31 July 2011

Distribute Presentations at the 2011 Joint Statistical Meetings

The Distribute Project will be presented in a special session "Statistical Issues in Influenza Surveillance" at the Joint Statistical Meetings in Miami, FL on August 2, 2011:

336 Tue, 8/2/2011, 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM CC-A107
Statistical Issues in Influenza Surveillance — Topic Contributed Papers
Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security , Section on Government Statistics , Scientific and Public Affairs Advisory Committee
Organizer(s): Howard Burkom, The Johns Hopkins University
Chair(s): Po-Yung Cheng, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
10:35 AM Comparing Various Methods for Sentinel Surveillance Site Placement — Alberto Segre, University of Iowa ; Gerard Rushton, University of Iowa ; Philip Polgreen, University of Iowa ; Geoffrey Fairchild, University of Iowa
10:55 AM The Distribute Project, Syndromic Surveillance, and the New Paradigm for Public Health Data Sharing and AnalysisMarc Paladini, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
11:15 AM Generation of Prediction Intervals to Assess Data Quality in the Distribute System Using Quantile RegressionIan Painter, University of Washington ; Julie Eaton, University of Puget Sound ; Debra Revere, University of Washington ; Bill Lober, University of Washington ; Donald Olson, International Society of Disease Surveillance
11:35 AM Analytic Evaluation of a Standardization Effort for the Distribute Emergency Department Surveillance ProjectHoward Burkom, The Johns Hopkins University ; Donald Olson, International Society of Disease Surveillance ; Marc Paladini, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ; Atar Baer, Public Health-Seattle & King County ; Debra Revere, University of Washington
11:55 PM Floor Discussion

27 July 2011

Distribute Proof of Concept Report Published in PLoS Currents: Influenza

A report on the Distribute Project Proof of Concept phase has been published in PLoS Currents:  Influenza:

The ISDS DiSTRIBuTE project is a case example for a new paradigm in the collection and sharing of public health data. By connecting state and local jurisdictions that conducted electronic, emergency department (ED) syndromic surveillance, DiSTRIBuTE aimed to demonstrate the feasibility and utility of a fast, inexpensive, low burden model for population level respiratory, febrile and influenza-like morbidity surveillance. The effort emerged out of the unique collaborative environment of ISDS, where federal, state, and local public health agencies, academia, businesses, non-profit organizations, and other stakeholders leverage resources and technology to work together to advance the practice and research of public health disease surveillance.

The development and proof of concept phase of the ISDS DiSTRIBuTE project from 2006 to 2009 was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through a cooperative agreement with the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Markle Foundation. Implementation and expansion of DiSTRIBuTE into a nationwide system in 2009 and 2010 was supported by the Markle Foundation, and CDC through a cooperative agreement with the Public Health Informatics Institute.
Citation: Olson DR, Paladini M, Lober WB, Buckeridge DL; for the ISDS Distribute Working Group. Applying a New Model for Sharing Population Health Data to National Syndromic Influenza Surveillance: DiSTRIBuTE Project Proof of Concept, 2006 to 2009 [Internet]. Version 25. PLoS Currents: Influenza 2011 Jul 8 [revised 2011 Jul 21]. Available from: http://knol.google.com/k/don-olson/applying-a-new-model-for-sharing/261w1jjdm6zrb/5#

25 July 2011

Job Opportunities

Here are some opportunities for employment that may be of interest to ISDS members:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Director, Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP)
    •  The incumbent will:
      • Develop goals and objectives that integrate chronic disease prevention, health promotion, and scientific and programmatic activities that improve cardiovascular health,
      •   Identify key program areas in which prevention measures can accomplish reductions in the leading causes of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality,
      •   Provide expert guidance to public health officials, researchers, Physicians, and scientific administrators,
      •   Represent NCCDPHP with a variety of CDC organizations as well as the Office of the Surgeon General, National Academy of Sciences, United States Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health and other external partners,
      •   Evaluate research and identifying factors and contributors to cardiovascular health and their relationship with disease prevention and health promotion activities,
      •   Plan, organize and oversee the division’s activities, and
      •   Lead and manage approximately 100 staff of highly qualified and competent medical, scientific and technical workforce and a $74M annual budget with a broad portfolio of prevention programs and activities.
    •  Qualification requirements:
      • Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) licensure,
      •   A minimum of five years of residency training in the specialty of the position or equivalent experience and training,
      •   Recognition as a scientific and public health leader in the field of cardiovascular health, and
      •   Demonstrated capacity to provide innovative leadership.
    •  To be considered, email your CV to Wayne Giles.  Or see more information on DHDSP.
  •   Director, Public Health Surveillance and Informatics Program Office (PHSIPO) 
    • The incumbent will:
      •   Provide leadership and guidance on public health surveillance and informatics to CDC and local/state/federal jurisdictions/agencies.
      •   Coordinate with CDC and various stakeholders to improve the nation’s capabilities for conducting real-time biosurveillance and enables health situational awareness through access to existing data from healthcare organizations across the county,
      •   Develop a vision for the execution and operation of innovative, cross cutting, scientifically rigorous public health surveillance and informatics programs and technology initiatives in order to make data available to public health experts.
    •  Qualification requirements:
      •   Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) licensure,A minimum of five years of residency training in the specialty of the position or equivalent experience and training,
      • Recognition as a scientific and leader in the field of public health surveillance, and
      •   Demonstrated capacity to provide innovative leadership.
    •  To be considered, applicants MUST apply prior to midnight EST on August 16th at www.usajobs.gov. Access the vacancy directly>

Virginia Department of Health
  • Enhanced Surveillance Coordinator/Syndromic Surveillance Coordinator
    • Job Description:
      • Manages the implementation, analysis, and dissemination of statewide enhanced surveillance projects. Provides technical oversight for enhanced surveillance activities statewide and supervises enhanced surveillance staff. Prioritizes new initiatives and establishes policies and procedures for the implementation of projects. Identifies opportunities for surveillance enhancements and designs new programs and guides development of new data management applications when appropriate. Creates and delivers training, shares best practices and develops user manuals for enhanced surveillance activities. Plans and implements targeted surveillance initiatives. Manages grant activities and prepares progress reports. Serves as a liaison to the Offices of Emergency Preparedness and Response (EP&R) and Information Management (OIM), and is a Bioterrorism Response support team member.
    • Application Details:
      • A completed application, including all previous employment, salary history, and education must be submitted online at  for consideration. Search for position using position number 08910.  The deadline to apply is 7/31/11. 

18 July 2011

ISDS at NACCHO Annual 2011

Be sure not to miss ISDS' presentation at NACCHO Annual 2011 next week in Hartford, CT:

"Making the Most of Meaningful Use:  Enhancing Surveillance Standards"
Friday, July 22nd, 2011; 8:00 AM-9:00 AM
Room 22/23

Facilitator:  Charles Ishikawa, MSPH, Associate Director of Public Health Programs, ISDS

  • Julia Gunn, RN, MPH, Director, Communicable Disease Division, Boston Public Health Commission and ISDS Board Director
  • Taha Kass-Hout, MD, MS, Deputy Director for Information Science and BioSense Program Manager, CDC/OSELS/PHSPO/Division of Healthcare Information 
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act authorized the establishment of programs to improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency through the promotion of health information technology (HIT), including electronic health records and private and secure electronic health information exchange. The public health meaningful use criteria for public health are immunizations, electronic laboratory reporting, and syndromic surveillance data.  During this session, participants will learn about Meaningful Use, the opportunities for public health surveillance, and how integrating syndromic surveillance standards, recommended by the International Society for Disease Surveillance and supported by the CDC’s BioSense Program, can enhance agency capability.

14 July 2011

Scholarships Available for the ISDS 10th Annual Conference

ISDS is pleased to announce that is will be able to offer a limited number of travel scholarships for Distribute Community of Practice members, graduate students and international public health professionals to attend the 10th Annual Conference in Atlanta.

For eligibility criteria and application requirements, please visit your category of interest:

12 July 2011

Call for Abstracts for the ISDS 10th Annual Conference

Submissions of original work are now being requested for peer review and presentation at the ISDS 10th Annual Conference, to be held in Atlanta, Georgia from December 7-8 2011.

The ISDS Annual Conference is the premier annual scientific gathering for researchers and practitioners in public health, epidemiology, health policy, biostatistics and mathematical modeling, informatics, computer science, and related fields focused on disease surveillance and emerging challenges to public health practice.  The conference will feature internationally renowned speakers from health departments, leading universities, government agencies, and top industrial organizations.

This year's conference will focus on the theme "Building the Future of Public Health Surveillance."  The conference seeks to present scientific work at the juncture of innovative analytical techniques, progressive public health practice, and cutting edge informatics to support a timely, accurate and informed response to emerging outbreaks of disease and other health threats.  Authors may wish to draw from the tracks but are in no way limited to those topics.  Abstract submission will be performed online and all selected abstracts will be published online in a special supplement of the Emerging Health Threats Journal

Please visit the 2011 Annual Conference page for details on how to register and submit an abstract.  Questions regarding the Call for Abstracts may be sent to the 2011 Scientific Program Chairs, Daniel Neill and Karl Soetebier

We look forward to receiving your submissions and to seeing you at the Annual Conference in December.

Best regards,
The International Society for Disease Surveillance

01 July 2011

Utilizing Social Media and Open Data for Public Health Situational Awareness Forum

On July 20th, 2011 in Washington DC, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response's Fusion Cell is sponsoring a forum on "Utilizing Social Media and Open Data for Public Health Situational Awareness."  This forum is the first in a series of innovative discussions that are sponsored by the Fusion Cell. 

This forum presents an opportunity for representatives from the private industry, government agencies, academic institutions and non-profit organizations to join together and "help identify pioneering ways to move from open source information into actual public health response -- so everyone is better informed, better prepared, and better able to respond fast to protect health and save lives."  Registration is open until July 8th, 2011.

For learning objectives, registration information, etc. please visit the event website