Recommendations for improving preparedness

The FEMA Local, State, Tribal and Federal Preparedness Task Force has launched the National Dialogue on Preparedness Website soliciting input from anyone who has a stake in preparing our communities and the Nation.

The key questions:
* How do we collectively assess our capabilities and gaps?
* Which policies and guidance need updating and what process should we use to update them?
* Which grant programs work the most efficiently and which programs can be improved?

You can also vote on the recommendations already made.

Modeling for Public Health Action Conference

CDC’s Preparedness Modeling Unit is sponsoring a conference on Modeling for Public Health Action—From Epidemiology to Operations. This will be December 9-10, 2010, in Atlanta, Georgia.

According to the conference web site:

This conference will promote the exchange of information and ideas about modeling uses to shape public health action. It is intended for public health practitioners and policy makers in state and local health departments, state and local health policy makers; scientists and modelers working at CDC and its federal partners in public health; academic researchers, non-government organizations, and international practitioners, modelers and policy makers.

Note that the call for abstracts will be open until September 15, 2010.

Syndromic surveillance for early warning of disease outbreaks

In “Understanding sources of variation in syndromic surveillance for early warning of natural or intentional disease outbreaks,” Ross Sparks (a researcher at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)) and his colleagues describe a new technique for

early warning of disease outbreaks by prospectively monitoring data streams collected from computer information systems used for routine patient management at health facilities, such as hospital emergency departments.

The new adaptive methods performed better than traditional control charts, especially when counts were small.

The complete reference is Ross Sparks, Chris Carter, Petra Graham, David Muscatello, Tim Churches, Jill Kaldor, Robyn Turner, Wei Zheng And Louise Ryan, “Understanding sources of variation in syndromic surveillance for early warning of natural or intentional disease outbreaks,” IIE Transactions, Volume 42, Number 9, pages 613–631, 2010. DOI: 10.1080/07408170902942667.