May 22, 2024

Public health professionals from across the U.S. talk data modernization at Regenstrief Institute conference

Jenn Zucker, Brian Dixon and Graham Briggs join together to take a photo after the 2024 public health conference.

Left to right photo above: Jennifer Zucker, MPH, Brian Dixon, PhD, MPA, Graham Briggs, M.S.

INDIANAPOLIS — Regenstrief Institute hosted the “Progress on Data Modernization in State and Local Jurisdictions” conference, with more than 130 registrants representing local, state and national departments of health gathering to share knowledge, collaborate and learn more about the efforts being made by different health departments across the U.S. 

The event, hosted by the Regenstrief Public Health Informatics Program in the Center for Biomedical Informatics (CBMI), was conducted at the Regenstrief building on the Indiana University – Indianapolis campus. Due to additional demand during the 2023 conference, a virtual component was added. Professional organizations represented included the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH); Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD); Fairview Health Systems and University of Minnesota; Ivey Public Health Partners, LLC – Georgia; United Way of Central Indiana; University of Missouri; the University of Texas at El Paso; New Jersey Department of Health; Tennessee Department of Health; and Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE). 

Regenstrief Research Scientist Brian E. Dixon, PhD, MPA, began the conference with opening remarks and introducing the speakers. Dr. Dixon also is the interim director of Regenstrief CBMI and a professor of epidemiology at Indiana University Indianapolis Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. 

During the meeting each speaker discussed progress in data modernization in their state and local jurisdictions, with a focus on sharing knowledge and learning from each other’s efforts. The speakers emphasized the importance of networking and making progress on data modernization to improve accessibility, blending of data sources and sharing of information with the public and partners.  

Graham Briggs, M.S., a state epidemiologist in the Illinois Department of Public Health, provided an in-depth overview of the public health system in Illinois, highlighting the need for data modernization to address longstanding health equity and outcomes issues in communities. Additionally, Briggs highlighted the implementation of electronic case reporting to automate the real-time exchange of case report information between clinical electronic health records and public health agencies, with a focus on reducing the data lag and increasing real-time access to clinical data. 

Other speakers included: 

  • Jennifer Zucker, MPH, epidemiology manager, Marion Country Public Health Department.  
  • From the Public Health Informatics Institute (Georgia), The Task for Global Health:  
    • Sarah Shaw, MPH, PMP, senior informatics analyst.
    • Piper Hale, MPH, director of communications.
  • Theresa Cullen, M.D., public health director, Pima County (Arizona) Health Department. 

After the speaker sessions concluded, attendees, in person and virtually, split up into break-out groups to discuss registrant-submitted abstracts detailing work on data modernization advancements at local levels.  

See the video recording of the conference here. 

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