2010 ISDS Conference – International Society for Disease Surveillance


The Canyons Resort, Park City, UT

November 30 – December 2, 2010


This conference is designed to provide researchers, informaticists, and public health practitioners with the latest developments in the design, implementation, use, and evaluation of syndromic surveillance systems. The information on the state of the art and future trends will allow conference participants to make informed and practical choices regarding research directions and the practical use of syndromic surveillance systems in public health settings.

The program will explore:

  • Ways to enhance the synergy between research, informatics, and practice in public health.
  • How clinical information systems can support public health surveillance efforts.
  • Advances in methods for classifying surveillance records and modeling surveillance data streams.
  • Important and novel advances in the field of surveillance methodologies and analytical approaches, including developments in temporal and spatial statistical methods for outbreak detection, outbreak simulation, and evaluation of algorithms and systems.
  • Experiences by public health agencies in implementing, running, and evaluating syndromic systems.
  • Surveillance in international settings, including international collaborations in research and practice.
  • Informatics architectures, integration, interoperability, applications and practice.
  • The use of syndromic surveillance in post-disaster surveillance and in low-resource settings.
  • The role of syndromic surveillance in planning, detecting, and responding to pandemic influenza.
  • Applying methodologies to broader domains beyond traditional infectious disease surveillance, including environmental health and chronic disease surveillance.
  • Interaction now and in the future between syndromic surveillance efforts at the local, regional, and national levels.

Conference Learning Objectives

By the end of this conference participants will be able to:

  • Describe strategies that can be used to implement or improve current syndromic surveillance systems.
  • Explain the relationships between federal, regional and local initiatives in syndromic surveillance.
  • Identify applications of syndromic surveillance for which there is evidence of effectiveness.
  • Identify the challenges faced in developing syndromic surveillance systems and how to overcome obstacles.
  • Identify ways to improve collaboration between research, informatics, and practice in public health.


The 2010 ISDS Conference Proceedings were published in an Emerging Health Threats Journal Supplement (pdf).


To view the 2010 ISDS Conference agenda, please click here (pdf).

Pre-Conference Workshops

To view the 2010 ISDS Pre-Conference Workshops agenda, please click here (pdf).

Syndromic Surveillance 101


This course is an entry level introductory course that enables participants to become familiar with the principles, methods, opportunities and challenges of syndromic surveillance.


  • Discuss potential uses for syndromic surveillance.
  • Compare and contrast traditional and syndromic surveillance.
  • Be familiar with the data types used for syndromic surveillance.
  • Describe methods for grouping patients into syndrome categories.
  • Identify major aspects of data quality.
  • Identify common approaches to data analysis (spatial and temporal).
  • Identify key components in a syndromic surveillance response.
  • Describe the strengths and limitations of syndromic surveillance systems.

Public Health Informatics 101: “Meaningful” Interoperability and Standards for Disease Surveillance


In this workshop, you will be introduced to a variety of standards used in public health systems to support “interoperability” of data, ensuring that you understand both the format and meaning of data your public health department may receive under Meaningful Use. You will also learn how those standards are integrated into disease surveillance systems, and where gaps between adopted standards and practice currently exist. In addition, you will be introduced to the HL7 development framework and current methods for using standards to support interoperability within public health and between the clinical and public health setting. Students will be presented with a case study to review various potential data sources that could be used by a health department to monitor their community. Students will assess the benefits and limitations of a data source, map concepts to the standard vocabularies, and consider options for transporting the information using standard messages or documents. This workshop will be useful for the novice and intermediate-level practitioner.


  • Describe key public health standards (e.g., LOINC, SNOMED CT, and HL7), and the benefits and challenges with using standards and a public health value set repository.
  • Be familiar with the Clinical Document Architecture and the HL7 reference information model.
  • Be familiar with the HL7 development framework.
  • Use the HL7 development framework to develop a storyboard and glossary.
  • Identify standard vocabulary for information exchange.
  • Become familiar with the ISO SDMX-HD standard for indicator/summarized data reporting, as well as alternative approaches such as QRDA and GIPSE.
  • Understand appropriate standards for reporting visit-level, clinical summary, and aggregate or population level data.

The Interaction of Disease Surveillance and the International Health Regulations (2005)


The International Health Regulations (2005) came into effect in 2007 and mandate that each signatory country be capable of detecting, analyzing, reporting and responding to a public health event of international concern (PHEIC) by 2012. Some countries are capable of this at present, but these are generally clustered in the developing world. Many more countries will not be fully capable of compliance by 2012, some because of inefficient surveillance systems. This Workshop proposes to identify and discuss issues relevant to IHR implementation in the resource-limited setting by bringing together global public health practitioners from the field, experts in disease surveillance and those who focus on IHR implementation experience. Potential outcomes include finding the right balance with respect to surveillance systems for PHEIC vs. routine (but more common) health events in resource limited settings and how ISDS expertise might be leveraged to assist with compliance by 2012.


  • Understand the purpose and scope of the IHR(2005).
  • Understand the challenges faced by developing countries to achieve compliance with the IHR(2005) surveillance requirements.
  • Discuss potential solutions to achieving IHR(2005) compliance for developing countries through partnerships with existing efforts.

Conference Planning Contributors