Community of Practice Updates

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NSSP CoP Monthly Meeting

The National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) Community of Practice (CoP) held its monthly meeting on September 28, 2022. On average, 100 to 120 people participate in these meetings. Recordings for the monthly CoP calls are posted in the Knowledge Repository. You can access this month’s recording directly.

NSSP Updates

  • NSSP Lead Karl Soetebier (CDC NSSP) announced the latest NSSP software updates to the Access & Management Center and Data Quality Dashboard (see Technical Updates). As NSSP continues its work to enhance the BioSense Platform, Soetebier encouraged community members to provide their feedback by submitting tickets to the service desk at Community feedback is essential because it informs NSSP priorities and development work. He also mentioned that NSSP continues to provide support for numerous responses: COVID-19, mpox, pediatric hepatitis, polio, as well as efforts to understand the effects of acute respiratory infections in children. “The data you share with the BioSense Platform continue to inform both the national picture and help to foster collaboration around these responses,” Soetebier said, “and we appreciate that.”
  • During the Hot Topics/Open Forum, Kathleen Hartnett (CDC NSSP) updated the community on the backlog of fact sheets being posted to the Knowledge Repository that describe what is included and excluded from Chief Complaint and Discharge Diagnosis categories. The NSSP team is making a concerted effort to tackle the work. But during this process, the team realized that the fact sheets do not credit authors, which, given the considerable amount of writing and validation each represents, NSSP would like to add. She encouraged anyone contacted to sign their consent to be acknowledged, which is a necessary step in CDC’s clearance process. Authors may also email Hartnett directly (

Featured Presentations

(September 2022 NSSP CoP Monthly Call)

  • September 2022 Update to Access & Management Center (Balaji Neyveli, CDC NSSP Contractor)
  • Updated Data Quality Dashboard (Doug Wirtz, CDC NSSP Contractor)

Reminders and Announcements

  • Save the date! Registration is open for the 2022 Syndromic Surveillance Symposium, which will be held virtually three afternoons from December 6–8, 2022. The event is open to any person or organization interested in advancing syndromic surveillance practice and is FREE of charge. Please complete the registration form by November 14, 2022.
  • Program Analyst James Muncy has joined CSTE and will support the NSSP Community of Practice, subcommittee and user group calls, symposiums, training, and more. Muncy came from South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control. He began as a syndromic surveillance epidemiologist before working on Promoting Interoperability programs.
  • We encourage everyone to make sure your membership information is current. Visit; click on Quick Links; then click Update NSSP CoP Membership. Update your membership preferences to receive calendar invites.
  • 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 this winter.

Syndromic Surveillance Training Series

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.

Note to CoP members: These training sessions were initially intended for online, in-person training. Interest in the training, however, has been overwhelming. To meet demand, Kahuina Consulting has changed the course format to on-demand training that will be available later online.

CSTE plans to share more information with the community.

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NSSP is more than emergency department data. It’s a strategy to integrate near real-time data with other data sources—connecting healthcare with public health. Through the years, 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.

NSSP and CSTE teams are working with Kahuina Consulting to develop a curriculum-based on-demand training series. There are several components to this work. The first component is to work with CoP colleagues to develop content, including facilitation skills, and the other component is the training itself, which establishes foundational concepts for new entrants to the field while benefiting seasoned surveillance experts, too.

The first session, “SyS State of Mind,” was held for a limited group of people on September 16, 2022. CSTE had an overwhelming amount of interest and could not accommodate everyone during the live session. The good news is that each session will be turned into an on-demand course available later this fall. More will come from CSTE on the timeline. The next session, “AnalySyS and Communication,” is scheduled for Wednesday, October 26, 2022. Loosely termed a “fishbowl” exercise, this session will let trainers teach a small audience whose feedback will help trainers hone their presentation skills.

When available, CSTE will provide information on the third session and instructions for getting the on-demand training series.

September 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

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

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
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?

  • #covid19
  • #data-quality
  • #data-sharing
  • #drug-overdose-use
  • #environmental-health-and-severe-weather
  • #essence-user
  • #general
  • #hospital-admission
  • #lab-data
  • #mortality-data
  • #national-data-requests-sop
  • #nssp-cop
  • #planned-analyses-and-publications
  • #race-and-ethnicity
  • #random
  • #r-user
  • #sas-user
  • #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!