Increasing Data Sharing through Program Collaboration: Creating a PCSI Data Advisory Committee

PCSI Success Stories

Strengthening Collaboration and Service Integration in New York City

The New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) collects, analyzes, and disseminates surveillance data for one of the largest and most diverse cities in the world. In much of the United States, and in NYC, health departments maintain separate surveillance databases for single diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) or groups of diseases like STDs. The NYC DOHMH, with funding from CDC’s Program Collaboration and Service Integration (PCSI) initiative, formed a data advisory committee to foster collaboration between surveillance programs and increase data sharing across disease areas with the goal of improving public health outcomes.

Needs Assessment

“We have learned about other programs’ data collection and management procedures, and data security protocols, and been able to share how ours differ – and ultimately engage in interesting discussions about harmonization across programs.” – Sarah Braunstein, PhD, MPH, Interim Director, HIV/AIDS Epidemiology & Field Services, Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control

In 2011, during the first year of the PCSI demonstration grant, the PCSI Coordinator and Analyst conducted a needs assessment to identify challenges to and opportunities for program collaboration and services integration in NYC. The assessment covered two primary areas: the epidemiology of HIV, STDs, TB, and viral hepatitis and the current state of program collaboration and service integration across the four disease areas. One of the major findings from the needs assessment was that surveillance programs needed a forum in which to work on cross-cutting projects.

Data Advisory Committee

In June 2011, the PCSI Data Advisory Committee (DAC) was formed and brought together leaders of the STD, HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis surveillance programs to work collaboratively on data sharing projects. The DAC also includes representatives from the HIV Care, Treatment and Housing Program; the Division of Informatics & Information Technology (DIIT); the General Counsel’s Office; and the Office of the Commissioner. The Committee is coordinated by the PCSI Analyst and meets monthly to discuss and guide PCSI-related data sharing activities.

These meetings provide an ongoing opportunity for Committee members to address data- related topics and cross-cutting activities managed by PCSI staff. Since its inception, the PCSI DAC has worked collaboratively to provide direct input and guidance on several data sharing projects, such as:

  • A report on the legal challenges to internal data sharing across HIV, STD, TB, and viral hepatitis;
  • The PCSI Syndemic Project: a retrospective match of HIV, STD, TB, and viral hepatitis (2000–2010) and vital records death data (2000–2011);
  • An assessment of disease program security and confidentiality procedures based on the 2011 CDC Data Security and Confidentiality Guidelines;
  • Development of modules for EpiQuery, NYC DOHMH’s interactive health data query tool available to the public;
  • A PCSI Epi Data Brief, “Geographic Co-occurrence of HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Tuberculosis in New York Citypdf iconexternal icon” published online; and
  • A data sharing requirements document to increase real time data sharing across disease programs through DOHMH’s electronic disease reporting infrastructure.

DAC Lessons Learned

The process of developing and running a data advisory committee provided DOHMH with a structure that helps ensure all stakeholders participate in decisions and builds confidence in findings of analyses and products created. Committee members also learn more about the activities of other disease surveillance programs. The collaborative work has proven successful not only for the dissemination of integrated data but also as a way to improve DOHMH’s disease programs.

DAC Successes

The PCSI DAC provides an ongoing forum for disease programs to identify data sharing and integration opportunities, led by staff who are tasked with coordinating cross-cutting, collaborative projects.

For more information, please contact:
Ann Drobnik
PCSI Analyst
Division of Disease Control New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene


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Page last reviewed: April 28, 2014