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Notice to Readers: National Syndromic Surveillance Conference and Workshop

The National Syndromic Surveillance Conference will be held October 23--24, 2003, at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City. The conference is sponsored by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the New York Academy of Medicine, and CDC with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A workshop for public health practitioners at state and local health departments will be conducted during October 20--22. The workshop will be a hands-on opportunity to learn the New York City syndromic surveillance system and the SaTScan software.

Bioterrorism events have highlighted the need for improved public health surveillance systems to detect outbreaks. Systems using real-time electronic surveillance of nonspecific disease indicators (i.e., syndromic surveillance) might provide early warning of large outbreaks, whether intentional or occurring naturally. The conference will provide public, private, and academic entities with a forum to evaluate syndromic surveillance critically and will assist public health entities in defining their needs and priorities. Posters and presentations will define the goals and objectives of syndromic surveillance and describe the evaluation of systems, findings from model operational systems, national resources under development, and discuss the usefulness of syndromic surveillance. Work in research and development and lessons from public health practice will be discussed in concurrent sessions. In the research session, aberration detection algorithms, the use of simulated data sets, and syndrome coding will be discussed. In the practitioner session, presenters will describe their experiences and challenges, how they have managed relations with data providers, and signal investigation.

Registration and information are available at http://www.nyam.org/events/syndromicconference. Deadlines are September 15 to submit abstracts for the poster session or for oral presentations and October 6 to register online. Additional information is available by e-mail, ssc@nyam.org, by telephone, 212-822-7303, or by fax, 212-987-4735.

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