142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Evaluation of a Weekly Biosurveillance and Public Health Preparedness Report - Making Data Useful for Our Partners

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Sunday, November 16, 2014

Zachary Faigen, MSPH, REHS , Office of Preparedness and Response, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore, MD
Anikah Salim, MPH, CPH , Office of Preparedness and Response, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore, MD
Albert Romanosky, MD, PhD , Office of Preparedness and Response, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Baltimore, MD
Since the events of 9-11 in 2001, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) Office of Preparedness and Response (OP&R) has been providing a weekly newsletter, Weekly Public Health and Emergency Preparedness Bulletin, to our Emergency Support Function 8: Public Health and Medical (ESF 8) stakeholders for situational awareness.  The information provided within the newsletter is centered on data submitted to Maryland's syndromic surveillance program.  The chief objective of the syndromic surveillance program is to identify emerging infectious disease syndromes in their early stages, thus, permitting a timely public health intervention to reduce morbidity and mortality, for example, the emergence of seasonal or pandemic influenza.  However, despite changing threats and levels of preparedness, the overall format of the newsletter has not changed since its inception.  Therefore, OP&R developed an online survey to determine how best to adapt and enhance the newsletter to provide greater utility for our stakeholders.  The survey link was distributed to all bulletin recipients (480) as well as other stakeholders.  Overall, OP&R received a response rate in excess of 25%.  Logic was built into the survey thus permitting targeted assessments of bulletin readership, utilization, value and suggested data enhancements.  There was general agreement that the bulletin was helpful and beneficial to those receiving it.  The majority utilized the information for situational awareness of local and regional outbreaks.  In addition, a significant number expressed interest in national and international disease outbreaks.   The most common improvement suggested was to include HAN Alerts with an executive summary.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate how the DHMH Office of Preparedness & Response shares and disseminates biosurveillance data and emergency preparedness information both internally and externally to partners on a weekly basis. Identify the characteristics of public health and medical partners/stakeholders actively reading and utilizing the weekly Public Health and Emergency Preparedness Bulletin. Identify aspects of the weekly preparedness bulletin the respondents found most important and useful. Identify the most common applications of the data contained in the bulletin that are applied by public health and medical partners.

Keyword(s): Data Collection and Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I earned my B.S. degree in biology from the University of South Carolina in 2006 and my M.S.P.H. degree in epidemiology from Emory University in 2008. I have worked as a registered environmental health specialist and an epidemiologist in both the private and public sectors. For the last four years I have conducted syndromic surveillance in Maryland and the National Capital Region as the lead for the ESSENCE program at the Maryland Department of Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.