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Volume 131, Issue No. 4 July/August 2016
Current Issue
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ISSN 0033-3549
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Call for Papers

Syndromic Surveillance: the Value of Real-time Data for Public Health Action

Deadline for submission: June 30, 2016

PHR is inviting papers for the upcoming supplement on Syndromic Surveillance: the Value of Real-time Data for Public Health Action. The deadline for submission is June 30 and the anticipated publication date for this supplemental issue is mid-2017.

The Guest Editors for this Supplement will be Dr. Paula Yoon of the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Ms. Julia Gunn of the Communicable Disease Control Division, Boston Public Health Commission; and Ms. Amy Ising of the Carolina Center for Health Informatics in the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Guest Editors seek manuscripts that advance knowledge about the uses and value of syndromic surveillance for situational awareness and enhanced response to a broad array of diseases, conditions, and events that impact population health.  While syndromic surveillance broadly defined is a methodology that systematically collects, analyzes and reports the timeliest data available (clinical and non-clinical) to provide actionable public health information, the focus of this supplement is on the most commonly used clinical data sources (e.g., emergency department, ambulatory care, inpatient). This Supplement is expected to assist public health professionals, clinical care providers, and policy makers in understanding how syndromic surveillance uses near real-time clinical data and statistical tools to detect, monitor, and characterize activity to inform public health investigation and/or response.

Manuscripts may include research papers, brief reports, commentaries, and papers that address methods, evaluation, or policy.

Manuscripts addressing the following topics are encouraged:

  • The evolution of analytic and statistical methods for syndromic surveillance for both event detection and event characterization
  • Natural language methods for free-text and unstructured data
  • Lessons learned in the use of clinical care data for public health response
  • Best practices for improving syndromic surveillance data quality
  • Data access and integrity considerations during natural or man-made disasters
  • Syndromic surveillance and climate associated threats such as heat related illness or forest fires
  • Syndromic surveillance research priorities for the next 5 years
  • Impact of the evolution of electronic health records on syndromic surveillance
  • Integrating syndromic surveillance with other surveillance approaches (e.g., reportable disease surveillance)for improved situational awareness  
  • Papers from international authors demonstrating the value of syndromic surveillance
  • Methods and strategies for monitoring mass gatherings

Manuscript requirements: Articles in PHR are typically 3,000 words in length. The Supplement will also consider brief reports on preliminary studies or emerging trends that are no longer than 1,500 words in length. All manuscripts will be reviewed by the PHR Special Editorial Committee (SEC) for this Supplement. The SEC, together with the Editor in Chief, determines which manuscripts are sent for external peer review and which manuscripts will then be published in the Supplement.

Deadline for submission: Manuscripts should be submitted by June 30th, 2016. The anticipated publication date for the PHR Supplement is May/June 2017.

Manuscript submission: Manuscripts should be submitted electronically at

Please include a note identifying the submission as being part of the “Syndromic Surveillance Supplement” in both the cover letter and the Manuscript Information section of the PHR submission site during upload.  If you have any questions about this Supplement, please contact Dr. Paula Yoon (404-498-6298; For questions about PHR, please contact the Managing Editor, Ms. Sasha Ruiz (404-718-6276;

PHR is a peer-reviewed journal of the U.S. Public Health Service and the U.S. Surgeon General. It is published in collaboration with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. It is the oldest journal of public health in the U.S. and has published since 1878. The journal is widely distributed internationally and is indexed by MEDLINE/Index Medicus, Current Contents, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Pais International, and LexisNexis. More information on the journal, including author guidelines, is available at


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