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Call for Abstracts 2018
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Please note this is historical information about a previous year's conference.

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Abstract submissions are now closed.

To participate as a reviewer, please create an account on our submission website. Click Here. Be certain to indicate both your areas of expertise and your willingness to review abstracts in the appropriate fields when you create your record.. You will be contacted shortly with instructions and have abstracts assigned to you. Thank you for volunteering to review abstracts!


The 16th Annual International Society for Disease Surveillance Conference, in Orlando, Florida, USA, January 31st to February 2nd, 2018, will bring together thought-leaders and researchers from public health, academia, government, nongovernmental agencies, industry and similar stakeholders from the public and private sectors. The Scientific Program Committee invites you to submit an abstract for the 2018 Conference.


ISDS is dedicated to the improvement of population health by advancing the science and practice of disease surveillance. We encourage submissions that address this year's conference theme - "Global Health Today and Tomorrow: Policy Options and Scientific Solutions"


Abstracts that focus on multiple aspects of disease surveillance, including the timely reporting of information on infectious or chronic disease, or injury, to support population health monitoring and response are welcomed. Scientific abstracts that focus on novel surveillance use cases, data sources, use of “big data” or machine learning, methodologies for event detection, characterization or alerting, tools for managing surveillance processes, global health security challenges, use of surveillance information for strengthening health security, and implementation/improvement of surveillance programs at the policy level are encouraged.

Tracks: Abstracts will be accepted to the following tracks:

  • Methods and Science in Surveillance,
  • Informatics,
  • Policy,
  • One Health and Health Security, and
  • Public/Population Health Surveillance Practice.

Presentation Types: We invite submissions for oral, poster, panel, roundtable, and lightning talks.

Publication: Abstracts accepted for presentation at the 2018 ISDS Conference will be published in a special supplement of the Online Journal of Public Health Informatics.

Key Dates: Abstract Submission Deadline: October 13, 2017, Author Notification: November 10, 2017.

Additional Support and Information: For questions concerning your abstract submission, contact Mark Krumm 617-779-0886

ISDS Conference Tracks

Each submitter will be asked to assign their abstract to one of the following tracks. While the tracks are designed to be distinct, there may be some natural overlap between tracks. Therefore, we encourage submitters to use their best judgment when classifying their submissions.

Methods and Science in Surveillance

This track is focused on methodological advances in the field of public health surveillance or applied epidemiology. Novel methods for analyzing data within surveillance systems are sought. This track also seeks results from the evaluation of surveillance systems or their components. Abstracts in this category may describe methods used in practice, still under development, or which have been tested only in a research setting. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

Evaluation of a surveillance system used for monitoring the health of a jurisdiction

New or improved syndrome definitions for use within a surveillance system

Advanced techniques, components or methods for improving surveillance

Novel surveillance systems developed or deployed in the field.


Informatics studies and pursues the effective uses of data, information, and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem solving and decision-making. We invite abstracts that focus on one or more of the following:

Linking disparate and/or unstructured data or information across a variety of sources

Monitoring or improving the quality of data or information captured by surveillance systems

Technologies that connect health departments/agencies to one another or with health care delivery facilities to enable data sharing or coordination of care

Advanced visualization of large datasets or information streams to assist surveillance

Machine learning approaches to detect disease cases to enhance reporting or analysis of surveillance data

Data standards, specifications and formats to support disease surveillance and informatics

Querying across networks of databases or data sources to identify information about populations, disease cases, or social determinants of health

Improvements to predication, forecasting and visualization methodology for public health surveillance.


Policy at local, state, federal, international levels all play a role in surveillance. We encourage abstracts on lessons learned from the implementation of policies; governance of surveillance data collection, management or usage; or approaches for using surveillance systems and data to inform health and/or public health policy. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

Funding programs to support data collection or surveillance capacity building

Reporting requirements for health care providers or facility types

Use of surveillance data to inform policies regarding health facility planning, nutrition programs, transportation, built environment, etc.

Governance of multi-state or regional data sharing to facilitate surveillance.

One Health and Health Security

One Health recognizes that the human health is connected to animal health, plants, and the environment; health security seeks to create a world safe and secure from global health threats. Example of topics for abstracts may include but are not limited to the following:

Implementation of capacity building program within a ministry

Evaluation of the functional core capacity framework

Future directions and innovations in public health that improve response to major health events

Guidance for healthcare organizations planning to cope with mass casualty crises

Initiatives or concepts intended to reduce agricultural vulnerabilities

How environmental or veterinary surveillance is used to inform human health.

Public/Population Health Surveillance Practice

This track is focused on lessons and outcomes associated with day-to-day practice of surveillance, outbreak investigation, management, and response. Abstracts in this track can describe projects, collaborations, methods, techniques, processes, and systems that support and/or advance daily surveillance operations within and across health agencies. Examples of topics for abstracts may include but are not limited to the following:

Redesigned work processes for epidemiologists or disease investigators

Results of an outbreak investigation within a jurisdiction

Comparison of different tools or methods for adoption by a health department

Lessons learned from the adoption of novel tools or methods by a health department

Specification of surveillance targets for newly emerging or reemerging diseases

Regional or national collaborations designed to support surveillance across jurisdictions

Efforts to coordinate preparedness for or response to an outbreak with multiple governmental agencies and/or non-governmental organizations. 

Presentation Types


Oral presentations will be allotted 15 minutes, followed by 5 minutes for questions. Oral presentations are the preferred format for presenting results from an evaluation of a surveillance system, method or approach, or evidence of change following the introduction of a surveillance practice.


Posters are the preferred format for presenting preliminary research and results of small-scale studies, describing experimental projects/programs or works-in-progress, and reporting system descriptions.


Panel presentations are the preferred format for deeper discussions of an issue or question. Panels should focus on a central topic with 3-4 speakers offering unique but complementary views on a given topic. Each panelist should speak for no more than 10-12 minutes allowing time for questions and discussion with the audience.


The goal of a roundtable is to encourage discussion rather than be a presentation/didactic session. The leader should be a knowledgeable and engaging person who can help stimulate a lively discussion.

Lightning Talk

Lightning sessions are designed to facilitate the speedy sharing of recent research, theory, publications, works-in-progress, projects, applications, or experiences pertaining to any aspect of the science or practice of surveillance. Each speaker has just five minutes for their talk and must prepare pre-timed slides that cannot be advanced by the speaker. There will be no planned time for questions at these sessions. (Please note that final slides with your timing built in must be emailed to ISDS prior to the conference. Full details will be provided to Lightning presenters.)

Basic Submission Guidelines

We've assembled some of the more common questions about abstract submission on our Abstract Tips page.

Key Dates

Abstract Submission Deadline: September 29, 2017 Extended: October 13, 2017, Midnight, Eastern Time

Author Acceptance Notification: November 10, 2017

Abstract Awards

The Award for Outstanding Student or Post-Degree Abstract is currently live. Visit the Award page to download the Award flyer and to find more information about the requirements and review process.

Abstract Submission Deadline: September 29, 2017 Extended: October 13, 2017, Midnight, Eastern Time

Student Application Deadline: October 27, 2017

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