20 January 2012

ISDS Member Publication

ISDS member, Dr. Scott McNabb, and ISDS Board member, Dr. John Brownstein, were among the contributing authors of the article "Infectious disease surveillance and modelling across geographic frontiers and scientific specialties" that was recently published in the The Lancet Infectious Diseases. This article discusses the sharing of epidemic intelligence across global frontiers using new technologies and modelling that crosses scientific specialties for improved infectious disease surveillance for mass gatherings.

Read a summary of this article below and the full text in The Lancet to learn more.

Infectious disease surveillance and modelling across geographic frontiers and scientific specialties

Dr Kamran Khan MD a b n Corresponding AuthorEmail AddressScott JN McNabb PhD cProf Ziad A Memish MD d e nRose Eckhardt MA bWei Hu BSc bDavid Kossowsky BA bJennifer Sears BSc bJulien Arino PhD fAnders Johansson PhD g hMaurizio Barbeschi PhD i nBrian McCloskey MDj nBonnie Henry MD k nMartin Cetron MD lJohn S Brownstein PhD m n


Infectious disease surveillance for mass gatherings (MGs) can be directed locally and globally; however, epidemic intelligence from these two levels is not well integrated. Modelling activities related to MGs have historically focused on crowd behaviours around MG focal points and their relation to the safety of attendees. The integration of developments in internet-based global infectious disease surveillance, transportation modelling of populations travelling to and from MGs, mobile phone technology for surveillance during MGs, metapopulation epidemic modelling, and crowd behaviour modelling is important for progress in MG health. Integration of surveillance across geographic frontiers and modelling across scientific specialties could produce the first real-time risk monitoring and assessment platform that could strengthen awareness of global infectious disease threats before, during, and immediately after MGs. An integrated platform of this kind could help identify infectious disease threats of international concern at the earliest stages possible; provide insights into which diseases are most likely to spread into the MG; help with anticipatory surveillance at the MG; enable mathematical modelling to predict the spread of infectious diseases to and from MGs; simulate the effect of public health interventions aimed at different local and global levels; serve as a foundation for scientific research and innovation in MG health; and strengthen engagement between the scientific community and stakeholders at local, national, and global levels.
As member service, ISDS likes to share information about its members with the ISDS community. ISDS staff depends on the help of others to notify us of member news. If you are an ISDS member and would like ISDS to share something, please send the information to Amanda at aschulte@syndromic.org.

18 January 2012

ISDS welcomes Becky Zwickl!

The ISDS staff extends a warm welcome to the newest member of our team, Becky Zwickl. 

Becky is the new Public Health Analyst and will be working primarily on supporting the Syndromic Surveillance for Meaningful Use: Inpatient and Ambulatory Clinical Care Data project. We are very excited to have her with us, and we are looking forward to all of the work we will accomplish together.

Becky's bioBecky Zwickl joined ISDS in 2012.  Her responsibilities mainly consist of coordinating and assisting with ISDS’s recommendations for public health use of electronic health record data from ambulatory and inpatient clinical care settings relating to implementation of Meaningful Use regulations.

Becky is in the process of completing a MPH at Boston University School of Public Health with concentrations in Health Policy and Management and Epidemiology.  During her time at Boston University she worked as an emergency preparedness support consultant providing preparation assistance to local public health departments.  In her role as a consultant, Becky also wrote grants and reports and provided research support. 
Becky has a BA in psychology from University of Michigan.
Welcome Becky!

12 January 2012

Feedback Requested: Draft Charter of the BioSense Governance Group

ASTHO, in association with the  Interim BioSense Governance Group, created a DRAFT Charter of the BioSense Governance Group and is requesting comments and suggestions from ISDS members.

You may view the Draft Charter below or download the pdf document here

Please write your comments in the "Post a Comment" section at the end of this entry or email your comments to Amanda at aschulte@syndromic.org by February 6, 2012.

Thank you for your feedback.
Draft Charter of the BioSense 2.0 Governance Group

BioSense 2.0

BioSense 2.0 is the web-accessible platform used to receive, store, maintain, process, analyze, and display data. It is a service for state, local, and territorial health agencies for data sharing and analysis. BioSense 2.0 can also be utilized as a tool for sharing data that it contains between public health agencies.

BioSense Program

The BioSense Program, run by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), facilitates recognition and tracking of health problems as they evolve, and provides public health officials with the data, information and tools they need to better prepare for and respond, in a coordinated way, to threats to the health of the American people.

Participating Jurisdiction

The term “participating jurisdiction” will be either a local or state health jurisdiction operating under either statutory or regulatory authority to provide data to BioSense 2.0 and has agreed to the terms and conditions of the BioSense 2.0 Data Use Agreement (DUA).   The formal designation of a participating jurisdiction in the BioSense 2.0 DUA is “Data Source”,


The term "User" is any authorized user of data available through BioSense 2.0. All users must be affiliated with a participating jurisdiction and be held to Terms and Conditions of Data Use and Security standards by the Data Source.

BioSense 2.0 Governance Group

The BioSense 2.0 Governance Group was created in accordance with a cooperative agreement between ASTHO and the CDC to ensure key stakeholder involvement in BioSense 2.0. The purpose of this group is to oversee the development and use of BioSense 2.0.

Roles of the BioSense 2.0 Governance Group:

·       To provide representation from a diverse set of public health stakeholders from state, local, and federal levels
·       To set strategic priorities, overall policy, and direction for BioSense 2.0
·       To assure that overall system development is responsive to data contributor and user input
·       To serve as a conduit for feedback and recommendations from the constituents that the Governance Group’s members represent
·       To identify and recommend new categories of data sources to be added to BioSense 2.0
·       To make recommendations for resolving disputes about or violations of data use agreements for BioSense 2.0
·       To form governance sub-committees and policy workgroups as needed.

Governance Group members are expected to represent their participating jurisdiction organizations and:
·       Solicit input from their respective constituencies
·       Act as a conduit of information among their organizations and constituencies and the Governance Group
·       Actively participate in conference calls and face to face meetings

Desired attributes of Governance Group members include:
·       Interest and commitment to improving national surveillance efforts
·       Ability to fairly represent the views of their constituencies
·       Familiarity with the assets and needs of their constituencies
·       Knowledge and experience in syndromic surveillance and policy
·       Skill in collaboration and consensus
·       Ability to attend face-to-face meetings and monthly teleconferences

Composition of the BioSense 2.0 Governance Group

The Governance Group shall be composed of 15 people, each with a single vote on all matters under the purview of the Governance Group:
·       4 Individuals shall represent the various public health associations that will utilize BioSense 2.0.  Specifically, there shall be one representative each from:
o   The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
o   The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE)
o   The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
o   The International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS)
·       3 Individuals shall represent the following federal data submitting agencies:
o   The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC)
o   The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
o   The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
·        8 Individuals shall represent the various groups which will be submitting data to the BioSense 2.0 system:
o   3 shall be from state or territorial public health agencies
o   3 shall be from county or city public health agencies
o   2 shall be from data contributors which are non-public health agencies (such as healthcare facilities, pharmacies, etc)

Selection of Governance Group Members:

Representatives of ASTHO, CSTE, NACCHO, ISDS, CDC, VA, and DOD shall be chosen by their respective groups using whatever means each group sees fit to use.

Representatives of the 8 non-federal data submitting groups shall be chosen by secret-ballot election, facilitated by ASTHO, among the population of BioSense 2.0 participating jurisdictions.  Elections shall be held separately for state/territorial, county/city, and non-public health representatives.

For state/territorial and county/city elections, each participating jurisdiction is permitted to nominate one representative as a candidate for election in their respective categories.

For non-public health agency representative elections, the participating jurisdictions may nominate one candidate from a data-contributing facility located within their jurisdiction. 

State and territorial data submitters may only vote in the state/territorial elections, city and county may only vote in city/county elections.  All participating jurisdictions can vote in elections for the non public health agency representatives. 

For all elections, each participating jurisdiction may cast one vote. 

The top 3 vote-receivers from the state/territorial and county/city elections, and the top 2 from non-public health elections, shall be the representatives on the Governance Group for the upcoming Term. 

Governance Group Terms of Service

Governance Group members will serve a term of two years to begin just following their elections. 

These terms will be staggered as follows:
1)     ST and CC agencies: 2 members shall serve in the same 2-year term while 1 member will serve an overlapping 2-year term, staggered by one year.
2)     NPH groups: each of the two members shall serve overlapping 2-year terms, staggered by one year.

The first Governance Group will hold elections for all 8 positions, with one each of ST, CC, and NPH groups to be designated with a term of only one year.  Upon expiration of the one-year terms, new elections will be held for these positions which will then have a normal term of two-years.

If any scheduling conflict prevents a member from attending any meeting, the member is permitted to designate a substitute, with voting rights, on a case-by-case basis.

Permanent vacancies created for any reason will be filled by selection of an interim member as chosen by the four public health associations and, if available, the member that has vacated the role. 

Governance Group Co-Chairs

To facilitate aspects of Governance Group function, a chair shall be elected.  The term of the Chair shall be one year, followed by one year as Past-Chair. The Past Chair shall serve as a backup when the chair is unable to participate for any period.
The Chair will be elected – by secret ballot of the Group membership – with the Chair-elect  having accumulated the most votes.  In the case of a tie between two members, a second vote will be held until one receives a majority.
Upon completion of a Chair’s term, the Group will hold elections for a new Chair.
The first Governance Group will hold elections for both a Chair and a Past-Chair, with the position of Past-Chair having a term of one year. 

Special procedures for the initial launch of the Group: 

Representatives of the 8 non-federal data submitting groups shall be chosen by an interim group consisting of members from ASTHO, CSTE, NACCHO, and ISDS.  These shall be temporary memberships until elections can be held.  One of the first decisions of this Governance Group shall be to determine when there will be sufficient numbers of data submitters enrolled in BioSense 2.0 to make elections feasible.
The resulting Group will be a Transitional Governing Group.
The Transitional Group will elect Co-Chairs.  These will also be Transitional positions and will expire once Governance Group elections are held and the proper terms of office begin.

Policy Formation by the Governance Group

The BioSense 2.0 Governance Group shall meet, in person or by conference call, on a periodic basis as determined by the Group in order to discuss policy issues surrounding use of and participation in BioSense 2.0.  Meeting frequency should be at least twice per year, but as many meetings may be held as necessary. 

Policies under the purview of the Group include development of the roles and responsibilities for participants in BioSense 2.0.  Policy proposals to be considered by the Governance Group may be suggested by a member of the Group or by other BioSense participants.. If an issue is to be considered by the Governance Group, documents outlining policy proposals will be drafted (facilitated by ASTHO) and supplied to the Group for comment, revision, and, votes for approval, if warranted. 

Voting on Policy

Votes will be held at arranged meetings of the Governance Group (in person or via teleconference). 
In order to assure a voting member of the Governance Group receives sufficient informed input from those they represent, any issues for which a vote is required shall be presented to the Group at least two weeks in advance of any scheduled vote.  
A vote may only proceed when a quorum of at least 60% of the governance group participates.   
Sufficient time will be given to discuss each issue scheduled for a vote prior to the vote itself.   The vote itself will be an open-ballot vote (ie, by show of hands or verbal assent), but will not be recorded unless specifically requested.
Passage of an issue shall require a majority of at least 60% (sixty) percent of votes in the affirmative, however the goal shall always be to strive for consensus. 

Changes to the BioSense 2.0 Governance Charter

Changes to this charter document shall be proposed to the Governance Group by providing the written amendments for the Group to consider.  After sufficient time for discussion and debate, the Group shall vote on the written amendments. 
Participation of all Governance Group members, or appointed substitutes, shall be required for a vote on charter amendments to proceed. 
 Passage of an amendment shall require a vote of 2/3 of the complete membership of the Governance Group in the affirmative. 
Changes to the charter will be reflected in a new draft of this document, with a recording of the date of revision.  An archive will be kept of all official previous versions of this charter.

11 January 2012

ISDS members in the News

ISDS Board Director John Brownstein and ISDS member Rumi Chunara discussed the use of social media to track the outbreak of infectious diseases in a recent CNN Health article entitled "Tracking Infectious Disease on Twitter". Working with HealthMap.org and researchers at Harvard Medical School, Brownstein and Chunara described the results of using Twitter searches to analyze the 2011 cholera outbreak in Haiti.

This research found that the data derived retrospectively from social media outlets, such as Twitter, correlated with health ministry case reports. During specific times of the outbreak, such as the first incident of cholera, the social media data closely reflected the real outbreak. 

John Brownstein discussed the potential of using social media searches as a real-time tool that could influence the type of prevention used in future outbreaks. This type of disease tracking may be particularly useful in resource-poor setting like Haiti, where it is difficult to collect a lot of data early on during outbreaks.

Read the full article on the CNN Health website

BioSense Program Challenge Grant LOI Due 1/13/12

The deadline to submit letters of intent (LOI) for the BioSense Program Challenge Grant is this Friday, January 13th. You may find more information about this project, eligibility, and specific requirements for the LOI by reading the information below taken form the BioSense Community Forum or by reading the pdf document BioSense 2.0: Challenge Grant Opportunity Announcement and Call for Letters of Intent.
The announcement and call for LOI outlines the instructions for the letters of intent as well as the letter template. Using the template provided, the letters should be 1 to 2 pages and include the following information:
1. Barrier or challenge being addressed; 
2. Desired outcomes; 
3. Project approach; 
4. Estimated amount of funding requested; and
5. Period of time required to complete project.
Take advantage of this opportunity to enhance your syndromic surveillance capabilities!
The following is the December 22, 2011 BioSense Community Forum posting found here
Last week, the BioSense Redesign team announced a new Challenge Grant opportunity for the public health community.  In this section, we will share information about the application and review process, and provide updates on an ongoing basis.  
Letter of Intent review and evaluation
The first step in the application process is to submit a Letter of Intent.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)will evaluate the letters of intent to ensure alignment with BioSense Program priorities.  Notification will be provided to all sites and jurisdictions that submit letters of intent. 
Applicants will receive 1 of 3 types of notification:
1)      Invitation to submit a full grant application
2)      Invitation to submit a full grant application with additional guidance to refine project
3)      Rejection notice
Full grant application review and evaluation
Only those applicants who receive an invitation to submit a full grant application are eligible to apply.  Each grant application will be reviewed by 2 independent reviewers and scored against the evaluation criteria provided in the grant application instructions.
Significant differences between scores will be discussed and reconciled at a review meeting.
Final adjusted scores will be produced and award decisions will be made.
  • Challenge Grant Opportunity Announcement and Call for Letters of Intent posted: December 14, 2011
  • Letters of Intent due: January 13, 2012
  • Letter of Intent review period: January 13, 2012 - February 3, 2012
  • Notifications sent to all sites and jurisdictions submitting Letters of Intent: February 6, 2012
  • Period for full Grant Applications closes: March 2, 2012
  • Grant award decisions: March 30, 2012
  • Grant project period ends: no later than March 30, 2013.
More Information

More information about the BioSense Program and BioSense 2.0 is available at: www.biosenseredesign.org or submit questions to info@biosen.se

10 January 2012

2011 ISDS Conference Presentations Now Available

The 2011 ISDS Annual Conference presentation slides are now available on the ISDS website. Follow this link to find the presentations and individual abstracts from the conference presenters: http://www.syndromic.org/annual-conference/2011/Session1

We are still in the process of maintaining approval to share several of the presentations, so check back within the coming weeks for more updates. 

*If you presented at the conference and would like to share your slides on the website, please email aschulte@syndromic.org with a copy of your presentation.