25 October 2013

Interested in Environmental Health? Register for the Tenth "One Medicine" Symposium!

Date: December 12, 2013
Place: Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center, Durham, North Carolina

Pesticides from All Sides: A One Medicine Approach to Pesticides
A conference for physicians, nurses, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, public health professionals, environmental health specialists, agriculture professionals, wildlife professionals, and federal, military, state and local government partners.

This year, the Tenth One Medicine Symposium program will focus on the history, regulation, current uses, and impact of pesticides related to human, animal, and environmental health. The program is designed to encourage human, animal, and environmental health professionals to come together to improve awareness and understanding of the topics from a One Medicine perspective and to foster objective, intellectual discussion across disciplines. 

Conference Objectives
  • Describe the history, regulation, and current status of pesticide use as it relates to people, animals, agriculture, and the environment.
  • Describe the intended and unintended effects of pesticides on humans, animals, and the environment.
  • Discuss how the “One Medicine” concept of close cooperation between the human, animal, and environmental health disciplines relates to the uses and effects of pesticides.

For more information including registration details, visit www.onemedicinenc.org or call 919.515.2261.

18 October 2013

Fridays from the Archives: Twitter Data

Did you know that there's a whole archive of past ISDS webinars, easily accessible and searchable by key terms? My new bi-weekly series, Fridays from the Archives, will select one webinar from the ISDS vault and summarize its content.

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Friday, October 18, 2013: Twitter Data

This morning on the bus I found myself mindlessly scrolling through my twitter feed, inspiring my first Fridays from the Archives keyword search of "twitter data". That brought me to the June 28, 2012 webinar, "Application and Visualization of Twitter Data for Disease Surveillance". Presented by Courtney Corley (US), Marcel Salathe (US), and Mark Cameron (Australia), this webinar looked at a variety of details that are integral to effective surveillance using twitter.

In particular, the presentations focused on:

  • Filtering and processing;
  • Analysis; and
  • Presentation of findings.

For me, the highlight of this webinar was seeing the myriad and differing ways in which twitter data was utilized by the three presenters. For instance, Mark Cameron's presentation notes twitter's use in surveillance of the February 2009 Victorian bushfires, whereas Courtney Corley summarized the importance of understanding twitter's unique terminology and presenting data visualizations. Finally, Marcel Salathe described how you can use twitter data as part of a health behavior assessment.

If you're interested in twitter, crowd sourcing, or social media in general, this webinar will provide you with ideas for effectively using new data sources without ignoring potential drawbacks of social media data.

A video recording of the full presentation and copies of the slides are available in the ISDS Webinar Archive (http://www.syndromic.org/component/content/article/29/218).

I hope you've enjoyed this first installment of Fridays from the Archives. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for improving this series!

Written by Becky Zwickl, MPH, ISDS Public Health Analyst (bzwickl@syndromic.org)

17 October 2013

2013 ISDS Award for Outstanding Student Abstract: Awardees

The ISDS Research Committee developed the Award for Outstanding Student Abstract in order to recognize the exemplary work being done by students in the field of biosurveillance.

ISDS is please to announce the 2013 Awardees:
Katherine Harmon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the abstract ‘Utilization of Emergency Department Data for Drug Overdose Surveillance in North Carolina.’

Abstract Summary: The United States is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic, primarily due to opioid analgesics. Emergency department data are an important source of morbidity data for public health surveillance. This population-based study will describe visits to North Carolina emergency departments for drug, and more specifically, opioid overdoses.

Mollie Kotzen, New York University for the abstract ‘Using Syndromic Surveillance to Investigate Tattoo-related Skin Infections in NYC.’
Abstract Summary: Mycobacterium chelonae is not reportable in NYC. To investigate tattoo-associated M. chelonae infections, we used NYC ED syndromic surveillance for case finding and trend analysis. No significant trend emerged from 5 years of ED surveillance data. Thirty-one ED visits for tattoo complications were identified in the five-month period preceding a reported case of M. chelonae. Fourteen patients were interviewed, and were suspected or confirmed with M. chelonae. Syndromic surveillance is an option for case finding when the event under surveillance is described by a unique and specific word or phrase, such as tattoo.

They will present their work at the 2013 ISDS Conference in December.

For more information about the award, please visit the Award webpage.

09 October 2013

2013 Rick Heffernan Award for Public Health Practice Announced: Don Olson

ISDS is pleased to announce that the winner of the first annual Rick Heffernan Award for Public Health Practice is Don Olson. The award was established to honor Rick Heffernan, an early leader in the field of biosurveillance, and founding member and constant supporter of ISDS, who passed away in February 2013. Don has been named this year’s awardee in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of biosurveillance. Don has continuously pursued an innovative research agenda that has directly contributed to improving the practice of public health surveillance. His leadership on the DiSTRIBuTE project solidified the ISDS "community of practice," and helped establish the value of a surveillance system that spans jurisdictions. Don has emulated Rick’s support, energy, and enthusiasm for promoting the concept of, and the science behind, distributed surveillance.

Learn more about the Rick Heffernan Award for Public Health Practice here.

04 October 2013

Newly available Stage 2 Meaningful Use Documents

The Stage 2 Meaningful Use Public Health (PH) Reporting Requirements Task Force recently posted helpful resources for Meaningful Use Stage 2 to the PH connect public landing page. These resources, which include Version 2.0 of the Stage 2 MU Public Health Agency (PHA) Readiness Guidance and Stage 2 MU Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), provide important information for anyone who is preparing to implement Meaningful Use requirements.

To access the Resource page: http://www.phconnect.org/group/ph-reporting-task-force

02 October 2013

Highlight 2013 ISDS Pre-Conference Workshop: Public Health Surveillance and Policy Issues for Experts

Date: December 11, 2013
Location: Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
The Pre-Conference Workshops are professional development trainings that take place in coordination with the annual ISDS conference. These community-generated workshops are developed to address the professional needs of the disease surveillance workforce. This year, there are four training options, with ‘Track 2: Public Health Surveillance and Policy Issues for Experts’ featured below.
This Workshop will provide experienced public health surveillance professionals with a forum for learning and discussing current topics and policies essential to public health surveillance and an opportunity to collaborate with other experts in the field to develop practical, concrete products and tools. It will include the following: a panel discussion on non-communicable disease surveillance; a series of roundtable discussions, including disaster surveillance/mass gathering response; a follow-up discussion from the 2012 ISDS Conference on (re)defining situational awareness; and break-out sessions to discuss and summarize current policy topics, such as Meaningful Use (U.S.), International Health Regulations (2005), and data sharing. Ultimately, this Workshop is intended to leverage the collective expertise of the group to advance participants' understanding and practice and to allow for a high-quality and seamless translation of the knowledge gained in the Workshop within the participants' organizations.
Learn more about the 2013 ISDS Workshops.