What's the NSSP Community of Practice?
The National Syndromic Surveillance Program's Community of Practice (NSSP CoP) facilitates collaboration across the public health enterprise, thereby improving the nation's situational awareness and responsiveness to hazardous events and disease outbreaks. The NSSP CoP promotes knowledge sharing, training, innovation, and timely exchange of syndromic surveillance data among state and local public health agencies and partners.
Membership in the NSSP CoP is voluntary and includes a broad range of syndromic surveillance practitioners and stakeholders, including the state and local grantees funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local health jurisdictions that engage in syndromic surveillance either through the NSSP BioSense Platform or local syndromic surveillance system; CDC programs; and other federal agencies, partner organizations, hospitals, health care professionals, and academic institutions with a stake in public health.
Community of Practice Web Portal
The NSSP CoP is supported by a web portal that CDC maintains in collaboration with the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS). Through this web portal, approved syndromic surveillance practitioners can access the NSSP BioSense Platform and get technical assistance. They can also use the portal to maintain awareness of training opportunities, join work groups, participate in forums, and stay informed on a wide range of topics. The web portal facilitates relationship building and collaboration, both of which are essential to maintaining effective public health situational awareness and to responding appropriately to various events and outbreaks.
The web portal is a way to engage with peers—whether by asking or answering questions posed on forums, attending webinars and training events, or sharing ideas and success stories. Participation in the NSSP CoP will help practitioners stay abreast of advances in the science and practice of syndromic surveillance. The NSSP CoP facilitates learning, knowledge sharing, and problem solving among practitioners who want to integrate syndromic surveillance more fully into daily practice and use its inherent early-warning capabilities to complement ongoing public health surveillance.
The NSSP CoP provides numerous benefits:
- access to experts across the nation—including CDC and syndromic surveillance grantees, partners, and stakeholders;
- increased capacity to conduct syndromic surveillance through enhanced coordination across jurisdictions and organizations;
- versatile forums for solving problems and sharing solutions;
- established mechanism for receiving technical assistance;
- more efficient use of resources through collaborative efforts;
- peer-to-peer mentoring;
- access to curated repository of syndromic surveillance tools and resources;
- shared success stories and lessons learned; and a
- shared professional identity.
The NSSP CoP steering committee comprises experts from various surveillance disciplines who oversee activities to ensure the community's needs are being met. The committee facilitates community engagement via structured mechanisms such as this web portal. The committee works closely with community members to identify gaps in knowledge or practice. The committee also serves as a conduit between the community and the many organizations that support syndromic surveillance in various capacities (e.g., informatics, software development, training programs, and guidelines). The committee monitors activities associated with the NSSP CoP, particularly this web portal and its associated forums, to identify topics of intrigue or concern. The committee champions causes that are important to and representative of the community.