International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS)

ISDS works to improve population health by advancing the science and practice of disease surveillance to support timely and effective prevention and response among an informed and skilled public health workforce.

Member profile

The International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization founded in 2005 and dedicated to the improvement of population health by advancing the science and practice of disease surveillance. ISDS’s membership represents public health practitioners; academic researchers in public health informatics, statistics, and other disciplines; healthcare providers; government agency officials; students; and other stakeholders engaged in national and international health surveillance initiatives. ISDS facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and fosters collaboration by promoting and conducting research, education, and advocacy.

Main activities

ISDS works toward a vision of timely, effective, and coordinated disease prevention and response among a skilled public health workforce through programs that position us at the vanguard of the multidisciplinary field of disease surveillance. Areas of focus include: connecting public health practitioners with academic researchers to work together to address otherwise intractable problems; identifying gaps in knowledge and skills and developing resources and trainings to build competencies; and addressing specific issues, such as the effective integration and use of electronic health and health-related information for multiple and varied public health purposes, data sharing among public health jurisdictions, and implementing syndromic surveillance for real-time public health surveillance.

Links to the health workforce crisis

A strategic priority of ISDS is to provide capacity-building assistance (CBA) to our members and the disease surveillance community so that they are able to implement evidence-based best practices, manage quality surveillance systems, and use surveillance data for informed decision-making about health investments.

ISDS develops and implements several CBA activities that address public health surveillance workforce development needs. These activities can be categorized as: information transfer, technical service (i.e., standards development), technology transfer assistance, and trainings. Examples of our work include active volunteer committees supported by ISDS staff (e.g., Public Health Practice, Research, Education & Training, Global Outreach, and Technical Conventions), monthly webinars, publications (e.g., annual conference proceedings, commentaries), in-person and online trainings, and online community forums. We also routinely conduct assessments of community needs and priorities to inform action, identify knowledge and training gaps, and articulate the competencies needed to be successful in today’s evolving landscape of public health surveillance.

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ISDS Highlights

Knowledge Centre ISDS Online Syndromic Surveillance 101 Course

This series of four learning modules provides an overview of syndromic surveillance: the use of near “real-time” pre-diagnostic data and statistical tools to detect and characterize unusual disease activity for further public health investigation.

2013 Pre-Conference Workshops

This year 4 workshops will be held on December 11, 2013 in New Orleans, LA, USA. These community-generated trainings are developed to address the professional needs of the disease surveillance workforce.

2013 ISDS Conference

The annual ISDS conferences are the premier event dedicated to the advancement of the science and practice of biosurveillance. Every year, the conference draws over 350 professionals from a broad range of disciplines. The theme of this year’s conference is Translating Research and Surveillance into Action. It will be held on December 12-13, 2013 in New Orleans, LA, USA.