29 August 2014

Participate in the 2014 ISDS Pre-Conference Trainings

Date: December 9, 2014
Location: Hyatt Regency at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, PA
Registration Information

The ISDS Pre-Conference Trainings are community-generated, professional development trainings designed to address the professional needs of the biosurveillance workforce, and take place in coordination with the annual ISDS conference. This year, the four trainings (overview of each below) will take place on December 9th - the day prior to the two-day 2014 ISDS Conference

Track 1: Biosurveillance for Beginners
Description: This training will provide exposure to key topics central to biosurveillance and serve to orient those who are new to the field. The objective of Track 1 is to "bridge the knowledge gap" to enable participants to better understand and apply public health data for informed and meaningful decision-making and to communicate outcomes or results. It includes an overview of biosurveillance, as well as demonstrations of the integration of novel data sources (emergency department chief complaints, emergency medical services, school absenteeism, and poison control center calls) with syndromic surveillance systems and their application in daily biosurveillance practice. Track 1 is being developed based on feedback from participants who attended the 2013 ISDS Pre-Conference Workshops; therefore, it is sure to be a high quality training opportunity relevant to the practical needs of those who are new to biosurveillance. 

Track 2: Biosurveillance and Policy Issues for Experts
Description: This training will provide experienced biosurveillance professionals with a forum for learning about and discussing current topics and policies essential to biosurveillance, as well as an opportunity to collaborate with other experts in the field to develop practical, concrete products and tools. It will include panel discussions on natural disaster surveillance and the OneHealth initiative, as well as a plenary roundtable session on the "Meaningful Use"* of electronic health data. In addition, the track will feature breakout sessions to discuss current policy topics, such as ICD-10, data sharing, animal surveillance, and chronic disease surveillance. Ultimately, this training 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 training within the participants' organizations. *Meaningful USe refers to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHRs) INcentive Programs, a major component of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act within the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) legislation. LEARN MORE

Track 3: Introduction to R for Biosurveillance
Description: The public health workforce (public health practitioners, healthcare providers, and academicians in research settings) require data, as well as analysis and visualization of that data, to enable and provide informed decision-making, whether clinically-based or policy-based. Continued budgetary restrictions and funding cuts have somewhat hindered the ability to purchase commercial products and applications; therefore, public health has a strong need for exposure to and training with open-source products and tools for data collection, analysis, and visualization. R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics (http://www.r-project.org/). It provides a variety of statistical and graphical techniques and is extensible. As an open-source product, R is freely available, making it optimal for use in a variety of settings. This Training is a hands-on introduction to R for epidemiology, biosurveillance, and high-quality data visualizations. 

Track 4: Mapping and Biosurveillance: Using ArcGIS
Description: Advances in geographical information systems (GIS) and mapping technologies have created exciting new opportunities for public health professionals to collect, analyze, display, and share multiple types of data and information. Biosurveillance has benefited greatly from these tools and continues to be enhanced as more individuals lear the nuances of GIS. ArcGIS, the mapping software developed by ESRI, has become the industry standard and is used in most public health departments in the U.S. This session will provide an introduction and focused examples of how the ArcGIS platform can be used for biosurveillance. Topics covered include: introduction to ArcGIS Online; introduction to Esri Maps for Office and integration of Esri Maps for Office and ArcGIS Online; an introduction to Community Analyst/Business Analyst. There will be a didactic session for each topic, followed by a hands-on session to apply the skills learned. Typical geocoded tabular health data will be provided for the hands-on sessions.  

For more information, please visit the webpage.

21 August 2014

Award for Outstanding Student Abstract - Now Accepting Applications!

Deadline to Apply: September 3, 2014

Description and Purpose of Award
The 'Award for Outstanding Student Abstract' opportunity was developed and is coordinated by the ISDS Research Committee. The purpose of the Award is to recognize the exemplary work being done by students in the field of biosurveillance.

Two students are selected (see decision section below) and awarded:
  • An oral presentation slot to disseminate their innovative work in one of the conference disciplines (see descriptions)
  • Certificate of achievement
  • Recognition on 2014 ISDS Conference materials, as well as at the Conference
  • Waived Pre-Conference Training (December 9) and Conference (December 10-11) registration
  • 3 nights at the Hyatt Regency at Penn's Landing

Eligibility Criteria
In order to be considered for an ISDS 'Award for Outstanding Student Abstract,' you must be:
  • Enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or equivalent program in a surveillance-related field (e.g. epidemiology, informatics, statistics).
  • An ISDS member (Student rate: $30 - if you are not currently a member, you may join here).

Application Process (Deadline September 3, 2014)
During the application process, applicants are asked to:
  1. Submit an abstract for the 2014 ISDS Conference in any 'Discipline.'
  2. Complete the online application, which will be reviewed by an 'Award Committee.'
    1. Name, address, school, and program.
    2. Proof of student standing – a scanned copy of your unofficial transcript and student ID (transcript will only be used to confirm eligibility and will NOT be a factored into the award decision).
    3. Short statement about financial need, how information learned at the 2014 ISDS Conference will benefit you, and how this information will benefit your academic community (no more than 500 words).

Award decisions are based on:
  • Quality of abstract submitted
  • Innovation of work described in the abstract
  • Applicant's personal statement

19 August 2014

Now Accepting Applications to Present during the 2014 ISDS Swap Meet - a Part of the 2014 ISDS Conference

Interested in presenting a system demonstration? Or are you an expert on a topic, tool, project, or opportunity of interest to the public health surveillance community? If so, apply to present at the 2014 ISDS Swap Meet! The Swap Meet is a session associated with ISDS's annual conference that provides an exciting opportunity for pre-conference and conference attendees to informally discuss particular topics or systems with system developers, system users, and experts. Past Swap Meet presentations include: ESSENCE, Data Quality Emporium, HealthMap, Applied Public Health Informatics Fellowship, Meaningful Use, among others.

The 2014 Swap Meet is scheduled for December 9th, 4:30 - 6:30pm EST (time subject to change) at the Hyatt Regency at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, PA, USA. If you are interested in presenting, please complete this form by October 14, 2014 (11:59pm EDT) in order to apply for a table. Unfortunately, space is limited and we may not be able to accept all applications received. We will inform all applicants of the status of their application by October 17, 2014.

We are also currently accepting abstracts for presentation at the 2014 ISDS Conference, learn more here.

*NOTE: Commercial vendors are welcome to apply for a Swap Meet table; however, should your application be accepted, there will be a $200 fee to participate. We encourage commercial vendors to consider exhibiting at the 2014 ISDS Conference, as this provides more exposure and more opportunities to interact with ISDS Conference participants (learn more about sponsor/exhibitor opportunities).

13 August 2014

Now Accepting Nominations for the 2014 Rick Heffernan Award for Public Health Practice

The Award
The ISDS Award Committee is soliciting nominations for the Rick Heffernan Award for "sustained and outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of biosurveillance." This annual 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.
heffernanRick was committed to his career as a dedicated public servant in the field of epidemiology. He was a strong, gentle, and exemplary leader who will be remembered as a trusted friend, a deeply valued colleague, and one who was always calm in a crisis. He graduated in 1992 from Columbia University, School of Public Health/School of International Affairs in New York, NY with a Master of Public Health and a Master of International Affairs. From 1992 to 1996 he worked for the New York City Department of Health, first as a Public Health Epidemiologist conducting HIV research and then as Assistant Director of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases. He set up the first Health Alert system to enable the NYC Department of Health to provide timely information to city healthcare providers on breaking public health emergencies. From 1996 to 2001 he was a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, completing all coursework and conducting research on drug resistant infections. During this time he spent a year studying the Ebola virus antibody in northeastern Gabon. In the wake of 9/11, Rick rejoined the NYC Department of Health and was critical to the Department's response to the World Trade Center and anthrax letter terrorist attacks. One of his major accomplishments was establishing one of the first electronic emergency department syndromic surveillance systems in the country. He also led the effort to develop the Communicable Disease Surveillance System, improving the city's capacity to track over 70 infectious diseases. After moving to Madison, WI in 2007 with his family, he continued his work helping to detect, prevent and manage threats to public health, taking the position of Chief Research Scientist Supervisor for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Communicable Disease Epidemiology Section. He was an author of numerous scientific journal articles, a board member of the International Society of Disease Surveillance, taught workshops on syndromic surveillance for the annual ISDS conference, and gave numerous presentations in his field of expertise. Since 2007 he served as Associate Faculty at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, and previously served as Adjunct Lecturer for graduate-level courses at Yale University, Division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases and at City University of New York, Hunter School of Health Sciences. Rick was also a talented musician and athlete. He was profoundly loved by many, who will miss his warmth and gentleness, his delightful sense of humor, and his big smile.
The award for 2014 will be presented at the ISDS Conference in Philadelphia, PA, December 10-11, 2014.
Any current or former ISDS member may be nominated by a colleague (no self-nominations please). Nominations should be prepared containing the following:
  1. A cover letter from the primary nominator up to one page in length, that describes the major contributions of the nominee to the practice of biosurveillance and her/his impact on the field.
  2. A brief curriculum vitae or biographical sketch of the nominee (up to three pages).
  3. Optional: Up to two letters, of a maximum of two pages in length each, supporting the nomination, from others familiar with the contributions of the nominee. These support letters should describe in specific terms how the nominee has made sustained and outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of biosurveillance. 
Nominations should be submitted through this online form. The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2014 Rick Heffernan Award is September 5, 2014 (11:59pm EDT).
If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail syndromic@syndromic.org.

08 August 2014

New Community of Practice for Leveraging Federal Financial Participation (FFP) for Medicaid HIT Activities

Dear Colleagues,

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is starting a new Community of Practice (CoP) focused on leveraging Federal financial participation (FFP), including the 90 percent FFP State administrative match (a.k.a. 90/10) for Medicaid Health Information Technology (HIT) activities.  The proposed participants in this CoP will include representatives from public health agencies (e.g., MU Coordinators, HIT Coordinators) and national public health associations.

The CoP will provide a collaborative forum for public health agencies to:
  • Identify common barriers and challenges to obtaining FFP for public health related HIT activities
  • Share successful models and approaches used to obtain FFP
  • Establish best practices to identify  and coordinate intra-agency initiatives and projects that may qualify for funding
  • Develop  guidance for HIT Implementation Advance Planning Documents (IAPD)
  • Identify key aspects for successful communications and planning with State Medicaid agencies

The initial virtual meeting to launch this CoP is scheduled for Friday August 22, 2014.

Date: Friday August 22, 2014
Time: 2:00–3:00 pm ET / 1:00-2:00 pm CT / noon–1:00 pm MT / 11:00 am–noon PT

The plan is to establish a steering committee for this CoP, form workgroups as needed to focus on specific issues and tasks, and hold recurring meetings for all CoP members. Based on inputs gathered during this initial meeting, a schedule for future meetings will be finalized to allow participants to work collaboratively towards achieving the desired goals and creating value for public health agencies.  In addition, this CoP will work collaboratively or share regular updates with other groups or national public health associations already working or planning to work on this important subject.

If you are interested in joining this initiative, please follow the instruction below to register for this virtual meeting.  If you have any questions about this CoP or problems registering, please contact us at: meaningfuluse@cdc.gov.

Registration Instructions
GoToWebinar will now be used for the CoP virtual meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. The invitation will include a link to add the currently schedules meetings to your calendar.

If you have not used GoToWebinar before, you are advised to test your connectivity prior to the meeting by following the instructions provided below

GoToWebinar System Requirements and Connectivity Test Information


Meaningful Use Communications
Office of Public Health Scientific Services (OPHSS)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention