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

Funding Opportunity: Strengthening U.S. Public Health Infrastructure, Workforce, and Data Systems
grantsgov Funding Opportunity

CDC’s OE22-2203: Strengthening U.S. Public Health Infrastructure, Workforce, and Data Systems grant will provide funding to improve critical public health infrastructure needs. This investment will help ensure that U.S. public health systems are ready to respond to public health emergencies like COVID-19 and to meet the evolving and complex needs of the communities and populations they serve. See the CDC website for details.

2022 CSTE Annual Conference a Success!

The 2022 Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Annual Conference was held as a hybrid event on June 19–23, 2022. More than 1,500 people attended in Louisville, Kentucky, and more than 1,000 attended virtually. The conference offered a variety of workshops, networking opportunities, robust scientific presentations, and plenary sessions.

For conference registrants, the presentation recordings will be posted on the CSTE Annual Conference virtual platform for the next 3 months. NSSP Community of Practice (CoP) members will find the Surveillance/Informatics track particularly useful. It featured multiple sessions on syndromic surveillance, including innovative surveillance methodologies, data quality topics, and novel uses of syndromic surveillance data.

The monthly NSSP CoP call, postponed in June because of the conference, will resume on July 27, 2022. See the NSSP CoP calendar for monthly meetings.

Upcoming Opportunities to Learn More about Onboarding

  • Senior Data Analyst Sophia Crossen (CDC contractor), who leads NSSP’s onboarding efforts, will be the featured presenter during the August 12, 2022, CoP Data Quality Subcommittee meeting. Sophia will discuss the role of associated facilities on facility and data processing and explain how data provided by associated facilities are viewed in ESSENCE. The meeting will include a Q&A session and open forum for discussion. We encourage community members to attend.
  • The next BioSense Platform Bi-Monthly Data Validation call will be hosted by the NSSP onboarding team on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. NSSP onboarding team members Sophia Crossen, Emani McCullough, and Krystal Collier (CDC contractors) will lead a discussion on data quality and validation. This presentation is designed primarily for concerns that affect site administrators. If you’re a site admin, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions about your site’s data quality or any open Service Desk tickets. Please submit your concerns or questions beforehand to make sure they’re added to the agenda. Submit questions to the NSSP onboarding team or get the calendar invite by emailing the NSSP mailbox (

Reminders and Announcements

  • Save the date! Planning is underway for the 2022 Syndromic Surveillance Symposium, which will be held virtually three afternoons from December 6–8, 2022. Be on the lookout for the Call for Abstracts and for information on how to join the planning committee, review abstracts, or moderate session(s).
  • The NSSP CoP posted the Call for Nominations for the Core Committee Chair and Core Committee Deputy Chair. Each position is a two-year term beginning August 2022. All CoP members who work for a state, local, tribal, or territorial health department are eligible. CSTE will share more information soon. Questions? Contact
  • The Knowledge Repository (KR) is getting an overhaul. The KR is a popular feature on the NSSP CoP website that contains NSSP CoP call recordings; syndrome library; and resources on data analytics, data sharing, and more. CSTE developers are enhancing the KR search features and user interface with plans to complete the effort later this summer.
  • 2021 Syndromic Surveillance Symposium recordings and materials have been posted.

Syndromic Surveillance Training Series Coming Summer 2022!

hands raised with sun cupped in shadow

NSSP is more than ED data. It’s a strategy to integrate near real-time data with other data sources—connecting healthcare with public health.

NSSP has evolved into much more than a platform for conducting syndromic surveillance. It offers dynamic, interactive tools that can improve our understanding of epidemiologic trends and patterns across many public health conditions.

To get data users in the right learning mindset, NSSP and CSTE teams are working with Kahuina Consulting to develop syndromic surveillance curriculum-based training. The series is designed for both novice and advanced learners. If you’ve attended other NSSP CoP trainings facilitated by Kahuina Consulting, you know from experience that these are highly collaborative and informative sessions presented with a healthy dose of purpose and optimism.

If you want to have confidence when acting on your analyses, this course is designed for you. You’ll improve both your foundational understanding of syndromic surveillance methodology and your ability to conceptualize new public health applications.

Our world of syndromic surveillance is evolving. It’s time to get into a new syndromic surveillance state of mind.

July training and registration: If you’re a member of the NSSP CoP and want to attend, be on the lookout for an email announcing registration. Attendance for the initial training will be limited to a small group (12–15 attendees). Kahuina Consulting and CSTE plan to develop the SyS State of Mind and other sessions into on-demand courses for those unable to attend the live training.

August Sys State of Mind header

Explore the common data sources and methods that define SyS practice. Learn how analyst query data and craft syndromes for many public health problems. Apply new knowledge to interactive exercises and simulated experiences, preparing learners to look at public health surveillance through a SyS lens.

July SyS State of Mind icon

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the general process to categorize records into syndromes
  2. Apply characteristics of SyS data (sources, variables, quality) when describing SyS results
  3. Distinguish between which public health issues are and are not well suited for SyS

Expected Outcomes

  1. Reliably and confidently define a syndrome using typical syndromic surveillance data elements
  2. Reliably and confidently describe representativeness and limitations of SyS results
  3. Accurately frame and/or develop hypotheses for SyS applications

September Expanding Systems header

Identify different SyS analysis methods to support different surveillance and response needs. Learn how to apply a near real-time data source to a diverse set of public health problems, broadening SyS utility. Content for all types of learners, with active engagement, didactic presentations, and action-led micro-learning.

expanding systems icon

Learning Objectives

  1. Select and apply the analysis method as appropriate for the context and health condition of interest
  2. Identify how to utilize SyS data and methods for multiple public health domains

Expected Outcomes

  1. Accurately describe appropriate analytic methods to characterize processed SyS data
  2. Expand SyS application to additional health conditions of interest and public health domains

October Analysys and communication header

Translate data into recommendations and public health actions. Learn how to tell a story through SyS analysis interpretation. Simulated learning experiences are coupled with integrated support tools to maximize best practices.

analysys and communication icon

Learning Objectives

  1. Select appropriate public health actions based on SyS analysis
  2. Describe key messages for various target audiences, including data providers, decision makers, and the public

Expected Outcomes

  1. Determine appropriate response/public health action based on SyS finding
  2. Craft and/or make recommendations for tailored communication per audience profile
Join the NSSP CoP Slack Workspace
Slack Channels

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

So what are your colleagues discussing?

  • #chief-complaint-processing
  • #covid19
  • #data-lab
  • #data-quality
  • #data-sharing
  • #drug-overdose-use
  • #essence-user
  • #general
  • #hospital-admissions
  • #lab-data
  • #national-data-requests-sop
  • #nssp-cop
  • #planned-analyses-and-publications
  • #race-and-ethnicity
  • #random
  • #r-user
  • #sas-user
  • #severe-weather-and-environmental-health
  • #spherr
  • #syndrome-definitions
  • #technical
  • #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!
Data Modernization Initiative

“Modernization” of our public health data and surveillance systems is one way in which CDC invests in the future of public health.

The CDC Public Health Data Modernization Initiative lays out a path to move us toward integrated systems that provide data more efficiently for public health action. This framework guides decisions for allocating resources to create interoperable systems (federal, state, local, and healthcare), coordinate investments across CDC (and with partners), develop next-generation tools (e.g., modeling, visualization, machine learning), and strengthen predictive analytics and forecasting. One objective of DMI is for syndromic surveillance to give a faster understanding of emerging health threats through electronic reporting of emergency department visits.

“This is a moment in time when our national leaders will seek to identify or build platforms to detect and monitor future health threats,” NSSP Lead Loren Rodgers said during a 2021 NSSP Community of Practice call. “I’d like to challenge the NSSP community to consider our place in a new public health infrastructure. I don’t know of another program that is so purpose-built for this task with the ability to scale to include new data sources and analytics and to share these data with allied [public health] jurisdictions and trusted partners. Our syndromic community exemplifies innovative approaches that other surveillance systems aim to implement.”

CDC’s earlier modernization efforts laid the groundwork that supports NSSP’s current approach to surveillance and—bolstered by CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative—positions the program to better protect our country from all types of public health threats.

Page last reviewed: July 18, 2022