Community of Practice Updates

Community Highlights

Have you checked out the NSSP CoP website?

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) has a new online home for the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) Community of Practice (CoP)! There, you can find information and resources about the community, ways to get involved, monthly call schedules, and much more. Check out the website and bookmark for future visits.

Participate in Active NSSP CoP Slack Discussions

As a reminder, CSTE supports and moderates the NSSP Community of Practice Slack Workspace, which acts as a communication and collaboration platform for advancing syndromic surveillance practice. Users can easily share information with peers, plan projects, and accelerate data analyses. Reap the benefits of collectively working with other NSSP BioSense Platform users at CDC; other federal agencies; and state, territorial, local, and tribal (STLT) public health departments through engagements facilitated by the channel.

If you want to speak with other syndromic surveillance experts across the country and are affiliated with a federal agency (as an employee or contractor) or STLT health department, this space is designed for YOU! Submit your request to join here.

Note: The NSSP Community of Practice Slack Workspace will not be used to communicate to or with members of the public. As a public federal record, content on the channel is subject to disclosure under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act.

Encourage Others to Join!

We encourage members to share the opportunity to join the NSSP CoP with other syndromic surveillance practitioners. By completing this form, any individual or organization interested in advancing syndromic surveillance can become a member. As a reminder, membership is voluntary, free of charge, and independent of CSTE membership.

Ways to Engage!

Are you looking for ways to participate and engage in NSSP CoP or related syndromic surveillance (SyS) activities? If so, check out these opportunities to participate:

  • Submit a SyS Success Story: We want to hear from you! Do you have a story to share with the Community but don’t have the time to write? CSTE can help! Just email your idea to, and they can take it from there.
  • Become a Data Quality Subcommittee Co-Chair: The DQ Subcommittee is currently looking for two co-chairs. If you’re interested or want to learn more, please email

To learn more or get involved, please email

2021 Syndromic Surveillance Symposium

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), in collaboration with NSSP, will convene the 2nd Annual Syndromic Surveillance Symposium in November 2021. The call for abstracts opened June 7, 2021. Please consider submitting an abstract here. If you have questions, please email

NSSP Community of Practice Monthly Call

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The May 2021 NSSP CoP’s trending topic of the month, “Mental Health Awareness Month,” was hosted by the NSSP CoP Syndrome Definition Subcommittee.

Kayla Anderson (CDC/National Center for Injury Prevention and Control) presented on the mental health syndromes suite developed in collaboration with members of the NSSP CoP Syndrome Definition Subcommittee and CDC programs. The goal of these syndromes is to identify trends in mental health-related visits to emergency departments (EDs) and gain a better understanding of the impact these visits place on the burden of care in EDs. Fifteen public health jurisdictions (state and local) participated in testing the queries within their datasets.The suite of mental health syndromes includes the following:

  1. Anxiety Disorders
  2. Depressive Disorders
  3. Eating Disorders
  4. Trauma and Stressor-related Disorders
  5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
  6. Bipolar Disorders
  7. Disruptive Behavior and Impulse Disorders
  8. Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders
  9. Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders
  10. Tic Disorders
  11. Any Mental Health Condition

NSSP Lead Loren Rodgers (CDC/NSSP) provided NSSP updates:

  • CDC COVID Data Tracker: The COVID Data Tracker was recently updated to display U.S. trends in ED visit data that focus on patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in a more intuitive and useful way.
  • Race and Ethnicity fields: In mid-June, NSSP plans to introduce the limited details data of the new Calculated Race and Calculated Ethnicity fields. NSSP emailed the CoP community in May to describe the new fields and encourage feedback. The new fields are also described here.
  • Analyses and Manuscript Awareness: NSSP is developing a process to better communicate analyses and manuscripts in development with the community where possible before being finalized or made publicly available. Several projects are underway:
    • Elder abuse manuscript includes an analysis of changes in national ED data related to abuse and neglect during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Vaccine manuscript that examines the utility of NSSP for detecting vaccine-associated adverse events.
    • Several mental health analyses will use the recently developed mental health syndromes developed by NSSP colleagues at CDC and NSSP CoP members, and a few manuscripts are planned that will use these new categorizations.

Closing the meeting, Shubhayu Saha and Emily Prezzato (CDC/National Center for Environmental Health) presented the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)  Regional Heat-related Illness Dashboard. This dashboard, developed by CDC’s Climate and Health Program, illustrates the rate of ED visits for health-related illness per 100,000 people by HHS region using data available through NSSP. The dashboard is expected to go live in early June 2021. The presenters invited representatives from states to come forward and share their data so that a more granular evaluation of heat-related illness could be performed. The goal is to provide a more detailed analysis than the current regional-level dashboard. If you are an NSSP site administrator and would like your site’s data to be included, please send an email to with the subject: “Heat-related Illness and Temperature Opt-In.”

NSSP CoP Core Committee

  • Krystal Collier (AZ)—Core Committee Chair
  • Yushiuan Chen (Tri-County, CO)—Core Committee Deputy Chair
  • Data Quality Subcommittee Co-Chairs: If you’re interested in working with others and co-chairing this subcommittee, we are looking for two co-chairs. Please email
  • Diksha Ramnani (WI)—Data Quality Subcommittee Co-Chair
  • Teresa Hamby (NJ)—Knowledge Repository Curation Subcommittee Chair
  • Bill Smith (Maricopa Co., AZ)—Syndromic Surveillance and Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Co-Chair
  • Fatema Mamou (MI)—Syndromic Surveillance and Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Co-Chair
  • Rasneet Kumar (Tarrant Co., TX)—Syndrome Definition Subcommittee Co-Chair
  • Rosa Ergas (MA)— Syndrome Definition Subcommittee Co-Chair
  • Natasha Close (WA)—Technical Subcommittee Co-Chair
  • Caleb Wiedeman (TN)—Technical Subcommittee Co-Chair

Data Quality (DQ) Subcommittee

  • The Data Quality subcommittee is seeking two co-chairs. Please email for details.
  • Link to previous call recordings and other resources from the DQ Subcommittee here.

Knowledge Repository (KR) Curation Subcommittee

Syndrome Definition (SD) Subcommittee

  • During the May 2021 Syndrome Definition call, Zach Stein (ICF) shared new chief complaint and discharge diagnosis (CCDD) categories:
    • CDC Persons Experiencing Homelessness DD v1
    • CDC Benzodiazepine Overdose v1
  • Subcommittee members discussed their experience and findings using the COVID-like illness syndrome compared with the COVID-19-specific diagnosis-based syndrome. They also discussed trending topics in the NSSP CoP Syndrome Definition Subcommittee Slack Channel. As a reminder, you can request to join the Slack Workspace here.
  • Check out previous call recordings and other resources from the SD Subcommittee here.

Syndromic Surveillance and Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery (SPHERR) Subcommittee

  • During the May 2021 SPHERR call, Jourdan Devies (NSSP) presented on the MMWR article “Update: COVID-19 Pandemic-Associated Changes in Emergency Department Visits—United States, December 2020 –January 2021.” This article states that ED visits were below baseline in winter 2020–2021, decreased for respiratory conditions, and increased for mental and behavioral health-related conditions. NSSP scientists plan to conduct an in-depth analysis of acute plus mental and behavioral health-related conditions in ED visits and to monitor changes in pediatric visits.
  • Check out previous call recordings and other resources from the SPHERR Subcommittee here.

Technical Subcommittee

  • Check out previous call recordings and other resources from the Technical Subcommittee here.

If you have questions about the NSSP CoP, its highly collaborative user groups, the NSSP CoP Slack Workspace (a collaboration platform), or syndromic surveillance, please email