Community of Practice Updates

Updated July 20, 2023

Quick Links

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Policy for Federal Access to NSSP Data

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During the November 2022 CoP Monthly meeting, Acting NSSP Lead Karl Soetebier informed the community of efforts to make NSSP data more accessible and to improve collaboration toward common goals.

In early December 2022, Soetebier updated site administrators of NSSP’s ongoing work related to data use. He explained how expanded access to NSSP data during the COVID-19 public health emergency enabled innovation in areas such as trend indicators and classification, anomaly detection, and text mining by age and geography. The ability to work this way routinely, outside the context of a public health emergency, is not permitted by the current data use agreement.

In early 2023, to build on public health response innovations and to continue to enhance data use, CDC began designing a new NSSP agreement to incorporate lessons learned from the COVID-19 response, enable close collaboration between sites and CDC, enable new innovations and services for sites, and maximize responsible use of data and provide timelier synthesis of findings and recommendations. Further, this agreement would help respond to the top concerns raised by public health departments in the Review of Federal Access to National Syndromic Surveillance Program Data: Findings and Implementation Strategies, posted by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) in February 2023.

CDC has made a thoughtful choice to change from a data use agreement (DUA) to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to better reflect the collaborative nature of the agreement. By refocusing the DUA as an MOU, the collaborative and participatory goals of the partnership across federal, state, and local public health authorities become more transparent. Details of the DUA/MOU are being worked through.

NSSP CoP Monthly Meeting

The National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) Community of Practice (CoP) June call was cancelled due to the 2023 CSTE Annual Conference held June 25–29, 2023. The NSSP CoP will convene again on July 26, 2023.

NSSP CoP presentations and slides are available on the NSSP CoP Knowledge Repository.

Reminders and Announcements

  • Expanded Look at Public Health Jurisdictional Work to be Added to NSSP CoP Meetings: The NSSP CoP is excited to announce an opportunity to highlight the great work being done by members. Beginning with the July NSSP CoP monthly call, representatives from three to four public health jurisdictions will give a brief presentation about their program, projects, partner interaction, challenges, and goals. We encourage local, territorial, and tribal jurisdictions of all sizes and in all stages of program development to participate. To sign up to present on an upcoming call, please complete this form.
  • NSSP CoP New Member Orientation: CSTE will begin hosting quarterly new member orientations for the NSSP CoP.  These orientations will provide an overview of the NSSP CoP and its mission, vision, and organization; resources available to members; and a time for questions and answers. The first orientation will be held soon. CSTE will send a calendar invitation to all NSSP CoP members closer to the meeting date.
  • Join the Community and a subcommittee: Our Community is a great way to meet others working in syndromic surveillance and advance the work of syndromic surveillance at all jurisdictional levels. Become part of the Community or update your NSSP CoP membership to join a subcommittee here. Encourage others to join, too!
    • Join and participate in the Slack workspace. This space is full of rich discussion among colleagues. This is an opportunity to collaborate with your peers outside CoP meetings.
    • Submit success stories to be featured in NSSP Update and on the NSSP CoP website. You do valuable work every day that we want to highlight.
    • Submit a topic for future NSSP CoP monthly calls. These calls are meant for the community, and we want to know what is most important to you.

Introduction to Syndromic Surveillance (SyS) Methodology

NSSP represents a strategy to integrate near-real–time data with other data sources, connecting healthcare with public health. This training series is designed for new SyS analysts and data consumers to establish foundational concepts of SyS methodology, conceptualize new SyS public health applications, and confidently act on SyS analyses. The series was delivered live in fall 2022 and is now available in an on-demand format on CSTE Learn. NSSP CoP members can access and complete the training for free: create a CSTE Learn account, click “sign up” on home page, register and click “submit.” Once registered, the training can be found here.

SyS State of Mind
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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.

AnalySyS and Communication
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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.

Expanding SyStems
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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.

Adult Learning Theory
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Develop trainer skills. Elevate content for effective, formative and meaningful delivery.

Theory Applied- Fishbowl exercise
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Apply adult learning concepts. This exercise supports development and application of trainer skills, fostering a complete learning experience for trainees.

Join the NSSP CoP Slack Workspace
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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?

  • #analytic-tools
  • #chief-complaint-processing
  • #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!