25 May 2016

Call For Abstracts: 2016 ISDS Annual Conference, December 6-8, Atlanta, GA

The Scientific Program Committee Invites You to Submit Your Abstract for the 2016 ISDS Annual Conference, December 6-8, 2016
Conference Tracks
The 15th Annual International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) Conference, to be held December 6-8, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia, will bring together leaders and scientists from health departments, academic institutions, government agencies/ministries, nongovernmental agencies, industry and stakeholders from the public and private sectors. The Scientific Program Committee (SPC) invites you to submit an abstract for the 2016 Conference!
ISDS is dedicated to the improvement of population health by advancing the science and practice of disease surveillance. We strongly encourage submissions that address this year's conference theme - New Frontiers in Surveillance: Data Science and Health Security.
The 2016 SPC is seeking abstracts that focus on multiple aspects of disease surveillance, which involves the timely and regular reporting of information on infectious or chronic disease, or injury, to support population health monitoring and response. Scientific abstracts that focus on novel surveillance use cases, data sources, use of Big Data, methodologies for event detection, characterization or alerting, tools for managing surveillance processes, global health security challenges, and use of surveillance information for strengthening health security are encouraged. Evaluation of state/province, national or global surveillance programs, algorithms, or interventions are also encouraged.
Abstracts accepted for presentation at the 2016 ISDS Conference will be published in a special supplement of the Online Journal of Public Health Informatics.

ISDS Conference Tracks
Each submitter will be asked to assign their abstract to one of the following tracks. While the tracks are designed to be distinct, there may be some natural overlap between tracks. Therefore we encourage submitters to use their best judgment when classifying their submissions.
Methods and Science in Surveillance: This track is focused on methodological advances in the field of public health surveillance or applied epidemiology. Novel methods for analyzing data within surveillance systems are sought. This track also seeks results from the evaluation of surveillance systems or their components. Abstracts in this category may describe methods used in practice, still under development, or which have been tested only in a research setting. Examples include but are not limited to the following:
• Evaluation of a surveillance system used for monitoring the health of a jurisdiction;
• New or improved syndrome definitions for use within a surveillance system;
• Advanced techniques, components or methods for improving surveillance; or
• Novel surveillance systems developed or deployed in the field.
Informatics and Data Science: Informatics studies and pursues the effective uses of data, information, and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem solving and decision making; and data science focuses on extracting knowledge from large volumes of data that are structured or unstructured. Although distinct, these disciplines are closely related. Therefore we invite abstracts that focus on one or more of the following aspects of informatics and/or data science which enhance disease surveillance:
• Linking disparate and/or unstructured data or information across a variety of sources;
• Monitoring or improving the quality of data or information captured by surveillance systems;
• Technologies that connect health departments/agencies to one another or with health care delivery facilities to enable data sharing or coordination of care;
• Advanced visualization of large datasets or information streams to assist surveillance;
• Machine learning approaches to detect disease cases to enhance reporting or analysis of surveillance data; or
• Querying across networks of databases or data sources to identify information about populations, disease cases, or social determinants of health.
Policy: Abstracts in this category may present descriptions of emerging policies at local, state, federal, international levels associated with surveillance; lessons learned from the implementation of policies; governance of surveillance data collection, management or usage; or approaches for using surveillance systems and data to inform health and/or public health policy. Examples include but are not limited to the following:
• Funding programs to support data collection or surveillance capacity building;
• Reporting requirements for health care providers or facility types;
• Use of surveillance data to inform policies regarding health facility planning, nutrition programs, transportation, built environment, etc.; or
• Governance of multi-state or regional data sharing to facilitate surveillance.
One Health and Health Security: One Health recognizes the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the environment; and health security seeks to create a world safe and secure from global health threats. Similar in nature, these initiatives within the global health community seek to build capacity for conducting active surveillance, connect surveillance activities across governmental agencies as well as nation states, and respond to outbreaks when and where they occur across the globe. Example of topics for abstracts may include but are not limited to the following:
• Implementation of capacity building program within a ministry;
• Evaluation of the functional core capacity framework;
• Future directions and innovations in public health that improve response to major health events;
• Guidance for healthcare organizations planning to cope with mass casualty crises; or
• Initiatives or concepts intended to reduce agricultural vulnerabilities.
Public/Population Health Surveillance Practice: This track is focused on lessons and outcomes associated with day-to-day practice of surveillance, outbreak investigation, management, and response. Abstracts in this track can describe projects, collaborations, methods, techniques, processes, and systems that support and/or advance daily surveillance operations within and across health agencies. Examples of topics for abstracts may include but are not limited to the following:
• Redesigned work processes for epidemiologists or disease investigators;
• Results of an outbreak investigation within a jurisdiction;
• Comparison of different tools or methods for adoption by a health department;
• Specification of surveillance targets for newly emerging or reemerging diseases;
• Regional or national collaborations designed to support surveillance across jurisdictions; or
• Efforts to coordinate preparedness for or response to an outbreak with multiple governmental agencies and/or non-governmental organizations.

Presentation Types
Oral: Oral presentations will be allotted 15 minutes, followed by 5 minutes for questions. Oral presentations are the preferred format for presenting results from an evaluation of a surveillance system, method or approach, or evidence of change following the introduction of a surveillance practice within a jurisdiction.
Poster: Posters are the preferred format for presenting preliminary research and results of small-scale studies; describing experimental projects/programs or works-in-progress; and reporting system descriptions. Poster sessions are designed to offer direct access to the authors in a way not possible through oral presentations.
Panel: Panel presentations are the preferred format for deeper discussions of an issue or question. Panels should focus on a central topic with 3-4 speakers offering unique but complementary views on a given topic. Each panelist should speak for no more than 10-12 minutes allowing time for questions and discussion with the audience.
Roundtable: The goal of a roundtable is to encourage discussion rather than be a presentation/didactic session. The leader should be a knowledgeable and engaging person who can help stimulate a lively discussion.
Lightning Talk: Lightning sessions are designed to facilitate the speedy sharing of recent research, theory, publications, works-in-progress, projects, applications or experiences pertaining to any aspect of the science or practice of surveillance. Each speaker has just 5 minutes for their talk and must prepare pre-timed slides that cannot be advanced by the speaker.

Key Dates
• Abstract Submission Deadline: August 26, 2016
• Author Acceptance Notification: October 7, 2016

Submission Website
Abstracts may be submitted at http://ISDS2016.abstractcentral.com beginning June 10, 2016

Additional Support and Information
Please visit the conference information page for registration, program and travel-related information.
For additional questions concerning your abstract submission, please contact Mark Krumm 617-779-0886

11 May 2016

A Message From CDC: SAVE THE DATE: Transition to ESSENCE Begins July 18

ISDS would like to share the following announcement  from the CDC
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
SAVE THE DATE: Transition to ESSENCE Begins July 18
Dear Colleagues:

The development of the BioSense Platform has been a collaboration from start to finish. Now, the finish is in sight. Our Phase 3 Transition Schedule below provides you with our expected time frame for transitioning sites to ESSENCE:

Every 4 weeks, nine sites will transition to the new data flow, which includes the BioSense Platform Archive and ESSENCE application. We’ll conduct two webinars with each set of sites: an Orientation to the Transition Plan and Adminer (a SQL tool for viewing MS SQL data in the BioSense Platform Archive) and an orientation to the Access & Management Center (AMC) and ESSENCE.

Sites will progress through a series of activities to make sure data are correct, the site is fully operational, and everyone is oriented to using the BioSense Platform tools and resources. Here’s what we want to accomplish each week:

Weekly Transition Activities (updated 4/29/2016)
Week 1
§CDC presents transition plan and conducts orientation to Adminer
§Users access Adminer to view new BioSense Platform Archive
§Users confirm accuracy of Master Facility Table
Weeks 2 and 3
§CDC leads orientation to the Access & Management Center (AMC) and ESSENCE
§Users set up accounts and data access via AMC
§Users learn ESSENCE functionality and use it to visualize syndromic surveillance data
Week 4
§Sites transition to production (new) data flow
§CDC begins converting legacy data from BioSense 2.0 front-end application to BioSense Platform Archive and into ESSENCE

We value your time and participation, and our goal is to stay on schedule. Schedule dependencies include
§  Confirmation of site Master Facility Tables,
§  Completion of CDC’s internal system security checks, and
§  Site readiness.
We will provide you with timely updates should the schedule need adjusting. In addition, if your site anticipates a schedule conflict, please contact http://support.syndromicsurveillance.org. As always, we’ll keep you informed on progress.

A BioSense Platform Quick Start Guide will be available to help you use the platform tools. During the transition, the NSSP Team will schedule conference calls to answer questions and share information. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Thank you for your assistance as we begin this important phase of work for the BioSense Platform. We look forward to working with you to put the BioSense Platform into full production.
NSSP Support Team

If you have technical questions, please contact our service desk at

05 April 2016

Webinar Anouncement: Detecting and Investigating a Large Community Outbreak of Legionellosis - South Bronx, July 2015

ISDS invites you to attend a free webinar led by members of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Sharon Balter, MD and Sharon Greene, PhD MPH.

Date and Time: 
Thursday, April 21, 2016 3:00 pm - 4:00pm EDT

This webinar will present an overview of: (1) the epidemiology of Legionnaires' disease (LD), (2) techniques applied by the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for routine LD surveillance and outbreak investigation, (3) detection and investigation of the second largest community-acquired LD outbreak in the U.S (South Bronx, July 2015), and (4) recent legislation enforcing regular maintenance, testing, and mediation of NYC cooling towers.

The presenters will conclude by soliciting suggestions from the ISDS community for techniques for defining an outbreak zone and for analyzing point patterns of case locations and cooling towers.

Sharon Balter is the Director of the Enteric, Waterborne, and Health Education Unit within the Bureau of Communicable Disease, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She has an MD from the New York University School of Medicine.

Sharon Greene is the Director of the Data Analysis Unit within the Bureau of Communicable Disease, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She holds a PhD and MPH from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.


29 March 2016

2016 CDC Surveillance Strategy Report to Congress

We are pleased to share the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2016 Report on the CDC Surveillance Strategy and the Integrated CDC Surveillance Platform. The attached report is a summary of the CDC letter to Congress.

25 March 2016

Systemic Failure and Health Catastrophe: The Final Report from the Flint Water Advisory Task Force

"The Flint water crisis is a story of government failure, intransigence, unpreparedness, delay, inaction, and environmental injustice. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) failed in its fundamental responsibility to effectively enforce drinking water regulations.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) failed to adequately and promptly act to protect public health. Both agencies, but principally the MDEQ, stubbornly worked to discredit and dismiss others’ attempts to bring the issues of unsafe water, lead contamination, and increased cases of Legionellosis (Legionnaires’ disease) to light."

Matthew M Davis, MD, MAPP, Chris Kolb, Lawrence Reynolds, MD, Eric Rothstein, CPA, Ken Sikkema, Executive Summary Statement, Flint Water Advisory Task Force Final Report, 2016, p. 5

From the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and all the way to the Governor’s office, there are more than enough culpable participants in the failure to protect the health of Flint’s children. According to pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, who first alerted government officials of concerns for her patients, the lead-contaminated water could impact as many as 8000 children.1

The unimaginable happened. The repercussions are still unknown. But for persons engaged in disease surveillance, public health, health informatics and policy-making, the Final Report is a "must-read" to gain understanding of how separate individual and agency failures compounded to allow a catastrophic outcome. We recommend all practitioners review the report.

1. Abby Goodnough, Flint Weighs Scope of Harm to Children Caused by Lead in Water, nytimes.com, January 29, 2016

14 October 2015

HSIP Host-Site Application Now Open

Host-site applications are now being accepted from state and local public health agencies to host a fellow in the Health Systems Integration Program (HSIP). HSIP host-site applications will be accepted through December 11, 2015.

HSIP is an opportunity for health systems capacity building, specifically between public health and clinical care partners. HSIP is one of three fellowship programs of Project SHINE (Strengthening Health Systems through Interprofessional Education). Project SHINE is supported by CDC, CSTE, and NACCHO. The emphasis on interprofessional education aims to build health department and fellow capacity to improve population health through health systems integration. 
The HSIP fellowship places public health practitioners with a background in epidemiology and informatics at health departments for a one-year program. Fellows are involved in projects that address: community epidemiologic surveillance to support community health needs assessments, the public health interface and use of electronic health records, and the sharing of lessons learned from successful public health and primary care professional partnerships. Fellows have a master’s degree or higher with a commitment to working in applied public health.
Host-Site Application Information
Host-site applications should describe the fellowship assignment, supervision, support structure and workplace environment proposed for the fellow. All applications must include a letter of support from the applicant’s state health officer, State Epidemiologist, or local health officer. Applications will be reviewed by a panel and are evaluated on:
  • The scope, quality, and diversity of experience offered to the fellow
  • Experience of supervisors in management, informatics, and mentoring
  • Potential long-term career placement for the fellow
  • Potential professional development opportunities and financial support provided for the fellow
  • Availability of office space, computer, and office/technical support
  • Letters of support for the mentor seeking a fellow
Fellows are supported through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are matched to health departments. Host-site applications are limited to one per state health agency or local health agency. Assignments will begin in summer 2016.
Applications must include a description of two designated mentors: a primary mentor and a secondary mentor. Mentors must have either a doctoral or master’s degree related to public health with at least eight years of experience in public health management and/or informatics. Both mentors must devote at least four hours per week with the fellow during the first month and at least two hours per week for the duration of the training period. Approved health agencies will have a demonstrated capacity to provide technical training, applied research opportunities, and opportunities for experience in the application of public health informatics in a practical setting.

How to Apply
Please visit http://shinefellows.org for complete information and the link to the electronic application. Host-site applications will be accepted through December 11, 2015. Please note that applying to the Health Systems Integration Program fellowship does not guarantee acceptance or placement of a fellow at your host health agency.

If you have any questions about the Health Systems Integration Program or the host-site application, please contact Jessica Pittman at jpittman@cste.org or Amanda Masters at amasters@cste.org or 770-458-3811.
Best regards,
Jeff Sig
Jeffrey P. Engel, M.D.
Executive Director, CSTE

24 September 2015

17th International Congress on Infectious Diseases to be held in Hyderabad, India on March 2-5, 2016

17th International Congress on Infectious Diseases
Hyderabad, India, March 2-5, 2016

We are excited to share the program for the 17th International Congress on Infectious Diseases to be held in Hyderabad, India on March 2-5, 2016 http://www.isid.org/icid/
The program and plenary speakers encompass all fields in infectious diseases with particular attention being paid to the major infectious causes of morbidity and mortality in India and elsewhere. Diseases presented will include HIV, malaria, TB, vaccine preventable diseases, neglected diseases and many others. Current issues and the latest results related to these diseases will be presented in Hyderabad. I encourage you to visit the website for the meeting to find program updates, register for the meeting and also submit abstracts of your own work for presentation during the Congress.
Abstract submission instructions: http://www.isid.org/icid/abstract_guidelines.shtml and complete hotel and registration information http://www.isid.org/icid/registration_guide.shtml are also posted.
Please note the following important deadlines:
Abstract submission deadline:
            Abstract submission deadline: November 1, 2015
            Early registration fee deadline: January 10, 2016
We are looking forward to welcoming you to Hyderabad, the center of India.
Britta Lassmann
ISID Program Director
17th ICID
ISID would like to acknowledge the 17th ICID Premier Sponsors:
Daiichi-Sankyo India Pharma Pvt. Ltd.
17th ICID Official Airline
17th ICID Official Airline
Travel on Etihad to Hyderabad, India

The ISID is pleased to announce that Etihad Airways has been selected as the official airline for the 17th ICID in Hyderabad, India. Etihad has excellent connections to Hyderabad from around the globe via Abu Dhabi with more than 100 destinations worldwide.

17th ICID Discount Codes are available, click here for more information.