About Our Community

A community of practice (CoP) is a group of individuals who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise by interacting regularly.[1] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) Community of Practice (CoP) provides a collaborative framework for public health professionals to work together to identify and use best practices and standards for syndromic surveillance. Through peer-to-peer collaborative activities, members of the NSSP CoP come together virtually to share information, build knowledge, develop expertise, and solve problems aimed at improving syndromic surveillance practice.  

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) partners with CDC NSSP to cultivate, facilitate, and maintain the NSSP CoP in accordance with cooperative agreement (CoAg) #6NU38OT000297: Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health.

[1] Wenger E, McDermott R, Snyder WM. Cultivating Communities of Practice. Harvard Business School Press. Boston, MA. 2002

Our Vision, Mission, and Goals

The NSSP CoP vision, mission, and four overarching goals are designed to be both actionable and aspirational. Together, they provide a framework for planning, decision-making, and prioritization of our community’s activities and resources.

Our Collaborative Leadership Structure

Our collaborative leadership structure promotes a culture of sharing and collaboration, where community members work together collegially to accomplish shared goals and use their collective knowledge to build the practice of syndromic surveillance. To learn more about the NSSP CoP’s strategic action and collaborative leadership structure, please see the NSSP CoP Charter.

Executive Champion – CDC’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program

As the Executive Sponsor for the NSSP CoP, CDC’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) allocates funding to CSTE through a cooperative agreement and provides technical assistance and subject matter expertise to the CoP.

Facilitator/Coordinator – Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists

CSTE acts as the professional home for applied epidemiologists representing multiple levels of public health practice. CSTE also promotes the effective use of epidemiologic data to guide public health practice and improve health to fulfill its vision – using the power of epidemiology to improve the public’s health.

Since 2019, CSTE has managed the day-to-day activities of the NSSP CoP, including planning and scheduling calls and webinars, overseeing the Core Committee, curating the Knowledge Repository, and managing the NSSP Community of Practice Slack Workspace.

Core Committee

The Core Committee is a member-elected body constituted of volunteer NSSP CoP members representing state, tribal, local, and territorial public health jurisdictions. Comprised of the Chair, Deputy Chair, and Subcommittee Co-Chairs, the NSSP CoP Core Committee champions the community, encourages participation in NSSP CoP activities, and acts as a sounding board for ideas from CDC NSSP and CSTE. Representatives of CSTE and CDC NSSP participate in Core Committee meetings. Meetings of the Core Committee are closed, but members are encouraged to communicate any syndromic surveillance-related concerns to Core Committee members for Core Committee consideration and discussion.


NSSP CoP Subcommittees are member-driven groups focused on specific functional areas or topics of importance to the syndromic surveillance community, such as preparedness, syndrome definitions, and data quality. As needed, a subcommittee may convene and then oversee related workgroups tasked with specific projects and deliverables. 


The NSSP CoP could not happen without the active engagement of its members. NSSP CoP activities are member-driven and aim to bring together various stakeholders to spark collaborative efforts. NSSP CoP membership is open to any person or organization interested in advancing syndromic surveillance.

About Our Charter

The NSSP CoP charter provides the foundational and procedural basis for community and subcommittee operations. It defines the community’s mission, goals, organizational structure, and operational guidelines. View the 2019-2020 NSSP CoP Charter here, and note that the charter is reviewed and approved annually by the Core Committee.