30 July 2009

July Global Outreach Committee Meeting

When: Thursday, July 30th at 10:00 am EDT

1. Influenza H1N1 'swine flu' surveillance - collection of international experience for a special edition of the Network
2. DiSTRIBuTE (Distributed Surveillance Taskforce for Real-time Influenza Burden Tracking and Evaluation) - international participation
3. International Skills Survey - feedback and next steps
4. Any other business

1. Special edition of "The Network" on H1N1: The Committee discussed the possibility of publishing a special edition of their newsletter, "The Network" focused on H1N1. It was decided that contributions will be added to the ISDS blog on a rolling basis, which will allow for further feedback to be solicited in the form of reader comments. The articles, along with a summary of their commentary, will then be published into the next edition of "The Network," which will hopefully be put out in the fall. The topic areas in which the Committee is accepting submissions are:

A. Schools
B. Using surveillance for planning
C. General surveillance issues
D. Background clinical/medial advice for epidemiologists - high risk groups
E. Veterinary issues/reverse zoonosis

2. Don Olson gave an update on the current status of the DiSTRIBuTE project, and called for international participation. In the coming flu season, if it continues to be funded, it is hoped that the project can be expanded to both US and international sites.

3. International Skills Survey: The survey developed for the Committee is currently being placed on hold. It is hoped that the scope survey can be extended to the entire ISDS membership. Until the necessary changes have been made and the timing has been decided, the survey will remain inactive.

Next Meeting:
Thursday, October 1st at 10:00 am EDT.

Research on School Absenteeism Data and the Effect of School Closings on Disease Spread: Webinar Recording and Slides Now Available

The recording and presentation slides from the Research Committee's webinar on "Research on School Absenteeism Data and the Effect of School Closings on Disease Spread" are now available on the ISDS wiki.

Thanks to all who made this webinar a success! There are several possibilities for following up on this event. If you would like to get involved in future activities of the Research Committee, please contact: rviola-at-syndromic.org.

28 July 2009

July Public Health Practice Committee Meeting

When: Monday, July 27th at 12:00 pm EDT.

1) Approval of the minutes
2) ISDS updates
3) Reminder of the upcoming ISDS Research Committee Webinar scheduled for Thursday, July 30, 2009 11:00 AM-12:00 PM EDT: "Research on School Absenteeism Data and the Effect of School Closings on Disease Spread"
4) Guest presentation: “Syndromic Surveillance Program Characteristics in the United States in 2008” by Peter Leese, Economist at Research Triangle Institute, Inc. & David Rein, PhD, Research Economist at Research Triangle Institute, Inc.
5) A discussion on current and proposed use of advanced surveillance systems to track novel flu A (H1N1) activity and plans to evaluate school and community mitigation activities this fall
6) The ongoing DiSTRIBuTE perspective on this influenza pandemic
7) Use of federal stimulus funds to enhance public health preparedness surveillance


2. ISDS updates: Don Olson gave a brief update on the status of ISDS and the DiSTRIBuTE project. ISDS is currently in the stages of a preliminary agreement for the next phase of DiSTRIBuTE funding. In the coming weeks, Don will be contacting members of the PHPC to solicit support for DiSTRIBuTE.

5. Tracking H1N1 in schools (Marc Paladini): Marc discussed his current work on evaluation of the timing of school breaks and their effects of ED visits for ILI when comparing across age groups. Thus far, it has been difficult to develop the appropriate statistical measures. For the upcoming flu season, he hopes that there will be better reporting by grades K-8 in the New York City school system, and to begin integrating school nurse visits with absentee data and active surveillance.

6. Current DiSTRIBuTE perspective on H1N1 (Don Olson): Don is interested in gathering locals/states to collaborate and determine the impact of school closures (in this case, the end of the academic year) in spring 2009 on the H1N1 pandemic spread. He hopes to keep this discussion on the effect of school closures on H1N1 age distribution open into the fall, so that the effect of schools reopening in September can be observed.

7. The PHPC is interested in assessing what its members are doing to use the federal stimulus money to further develop surveillance systems. This will be discussed in greater detail on next month's call.

Next meeting: Monday, August 24th at 12:00 pm EDT.

21 July 2009

Webinar: Research on School Absenteeism Data and the Effect of School Closings on Disease Spread

This month, the ISDS Research Committee is hosting a webinar on "Research on School Absenteeism Data and the Effect of School Closings on Disease Spread." This meeting will be the Committee's first topical call.

Many members are interested in surveillance using school absenteeism, illness-associated or otherwise, and on the effect of school closings on the recent H1N1 threat.

Featured panelists:
-Marc Paladini, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
-Julia Gunn, Boston Public Health Commission
-Francisco Averhoff, CDC/CCID/NCPDCID
-Shuying Shen, Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Utah
-Atar Baer, Public Health - Seattle & King County

The webinar will be taking place on Thursday, July 30th at 11:00 am EDT.

Register here

15 July 2009

Research Committee Updates

Based on discussions with the ISDS Board and the most active members of the Research Committee, the following changes have been made to the Committee's structure:

1. Maintain the Literature Review and the Resources section but suspend (at least) the contest and forum efforts. The Committee will continue to move as quickly as possible toward the special issue of ADS for the first technical contest.

2. Under this consolidation, the Literature Reviews would occur every other month, alternating with general meetings.

3. For general meetings, the Committee is going to try a topical rather than a functional format for increased participation. The topical format will be informal, with an invited panel of 3-6 presenters who would not necessarily prepare slides. We will use GoToWebinar to shift between presenter desktops. Individual members or subgroups could plan a single monthly meeting choosing a research topic of interest. (It seems easier to ask a committee member to organize one informal call of interest to that person than to serve on a continual basis, and it also seems reasonable to find one topic of interest every other month.)

Given the success of the Literature Review presentations, it seems likely that these topical meetings will generate more interest than regular functional meetings and may spawn new cooperative efforts. They may lead to some of the other original Committee goals such as grant-seeking just by getting more participation.

The next full Research Committee Meeting will be taking place on Thursday, July 30th at 11:00 am EDT. More details to follow.

10 July 2009

2009 Conference Registration Information

The ISDS is pleased to announce that registration for the 2009 Annual Conference is now open. Please visit the registration page for this year's registration rates and hotel information.

Important registration deadlines:

Early registration ends September 6, 2009.
Regular registration is open from September 7 - November 15, 2009.
Late registration begins on November 16, 2009.

Become an ISDS member and save on your conference registration! For an additional fee of $50 ($35 for students) you will be able to take advantage of a significant discount for conference registration.

General conference information

08 July 2009

2009 Call for Abstracts

The 2009 Scientific Program Committee is now accepting abstract submissions for this year's conference. Below is the letter that was sent out to the Society mailing list:

Dear Members,

The International Society for Disease Surveillance announces that abstracts for oral presentations and posters are now being accepted for this year’s ISDS annual conference, December 3-4, 2009, Miami, Florida. Instructions and forms for online submission are available on the ISDS website, or at the 2009 Conference site. Abstract submissions should follow the abstract format standard, posted within the instructions. Abstracts are due by August 19, 2009.

All presenters (posters and oral presentations) are required to register for the conference. Online registration for all attendees is available on our website.
We look forward to receiving your submissions and to seeing you in Miami in December at our annual conference.

Thank you,
Henry Rolka, RN, MPS, MS, Scientific Program Chair
Fermin Leguen, MD, MPH, Organizing Chair