Rosa Ergas is the Syndromic Surveillance Coordinator and Epidemiologist at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and is a member 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.
How did you first learn about disease surveillance and when did you decide that it was an area of interest for you?
I had the classic introduction to epidemiology during my first day on campus as a new MPH student when our program director told us the story of John Snow’s maps, the removal of the pump handle, and the dramatic drop off in cholera cases. I was sold.
What do you do?
I manage the Massachusetts implementation of NSSP ESSENCE.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy working with a variety of programmatic epidemiologist about how to use syndromic surveillance data to bring a unique look at their surveillance needs, beyond the use of these data provide the same information faster.
Who or what inspires you professionally?
The field of public health is inspiring to me; I have so many smart and creative colleagues who at all stages of their careers devote their talents to improving the health of all people.
How long have you been involved with ISDS? Why are you an ISDS member?
I have been involved directly with ISDS as a member since taking on my role as Syndromic Surveillance Coordinator five years ago. It quickly became clear to me that ISDS was at the hub of the many organizations and processes working together to advance the science and practice of syndromic surveillance and a great resource for learning about the field, connecting with colleagues nationally and internationally, and getting involved.
What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
People might be surprised to learn that I was a professional bus and truck driver in college.
If you were not an epidemiologist, what would you be?
I would be a children’s author.