Community of Practice

One of the hallmarks of the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) is its Community of Practice.External Wenger et al. define community of practice as a

The NSSP’s Community of Practice is envisioned as an active collaboration of CDC, state and local health departments, and other public health partners. CDC already works with medical researchers in academia, other government agencies, and nonprofit organizations as well as with the practitioners who excel in all aspects of syndromic surveillance. The NSSP Community of Practice is a CDC-funded effort to facilitate collaboration and, ultimately, advance the science and practice of syndromic surveillance.

The NSSP Community of Practice aims to strengthen syndromic surveillance by (1) funding local and state public health agencies and (2) including a stakeholder group that contributes to the ongoing development and use of the BioSense Platform.

The community of syndromic surveillance users drove the design of the BioSense Platform, the cloud-based computing environment that hosts standardized tools for analyzing data and enables data sharing that’s fast and efficient. This collaborative approach ensures that the tools and processes remain flexible and responsive to users’ changing needs and technologic advancements and that the application for conducting syndromic surveillance continues to evolve.


In June 2016, CDC’s Division of Health Informatics and Surveillance awarded the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) a three-year cooperative agreement to develop, implement, and maintain CDC’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program Community of Practice (NSSP CoP). In February 2017, the Syndromic Surveillance Community of Practice PortalExternal was launched. It links users of the BioSense Platform and others interested in syndromic surveillance with forums, a knowledge repository and training opportunities, NSSP and state resources, sign-on to the BioSense Platform, and more.

1Wenger E, McDermott RA, Snyder WM. Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press; 2002.

Page last reviewed: October 31, 2017