Effective Reportable Disease Surveillance for COVID-19 Recovery

The core mission of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) is to protect the health and well-being of Angelenos. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this charge has become even more critical. DPH recognized that a strong underlying reportable disease surveillance system was key to ensuring timely and accurate data for decision-making. Information is essential for key public health functions, including monitoring disease trends, assessing risk factors, detecting and managing outbreaks, informing public health actions and policies, prioritizing resources, communicating to the public, and conducting clinical and policy research. Recognizing the critical importance of information, FUSE Executive Fellow Jennifer Hobart worked with the Division of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to transition the Department’s current disparate surveillance programs into a unified reportable disease surveillance system. 

Jennifer conducted a current state assessment involving over 50 stakeholders and a gap analysis of ongoing surveillance programs across disease-specific teams. Afterwards, she developed an information management strategy and a roadmap for execution. She provided input on information-related activities, including workstreams sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Data Modernization Initiative. Additionally, she supported the establishment of a Chief Data Officer position and funding for an information management function for five supporting positions, initiatives set in motion by Jennifer’s recommendations. By shifting from fragmented data processes to a more structured approach, DPH will be able to fully leverage information to prevent future pandemic-related health crises in the area and better protect the health and well-being of L.A. County residents and visitors.

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