over the summer 2008 where he developed various statistical models to estimate influenza-associated mortality in Portugal from 1980-2005. It was Baltazar’s goal to use his time here to refine his knowledge and skills in classical time series methods, such as ARIMA modeling, as well as to meet “experienced and skilled researchers in the field of influenza epidemiology with whom I can learn and discuss ideas.”
Baltazar earned his BS in Statistics and Operation Research in 1997, and a Masters degree in Probabilities and Statistics in 2003, both from University of Lisbon. Upon graduation, Baltazar began working at the Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics of the Portuguese National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge. His early work included modeling the effect of heat waves on daily mortality, and developing an early warning system currently used by the Portuguese Authorities (Heat/Health Early Warning System, ICARO). Baltazar’s current research covers many aspects of influenza epidemiology, including: analysis of the molecular evolution of influenza B, developing preparedness scenarios for pandemic influenza burden and statistical methods to estimate excess deaths attributed to seasonal influenza epidemics. When questioned about the most important public health concern in Portugal and the rest of the world, Baltazar notes that, “The most important public health concern in Portugal is cerebrovascular disease – Portugal presents one of highest stroke mortality rates at the 15-EU group. Globally, I think that the most important public health problem is the lack of access to health care in the developing countries.” Some of Baltazar’s most memorable experiences from his time at Fogarty include lunches overlooking the Rose Garden, being in the Washington, DC metropolitan area during the 2008 presidential elections, and taste of American coffee.