International Society for Disease Surveillance

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Formation: 2001
Membership: 400
Location: Boston, MA

The International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization,[1] based in Boston, Massachusetts and dedicated to the improvement of population health by advancing the science and practice of disease surveillance. ISDS facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and promote and conduct research, education and advocacy. ISDS’s 400+ membership represents professional and academic subject matter experts in the fields of public health surveillance, clinical practice, health informatics, health policy, and other areas related to national and global health surveillance. ISDS holds an annual national conference for the public health surveillance community.


The society grew out of interest in real-time detection, using non-traditional surveillance methods[2][3] for the earlier detection of disease outbreaks than traditional disease detection systems prior to the Anthrax attacks in 2001.[4]


Ongoing ISDS activities include:

  • Building and sustaining a surveillance Community of Practice (CoP).
  • Fostering innovations in surveillance research and practice.
  • Increasing public health capacity by providing support and technical expertise to local, regional, and federal public health practitioners in the United States and around the world.
  • Developing targeted resources to inform and expand the dialogue on timely topics of interest to the surveillance community.
  • Hosting surveillance education and training activities that build workforce competencies.
  • Convening the ISDS annual conference and disseminating findings by publishing abstracts in print and online proceedings.[5]

Board of directors[edit]

ISDS is governed by a twelve-person Board of Directors representing national and international leaders in disease surveillance. The Board of Directors was expanded to add the Board’s first two international members in December 2013.

This Board is responsible for governance of the society and adherence to the ISDS mission and values. While upholding these responsibilities, the Board provides strategic and fiscal oversight of ISDS activities. Board members take leadership roles within specific committees or areas while ensuring all programming furthers the goal of advancing public health surveillance. The Board of Directors are elected for 3 year terms at the end of which they may be reelected.[6]


The International Society for Disease Surveillance represents professionals from all aspects of the surveillance community. ISDS membership is open to epidemiologists, informaticists, public health practitioners, health care providers, statisticians, and others who are interested in exploring and addressing population health monitoring across institutional and professional boundaries.[7]


The ISDS conference is an event dedicated to the advancement of the science and practice of biosurveillance. Every year, the ISDS conference draws over 350 professionals from a broad range of disciplines to learn the latest achievements, analytic methods, best practices, conceptual frameworks, and technical innovations in the rapidly evolving field of disease surveillance.

The ISDS conferences provide fertile ground for cultivating new ideas and partnerships by bringing together local, state, and federal public health practitioners, academic researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and decision makers from governmental and nongovernmental entities.[8]

The 12th annual conference was held in December 2013, in New Orleans, LA. The theme for the 2013 conference—Translating Research and Surveillance into Action—highlighted one of the salient topics voiced by the biosurveillance community, and focused on strategies for incorporating the latest in biosurveillance approaches, methodologies, and results into data-driven public health practices, programs, and policies.[9]

The 13th annual conference was held in December at Philadelphia, PA.


  1. ^ "ISDS contacts". 
  2. ^ Mandl KD, Overhage JM, Wagner MM, Lober WB, Sebastiani P, Mostashari F, Pavlin JA, Gesteland PH, Treadwell T, Koski E, Hutwagner L, Buckeridge DL, Aller RD, Grannis S. "Implementing Syndromic Surveillance: A Practical Guide Informed by the Early Experience". J Am Med Inform Assoc. 11: 141–50. PMC 353021Freely accessible. PMID 14633933. doi:10.1197/jamia.M1356. 
  3. ^ Brownstein JS, Freifeld CC, Madoff LC. "Digital Disease Detection — Harnessing the Web for Public Health Surveillance". New England Journal of Medicine. 360: 2153–2157. PMC 2917042Freely accessible. PMID 19423867. doi:10.1056/NEJMp0900702. 
  4. ^ Lewis M, Pavlin J, Mansfield J, O'Brien S, Boomsma L, Elbert Y, Kelley P (2002). "Disease outbreak detection system using syndromic data in the greater Washington DC area". American journal of preventive medicine. 23 (3): 180–186. doi:10.1016/s0749-3797(02)00490-7. 
  5. ^ "About ISDS". 
  6. ^ "ISDS Current Board of Directors". 
  7. ^ "ISDS Membership". 
  8. ^ "ISDS Annual Conference". 
  9. ^ "ISDS 2013 Conference". 

External links[edit]