Krystal Collier, BA is the Program Project Specialist of the Electronic Disease Surveillance Program at the Arizona Department of Health Services, and is the Chair of the NSSP Steering Committee. We asked her a few questions about her career and interests so you could get to know her. Here are her answers.
What do you do?
Currently I am the Program Project Specialist II for our Electronic Disease Surveillance Program, which consists of our Syndromic Surveillance and Electronic Laboratory Teams, at the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). I also answer questions for our agency’s Meaningful Use Helpdesk. I have been in this role for almost 5 years now. For the Community of Practice, I am co-chair of the Data Quality Committee and member of the Steering Committee.
Who or what inspires you professionally?
What inspires me professionally is knowing that I can help someone. No matter what role I have been in working directly with patients to working with data from their visit, trying to help is always at the core of what I do. I have spent much of my professional life coordinating, facilitating, organizing, tracking activities and events. All of these things have taught me how important it is to listen for the question because there is always a gem behind it. These gems are where I find what I do, makes a difference for someone else and motivates me to work harder. My favorite questions that I have received since I began working in the world of syndromic surveillance are “what is it and how do you use it?” The gems and opportunities that follow these questions are why I wanted to be a Steering Committee member.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement (related to disease surveillance)?
I think the work our team did, to host the ISDS and Defense Threat Reduction Agency Consultancy on Assessing Risk for Emerging Arboviral Surveillance in Arizona last summer is a top contender. The amount of energy and resources we devoted to make this consultancy happen was an accomplishment I was truly proud to be a part of. The types of connections and forward thinking that took place during the actual consultancy is something I have never experienced in my almost five years of working in public health. If there was anything I could wish for in the future, it is to have more discussions like this that can be put into action.
What is the biggest issue in disease surveillance (in your opinion)?
Over the years I have seen challenges with communicating the value of syndromic surveillance and especially as it relates to all the effort involved in the electronic transmission of data to public health. This has been a huge driver for me to become more engaged with the Community of Practice and also with the partners coming from various backgrounds I interact with in Arizona. There is so much potential in what we can do with our syndromic data that through my previous position as the Co-Chair of the Data Quality Committee and being Chair of the Steering Committee, I will do my best to get the message out about the incredible work being done here!
What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I am a papercrafter and love making handmade cards!