Community of Practice Updates

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*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 logo

New CDC Grant Provides Opportunity to Strengthen U.S. Public Health Infrastructure, Workforce, and Data Systems CDC’s OE22-2203: Strengthening U.S. Public Health Infrastructure, Workforce, and Data Systemsexternal icon grant will provide funding to improve critical public health infrastructure needs. This investment, a key component of the  American Rescue Plan fundingexternal icon, will help ensure that U.S. public health systems are ready to respond to public health emergencies like COVID-19 and meet the evolving and complex needs of the communities and populations they serve. 

Link: Workforce Resources for Organizations

Overview of Monthly Call

NSSP Updates

Karl Soetebier (NSSP) reminded attendees that the April patching window would include deployment of Access & Management Center Release 1.6.1. This release includes a fix that lets site administrators edit multiple facilities through batch upload in the Master Facility Table (MFT) tab.

NSSP CoP Updates

Alyaa Altabbaa (CSTE) presented community updates:

  • Contact CSTE to Retain Race and Ethnicity Data Quality Improvement Workgroup: The workgroup was developed to work on deliverables for specific projects (e.g., gather race and ethnicity and percentage of visits, summarize site-level aggregation practices for race and ethnicity data using PHIN Messaging System [PHINMS] race and ethnicity flat codes, initiate conversations with data providers about data collection practices for patient race and ethnicity, assess barriers to race and ethnicity data collections). This work is done; consequently, the workgroup has not convened in a couple of months. Before disbanding the workgroup, is there interest in working on new projects? If you see a need to continue the workgroup, please email
  • Take these steps to join the NSSP CoP, receive calendar invites and updates, and participate in Slack discussion:
  • Register Now for 2022 CSTE Annual Conference; Louisville, Kentucky; June 19–23, 2022. This year’s conference will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual sessions; for details, visit icon Early bird savings ends May 5, 2022.

NSSP CoP Monthly Meeting

The NSSP CoP held its monthly meeting on March 15, 2022. On average, 100 to 120 people participate in these meetings. Recordings for the monthly CoP calls are posted in the Knowledge Repository.external icon  The two-part March 2022 recording, Communicating Syndromic Surveillance with Your Leadership, can be found here: Part I Recordingexternal iconPart II Recording.external icon

Panel Discussion and Breakouts

Alyaa Altabbaa (CSTE) introduced the panelists and discussion questions:

  • Panelists
    • Aaron Kite-Powell (CDC NSSP)
    • Amy Ising (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
    • Anna Frick (AK)
    • Caleb Weideman (TN)
    • Dave Atrubin (FL)
    • Kacey Potis (WA)
  • Discussion Questions
    1. How does your leadership perceive syndromic surveillance?
    2. What challenges/successes do you have when communicating syndromic surveillance (to leadership, partners, public, etc.)?
    3. What is one thing you would change about syndromic surveillance—e.g., branding, new name for syndromic surveillance?
Editorial note: The panelists were selected for their diverse and extensive experience using syndromic data and their ability to integrate near real-time data with other surveillance sources. All panelists are influential in the syndromic community. Some work in public health departments that have used syndromic data since after the 2001 anthrax attacks; others work in public health departments new to integrating syndromic data. All panelists are regularly sought out by analysts and epidemiologists for realistic ways to use syndromic data and to understand its strengths and limitations. Panelists’ comments are not summarized here. NSSP recommends that you listen to the panel discussion and breakout summariesexternal icon.

Attendees were given the option to select one of three breakout rooms to join. After this half-hour activity, everyone returned to the main room for panelists to report on discussion themes. Altrubin/Frick led discussion on Question 1; Ising/Potis led discussion on Question 2; Weideman/Kite-Powell led discussion on Question 3.

Syndrome Definition Subcommittee Meeting Highlights: Volunteers Needed!

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In April 2022, members of the Syndrome Definition (SD) Subcommittee met to review requests for new syndrome definitions (see Spring Validation Requests call: icon The subcommittee hosted two panelists seeking immediate community participation to validate new syndromes:

  • Varicella (Chicken Pox): Nina Masters (CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases) presented on the varicella surveillance, chicken pox syndrome version 2, validation process. Masters asked for volunteers to validate the version 2 syndrome, which aims to increase specificity, sensitivity, and efficiency. If interested, please contact for details.
  • Motor Vehicle Crash-related Syndrome: Vaughn Berry (CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention). Berry presented on the motor-vehicle (unintentional) crash-related injury syndrome validation process and asked for volunteers to participate in syndrome validation. Contact by May 31, 2022, for details.

The SD Subcommittee also hosted three panelists offering future opportunities to validate new syndromes.

  • Robyn Cree (CDC National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities) gave an update on the Persons with Disabilities syndrome development and project. Contact for details.
  • Zach Stein (CDC) described ongoing efforts to create syndromes for reportable conditions. Contact for details.
  • Lakshmi Radhakrishnan (CDC) explained the process being taken to create a suite of syndromes for social determinants of health. Contact for details.

Previous call recordings and other subcommittee resources are available in the NSSP Community of Practice Knowledge Repositoryexternal icon.

SyS State Guidance Consolidated on NSSP CoP Website

If your state needs to update information on syndromic surveillance (SyS), don’t start from scratch. Instead, visit the NSSP Community of Practice website, click Resourcesexternal icon, then scroll to the bottom of the page. There you’ll find links to state public health websites about SyS. Among the many examples, some are bound to meet your needs.

Examples for presenting information about SyS include Oregon ESSENCE Hazard Reportsexternal icon; Wyomingexternal icon, Montanaexternal icon, and Delawareexternal icon guidance for the Promoting Interoperability Program (formerly, Meaningful Use); West Virginiaexternal icon and Wisconsinexternal icon onboarding guidance; Texas comprehensive approachexternal icon to explaining syndromic surveillance; and North Carolinaexternal icon hospital guidance and Arizonaexternal icon provider guidance for accepting electronic data.

Join the NSSP CoP Slack Workspace
Slack Channels

It’s easy to join.external icon And the community is always exchanging ideas, exploring possibilities, and discussing topics relevant to today’s surveillance challenges.

So what are your colleagues discussing?

  • #covid19
  • #data-lab
  • #data-sharing
  • #data-quality
  • #drug-overdose-use
  • #environmental-health
  • #essence-user
  • #general
  • #hospital-admissions
  • #planned-analyses-and-publications
  • #national-data-requests-sop
  • #nssp-cop
  • #race-and-ethnicity
  • #random
  • #r-user
  • #sas-user
  • #severe-weather
  • #spherr
  • #syndrome-definitions
  • #training
  • #violence-surveillance

Find and Join Channels

1. Hover cursor over “Channels” on left side of Slack space.

2. Click the three dots icon that appears next to “Channels” titled “Section Options.”

3. Select “Browse Channels.”

4. Find and join any channel that looks interesting!

masked children taking temperature

Here's How CDC Data Can Help Children and Teens

The National Syndromic Surveillance Program’s (NSSP) collaborative efforts to assess the health and well-being of children and teens during the pandemic have several implications for public health. These implications are summarized in two February 2022 reports published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.1,2 Taken together, these reports show the importance of early and increased awareness for health concerns that could arise due to delayed medical care and heightened emotional distress during the pandemic, especially among children and teens.

Studies show the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the ongoing children’s mental health crisis.3 NSSP data emergency department (ED) data, which are collected from EDs when people seek care, have considerable utility for early identification and expanded evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies. Medical professionals, parents and caregivers, educators, and others who work with children and teens can use these data to help identify symptoms of behavioral and psychosocial concerns and unhealthy coping behaviors that might need further intervention.

In the long term, systemic changes that increase access to available tools and mental health services can also improve emotional well-being during and after crises. CDC supports efforts to promote the emotional well-being of children and teens, such as providing resources for clinicians, families, schools, and communities on the CDC website.

Page last reviewed: April 21, 2022