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Swap Meet
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One of the most popular and unique events at the ISDS Conference is the Swap Meet, held from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM on the evening of January 31st. It's your opportunity to share your knowledge and visit practitioners and vendors who share their knowledge in an informal and lively setting.

Here are the participants in this year's event

Johns Hopkins APL ESSENCE and SAGES, Miles Steward

Demonstrations of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) developed electronic disease surveillance systems ESSENCE (Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics) and SAGES (Suite for Automated Global Electronic bioSurveillance). ESSENCE uses a secure web-based tool to conduct disease surveillance for the purpose of timely detection, situational awareness, and descriptive epidemiologic analysis of baseline disease patterns and outbreaks. ESSENCE has been implemented in the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and regional public health agencies across the US. SAGES is a collection of modular, flexible, freely-available software tools for electronic disease surveillance in resource-limited settings. One or more SAGES tools may be used in concert with existing surveillance applications or the SAGES tools may be used en masse for an end-to-end biosurveillance capability, allowing for the implementation of an inexpensive, customized, and sustainable disease surveillance system. The ability to rapidly assess anomalous disease activity, particularly emerging diseases, may lead to more efficient use of limited resources and better alignment with World Health Organization International Health Regulations and the Global Health Security Agenda.

FirstWatch, Todd Stout and Sylvia Verdugo

Mining EMS Data for Opioid Overdoses and other public health purposes. Please visit Silvia R. Verdugo, MD, MPH and Todd Stout of FirstWatch, to learn their recommendations for mining Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data to find opioid overdoses using approaches ranging from highly sensitive to very specific, depending on the need. These approaches are intended to be used by any EMS or public health agency as a starting point, or to inform their own opioid surveillance. Additionally, Silvia and Todd are happy to share their experience and suggestions for using EMS data for other public health purposes. FirstWatch, a longtime partner with ISDS, has focused for 20 years on emergency medical services (EMS) data surveillance for public health and other purposes. EMS data (call taking, dispatch, electronic patient care records) is rich in information, but notoriously non-standardized. FirstWatch will be sharing their lessons-learned and current best practices for mining EMS data.

Developing Surveillance Networking Spaces with Support from Agency Leadership: Empowering Surveillance Staff to Effectively Inform Public Health ActionSophia Anyatonwu


The purpose of this workshop is to demonstrate how networking spaces within an agency can help staff exchange best practices for collecting, analyzing, and sharing data that is useful for public health action. 

Attendees will be able to communicate why support from agency leaders is essential for designing networking spaces that build surveillance capacity across an agency prior to a disaster or other public health response
Attendees will understand why it is important for surveillance staff to have a shared, baseline skill  set that can be assessed and utilized before and during a public health response
Attendees will be able to communicate the benefits of having agency leaders adopt a few tools that can be easily utilized during a public health event by the majority of surveillance staff in an agency
Attendees will be empowered to design networking spaces that enable them to share surveillance tips and tricks, develop just-in-time databases, and gain better insight into the purpose of collecting data during a public health response

Research Committee (RC), Howard Burkom

The Research Committee promotes research in advanced disease surveillance with a variety of activities serving the professional and educational needs of society members.

Activities Summary:

Committee activities include webinars covering analytics, public health/epidemiology, informatics, and policy topics; a weekly scan of new related journal articles; an updated list of priorities for the global research communities; awards for outstanding publications and student abstracts; and initiation of new workgroups such as the R group for disease surveillance and Analytic Solutions Committee.

Current Activities:

  • Organizing, conducting webinars for the research community
  • Coordinating programs with literature review, awards, R, One Health, analytic solutions groups
  • Updating global research priorities

National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP), Michael Coletta

NSSP will highlight some new and interesting activities to include:

1.     Work to find practical ways to sort through statistical noise in syndromic data and make use of alerts most likely to have public health importance

2.     Useful and interesting RStudio Projects that take advantage of the ESSENCE API

3.     Prototypes of our data quality dashboards

Chronic Disease & Oral Health Surveillance, Amy Ising

The ISDS Knowledge Repository (https://www.surveillancerepository.org) includes several examples of chronic disease surveillance efforts and exploratory projects conducted both in the United States and globally but, to date, there has not been a concerted effort to develop an ISDS group focused on chronic disease surveillance. The purpose of this swap meet table is to gather information from conference participants on their chronic disease surveillance efforts via informal conversations as well as a brief Web-based survey. The findings will be used to identify potential opportunities for sharing chronic disease surveillance approaches, especially those leveraging syndromic surveillance systems, and to identify the potential benefits of establishing a workgroup or committee to share ideas and efforts on an ongoing basis. Chronic disease surveillance areas of interest include, but are not limited to, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We are also interested in collecting approaches to oral health surveillance as complaints for non-traumatic dental conditions can represent a relatively high proportion of emergency department visits in the United States (2-3% of ED visits).

Syndrome Definition Committee (SDC), Rasneet Kumar and Zach Stein

The purpose of the table is to connect with members of the CoP on committee activities and share committee products such as the How to Create Syndrome Guidance Document Draft.

Data Quality Committee Syndrome Definition Committee (SDC), Elyse Kadokura

Our mission is to engage the syndromic Community of Practice to identify and address syndromic data quality issues and concerns through thoughtful discussion and the inclusion of outside stakeholders. We strive to foster relationships between all groups with a hand in syndromic messaging in order to better syndromic surveillance practice for everyone. Activity Highlights

  • Monthly webinars where we cover data quality related topics and activities identified through other community discussions, forum activity, or communications with committee chairs
  • Serve as platform for communications between syndromic Community of Practice, EHR vendor representatives, and NSSP team
  • Open mic discussions where community members bring current concerns/issues to the group

Why Participate? The DQC is a great way to group brainstorm DQ issues you might be experiencing or to get feedback on how to approach a problem. We often have more leverage asking for resolutions from EHR vendors as a group than by ourselves.

Syndromic Surveillance and Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery Resource & Practice Exchange (SPHERR), William Smith

The Syndromic Surveillance and Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery (SPHERR) swap-meet session will feature interactive polls regarding how the top questions of emergency managers can be addressed using Syndromic Surveillance (SyS) data, and present strategies for integrating SyS information into all phases of emergency management. NSSP’s SPHERR Committee has worked to identify gaps, potential best practices, document use cases, and identify tools for integration of SyS data in emergency management activities. A list of resources for using SyS to address hazards, vulnerabilities and threats (organized by emergency management phase; preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation) will be available. Additional resources will be available, for discussion.

Technical Committee, Natasha Close

A description for this Swap Table will be coming soon. Be sure to stop back by!

NSSP CoP Steering Committee, Emilie Lamb

Come visit the NSSP CoP Steering Committee Table at the Swap meet to learn more about the NSSP Community of Practice and VOTE on our future projects for 2019.

Thank you for participating in the Swap Meet. For questions, please contact Mark Krumm.

Contact Us


288 Grove St, Box 203
Braintree, MA 02184
(617) 779 - 0880
Email: syndromic@syndromic.org


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