The International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) is pleased to announce the fifth annual Syndromic Surveillance Conference – “Putting Theory into Practice”. The conference will highlight recent advances in the method and the practice of automated population and environmental health monitoring with an emphasis on hypothesis formation and decision making. The conference will examine various practical applications, appropriate and successful interventions, and early efforts in outcomes measurements. In previous years, over 400 attendees from the public health community and disciplines of epidemiology, emergency and infectious disease medicine, biostatistics, medical informatics, and others have attended the conference. We look forward to another excellent conference this year and we invite you to join us in Baltimore.


Conference Track Sessions

Poster Assignments

REQUIRED Release form for all oral presentations and Posters

Pre-Conference Workshop – Agenda – Learning Objectives

Registration (closed)

Hotel Information, Reservations, Directions

Conference Committees

Conference Track Sessions:

Automated Data Acquisition and Processing

Architectures and strategies for automated data capture
Implications of real-time and batch reporting for surveillance
Methods to correct for reporting delays
Event detection through classification and other methods

Aberration Detection

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and visualization methods
Temporal, Spatial, Temporal-Spatial alerting methods
Data mining approaches
Multi-variable and Multi-syndrome monitoring including methods for combining evidence

Public Health Practice

Using syndromic surveillance to inform public health decision making and response – The “so what” factor
Same data with a different perspective – Thinking outside of the box
Integration of public health information with emergency management, veterinary science, and other disciplines – Situational Awareness
Public health investigation experiences – Applying surveillance in different settings, including rural areas

Emerging Priorities and Novel Applications of Syndromic Surveillance

Emerging infectious diseases including avian influenza
Automated surveillance within regional and national health information infrastructures
Post-disaster surveillance
Surveillance for nosocomial infections and medical errors
Chronic disease surveillance and environmental health monitoring

Evaluation and Performance Testing

Simulation modeling of disease outbreaks
Decision-theoretic and cost-analyses
Evaluation of data sources
Outcome Measures

Tracks are provided as guidance for authors, but other topics consistent with the theme of the conference are welcomed.

Pre-Conference Workshop Wednesday, October 18

Agenda – Learning Objectives

The one-day pre-conference workshop to be held on October 18 will expand on previous successful workshops. Sessions will be aimed at both experienced and novice surveillance system users and developers. This year’s workshop will have two tracks, Public Health Practice and Applied Analytics/Informatics. Both tracks will focus on practical applications and will provide “take home” examples of software and methods for participants.

Planned sessions for the Public Health Practice track include:

“The Nuts and Bolts of Syndromic Data Generation,” in which physicians and first responders will describe decision-making and classification protocols underlying chief complaint, discharge diagnosis and other syndromic data sources
Sessions on influenza surveillance including the chronology and epidemiology of the 1976 Fort Dix influenza outbreak by a first-hand investigator; and the how age-specific patterns of influenza-like illness, in combination with viral data, can be used to detect and characterize influenza epidemics

Understanding and responding to emergency department syndromic surveillance data.

In this session we will review biosurveillance response protocols and examine multiple ways of exploring syndromic data. The focus will be on the role the analyst has in understanding syndromic surveillance data and how that helps them decipher signals and anomalies. The session will end with a case study.

A short tabletop exercise demonstrating syndromic surveillance signal detection, investigation and response, including technical obstacles and communication issues

The Applied Analytics/Informatics track will focus on the application of statistics and informatics to routine health monitoring. Planned sessions include:

Choosing and adjusting appropriate alerting algorithms depending on your surveillance objectives, syndromic groupings, and geographic extent
Fusion of various types of evidence using Bayesian networks; explanation and application of concepts for tools to make sense of varied, distributed data streams
Space-time detection of unusual clusters of cases using scan statistics: concepts, implementation, management of data issues
Managing the practical problems of data acquisition, organization, and conditioning under privacy and proprietary restrictions

Attention: Registrants in the ANALYTICS/INFORMATICS TRACK who are bringing their own laptops to the session should download a copy of Martin Kulldorff’s SaTScan from, a free and fast download prior to the workshop.

Hotel Reservations – A limited number of hotel rooms at a special rate is Hotel Reservations – Attendees are responsible for their own hotel reservations. A limited number of hotel rooms is available for ISDS conference attendees at the special rate of $239/night until September 20, 2006. Please call the Hyatt at 1-888-421-1442 and mention “Syndromic Conference” to reserve your room. The government room rate of $148 per night is available to qualified individuals by calling the Hyatt and mentioning the code “TUFS.” Please note that attendees registering under the government rate will be required to show appropriate identification upon check in. For map and directions, click here.

2006 ISDS Conference Program Committee
Atar Baer – Public Health Seattle & King County
James Buehler – Emory University
Deeanna L. Burleson – US NORTHCOM SG
Dennis G. Cochrane – Emergency Medical Associates of New Jersey
Michael A. Coletta – Virginia Department of Health
Duncan Cooper –Health Protection Agency, UK
Kenneth L. Cox – Department of Defense, Health Affairs
John O. Davies-Cole – District of Columbia Department of Health
Lynn L Frank – Former Chief of Operations, DHHS, Montgomery County, Maryland
Donald J. Goodwin – Air Force Research Laboratory
Julia E. Gunn – Boston Public Health Commission
Rick Heffernan – New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Kathy J. Hurt-Mullen – Department of Health and Human Services, Montgomery County, Maryland
Jeff Johnson – San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency
Bill Lober – University of Washington

Julie Pavlin – Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Henry Rolka – Centers for Disease Control National Center for Public Health Informatics

Joe Lombardo – Organizing Chair
Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory

David Buckeridge – Program Chair
McGill University

2006 Pre-conference Workshop Planning Committee
Atar Baer – Public Health-Seattle & King County
Julia Gunn – Boston Public Health Commission
Richard Heffernan – New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Colleen Martin – Centers for Disease Control National Center for Public Health Informatics

Howard Burkom – Workshop Chair
Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory