Introduction to Syndromic Surveillance Methodology
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The Introduction to Syndromic Surveillance Methodology Course provides new syndromic surveillance analysts and analyses consumers with foundational knowledge to interact with and use syndromic surveillance data. Over the course of three lessons, learners will explore common data sources and methods to create syndromes, consider expanded syndromic surveillance utility to a diversity of public health surveillance needs, and discover communication tactics translating syndromic surveillance data to public health action. These courses are designed to provide pre-requisite knowledge before learning specific software tools.

All courses are taught by National Syndromic Surveillance Program Community of Practice members:

Alexa Meinhardt, MPH, CPH

Lowrie Ward, MPH, CPH

Zachary Stein, MPH

Sara Chronister, MPH

Lakshmi Radhakrishnan, MPH

MisChele Vickers, MPA

Yushiuan Chen, MPH

Charlie Ishikawa, MSPH

Alayna Effron, EdD, MS, CHES

Lesson 1: SyS State of Mind
This training introduces syndromic surveillance foundations setting the groundwork for learners to delve into the wealth of available SyS knowledge and resources. 

By the end of the lesson, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the general process to categorize records into syndromes. 
  2. Apply characteristics of SyS (syndromic surveillance) data (sources, variables, quality) when describing SyS results. 
  3. Distinguish between which public health issues are and are not well suited for SyS.

Lesson 2: Extending SyS Use Cases
Broaden SyS utility by (a) identifying different analysis methods to support different surveillance and response needs, and (b) applying a near real-time data source to a diverse set of public health problems.

By the end of the lesson, participants will be able to:

  1. Select and apply appropriate analysis methods for different public health contexts and interests. 
  2. Identify how to utilize SyS data and methods for multiple public health domains. 

Lesson 3: AnalySyS and Communication
Translate data into recommendations and public health actions. Learn how to tell a story through SyS analysis interpretation and visualizations. 

By the end of the lesson, participants will be able to:

  1. Select the appropriate public health actions based on SyS analyses. 
  2. Describe key messages for various target audiences, including data providers, decision makers, and the public. 
  3. Understand the importance of data visualization for communicating data-driven findings. 

This training series was funded by CDC Cooperative Agreement No: 1 NU38OT000297-03-00. The contents of this training are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.


National Syndromic Surveillance Program

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists

  • Becky Lampkins
  • James Muncy

Kahuina Consulting, LLC

  • Charlie Ishikawa
  • Marcus Rennick
  • Alayna Effron
  • Daniel Chaput
  • 1.3 – Data Analytics and Assessment Skills – Designs surveillance systems using the principles of ethics, DEIA, and justice
  • 1.4 – Data Analytics and Assessment Skills – Conducts surveillance activities
  • 1.6 – Data Analytics and Assessment Skills – Manages data
  • 1.7 – Data Analytics and Assessment Skills – Analyzes data
  • 1.8 – Data Analytics and Assessment Skills – Interprets results from data analysis
  • 2.3 – Public Health Sciences Skills – Applies public health informatics in using epidemiologic data, information, and knowledge
  • 2.4 – Public Health Sciences Skills – Manages information systems to promote effectiveness and security of data collection, processing, and analysis
  • 3.3 – Communication Skills – Facilitates accessible communication among individuals, groups, and organizations
  • 4.1 – Community Partnership Skills – Describes epidemiologic conditions, systems, programs, and policies affecting community health and resilience