The U.S. public health emergency response community spans 50 states, 16 territories, and multiple time zones. It encompasses government agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations, and private industry. It is, in a word, vast. With such an enormous network, it can be difficult to share innovative ideas and create a sense of community.
Enter the ASPR Fusion Roundtable. Launched in January 2013, this online community is a public forum for state, local, tribal, territorial, federal, and private sector stakeholders in the public health community. Roundtable participants can share ideas about public health situational awareness, emerging technologies, novel data sources for public health, and innovative data sharing and collaboration. This public forum allows individuals to provide insights that will help increase innovation and expand information sharing in the field of public health emergency preparedness. Community members can offer new ideas or give other users a pat on the back by voting up the inventive ideas of others. Discussions arise organically and are community-centric.
This coordinated approach to public health communications also leads to cost savings, a key aim of the Digital Government Strategy. The ASPR Fusion Roundtable arose out of a desire for people to be able to get together and share ideas in a time of limited travel funding. This community allows members to share ideas on their own time, from their own computers or tablets, closing the gap of hundreds of miles and hundreds of organizations.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) manages the system and regularly changes the conversation topic with new discussion topics, called campaigns. The first campaign is on the use of social media in public health emergency management. The second campaign will kick off soon and focus on the benefits and challenges of data sharing. Visit the ASPR Fusion roundtable to share your thoughts on either topic.