2013 ISDS Conference Travel Request Toolkit – International Society for Disease Surveillance


“While all symposia have the potential for self-rejuvenation, the ISDS conferences have proven to be especially inspiring… The networking opportunities alone are unusually rich, since they bring together members of academia, public health practitioners, and consultants from the universe of disciplines that are attracted to the world of disease surveillance.”

ISDS Member and Public Health Practitioner

The annual ISDS conference is a truly unique experience that is highly educational and career-enhancing. It is a cross-disciplinary conference that is relevant to many areas, including One Health; surveillance for infectious diseases, chronic diseases, and environmental health issues; as well as pharmacovigilance. In addition, along with numerous sessions on informatics, disease surveillance policy, analytical methods, and public health surveillance practice, you will learn and discover how to implement ideas that improve your professional skills. In fact, on the 2012 ISDS Conference evaluation, about 90% of respondents indicated that they may or will make changes in their work – for example, in their methods or tools – based on what they learned at the ISDS Conference.

As you attend sessions and network with colleagues, you will have the opportunity to interact with professionals from a variety of sectors, including governmental, academic, non-profit, and for-profit. Every year, these interactions result in the launch of exciting new collaborations and the development of innovations. In addition, the 2013 ISDS Pre-Conference Workshops and Conference will provide:

  • Information about the most up-to-date practices, tools, and research results.
  • Access to the extensive and collective expertise of ISDS members and other stakeholders.
  • High quality training opportunities that build workforce competencies relevant to your practical needs.
  • Opportunities to contribute to the evidence-base in published conference proceedings.

Participating in the 2013 ISDS Conference offers an invigorating opportunity that creates a foundation for professional achievement and, ultimately, a more rewarding career.

Toolkit Introduction

Most ISDS conference attendees must request permission from their organization to attend, and while the precise information and degree to which individuals must justify their attendance may vary, there are common elements. The purpose of this toolkit is to provide professionals interested in attending the 2013 ISDS Pre-Conference Workshops and Conference with the tools they need to submit a travel request to their organization. We invite you to use and adapt the following tools based on your needs:

  1. Information on return on investment (ROI);
  2. Sample letter to your supervisor;
  3. Information on Certified in Public Health (CPH) recertification credits;
  4. Letter of invitation (for you); and
  5. Preliminary agendas.

View Toolkit by Section

Select the link(s) below to be taken directly to the relevant section.

Important Upcoming Conference Dates

Information on return on investment (ROI)

  • Expense Worksheet
  • Return on Investment

CPH Recertification Credits

Benefit to Organization

Sample Letter to Your Manager

Invitation Letter


Download Complete Toolkit (pdf; Updated 10.21.2013)

This document contains all sections of the toolkit.

Expense Worksheet

Calculate your estimated costs using the ‘Expense Worksheet’ to provide a reasonable estimate of the investment you are requesting from your organization. *Note: All 2013 ISDS Pre-Conference Workshop and Conference sessions will take place at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.

Download Expense Worksheet (MS Word)

View Registration Information

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Return on Investment

One of the challenges in gaining organizational approval to attend in-person meetings and conferences is that some of the greatest benefits (e.g., networking) are difficult to put into quantifiable terms. How do you put a dollar amount on the robust networking opportunities – even if it results in tangible benefits, such as solving a problem you were facing? However, putting the return on investment into concrete returns that your employer can appreciate is essential.

To do this, clearly articulate the connection between your job responsibilities, your organization’s needs and mission, and the meeting programming. Identify the Pre-Conference Workshop and Conference sessions that will help you gain the knowledge and skills required to tackle ongoing challenges and build organizational capacity to achieve goals related to disease surveillance research and/or practice. Remember that ongoing professional development is important, not only for you, but for your organization.

The Benefits Table should support this process. Identify programming objectives that are particularly relevant to your responsibilities and use them in your request for support.

Download Benefits Table (pdf)

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CPH Recertification Credits

CPH recertification credits are available for attending a 2013 Pre-Conference Workshop and the Conference. Participants Certified in Public Health (CPH) by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) have face-to-face networking opportunities and are eligible to receive up to 9 CPH recertification credits in just three days of programming (3 credits/day). This focused opportunity for recertification credits provides workforce development in concentrated topic-areas, making it more likely that participants will be prepared to incorporate what they learn into their work.

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Benefit to Organization

Provide evidence of how your attendance will benefit your organization. Consider the following:

1. Return on investment: What will you bring back to your organization in return for the investment that was made?

a. Use the information in the Benefits Table and identify which sessions are most valuable and applicable to your setting. For example, you could bring back:

  • Strategies and tools to ensure more efficient and effective analysis, communication, and evaluation.
  • Ability to enhance overall agency capabilities in public health surveillance.
  • Ideas and strategies for addressing funding issues for public health activities.
  • Knowledge and skills to enhance the value of syndromic surveillance data for public health response.
  • Knowledge of best practices in disease surveillance.
  • Update on BioSense 2.0 system, onboarding, governance, and using the system to implement public health situation awareness and syndromic surveillance.
  • Information on best practices in Meaningful Use data acquisition and data provider on-boarding.
  • Ability to evaluate the utility of novel data sources for public health (e.g., social media).
  • Leadership skills that will help your organization achieve its mission.
  • Techniques and skills for using mapping for disease surveillance.
  • The vision and determination to leverage technology in achieving your organization’s goals.

b. When you return from the conference, offer to deliver a short presentation with a question and answer session to your colleagues to share what you learned.

2. How much continuing education credit can you earn by attending this meeting?

The 2013 ISDS Pre-Conference Workshops and Conference are an excellent way to earn CPH recertification credits! Participants are eligible to earn the maximum number allowable by the National Board of Public Health Examiners – 3 credits per day for a possible total of 9 credits.

3. Who will cover for you while you are away?

Prepare a schedule or plan that demonstrates who can cover for you while you are attending a 2013 ISDS Pre-Conference Workshop and/or the Conference.

4. Do you qualify for a registration discount?

Look at the table of registration fees to see if you qualify for any of the lower rates or discounts. Remember that if you join or renew your annual ISDS Membership NOW, you are eligible for the member discount! If you are unsure about your membership status, please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Discover more about ISDS Membership.

5. If relevant, is the ISDS Conference on your organization’s pre-approved travel list for third party payer? If not, what would you need to do to get it added?

Contact Tera Reynolds, ISDS Program Manager, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you need ISDS to complete any forms for this process.

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Letter to Your Manager

Download the sample letter to your manager to request permission to attend the 2013 ISDS Pre-Conference Workshops and Conference. Insert your information in the sections surrounded by brackets.

Download Sample Letter (MS Word)

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Invitation Letter

Some organizations require a general letter of invitation as a part of their travel request process (below). If you need a more personal letter, please contact Tera Reynolds at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and include the specific elements your organization requires in the body of the e-mail.

Download Invitation Letter (pdf)

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