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ONE WOULD EXPECT that 13 years' worth of AIDS mortality data would be enough to make an epidemiologist's eyes glaze over, let alone those of an average citizen. But now, thanks to a collaboration hatched in cyberspace, this kind of information is being beamed up onto the Internet in the form of a short animated mini-movie that demonstrates how AIDS evolved across the United States from the epidemic's early days up to today.
The project is the brainchild of Timothy R. Coté, MD, MPH, who was until recently an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Viral Epidemiology Branch. Inspired by a seminar conducted by Yale University political scientist Edward R. Tufte, author of a classic work, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Coté pondered how Tufte's ideas might be applied to presenting AIDS data in a more effective way. In particular, he was intrigued with the notion of representing
Stephenson J. AIDS Data Animation Maps Evolving US Epidemic. JAMA. 1995;274(10):784-785. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530100018007