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ASPR Fusion Roundtable: Innovation and Creativity in Public Health

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

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.

Screenshot of popular discussion and comments on ASPR’s IdeaScale page, available at http://asprfusion.ideascale.com/a/ideafactory.do?id=19682&mode=top&discussionFilter=active

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.

Contact us if you have any questions about the ASPR Fusion Roundtable. And don’t forget to follow @ASPRFusion on Twitter.

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Submitted by Kathleen Kimball-Baker on
At www.publichealthpractices.org, we're very interested in the topic of using social media to connect public health emergency and response practitioners. Our Web site hosts a curated collection of more than 420 all-hazards strategies, interventions, stories, tools, and resources submitted by public health agencies and partnerships throughout the US states and territories. We presented the results of a year of testing social media strategies at the Public Health Preparedness Summit in Atlanta last week and during a scientific session at the American Public Health Association annual meeting in San Francisco in October. We'd be happy to share with you either presentation and/or to point you to some of the interesting practices featured on our site that pertain to using social media for public health emergency management and communication ( PHTools@umn.edu ) . Of note, you might take a look at this one: Rumor investigation process helped Florida prioritize communication response, conserve resources during Deepwater Horizon disaster "Following the Deepwater Horizon explosion in spring 2010, the Florida Department of Health used a streamlined process to identify and respond to circulating rumors about the health effects of the oil spill. Rumors gathered from social media and mainstream news sources were coded and prioritized based on their accuracy and reliability. The process guided the public information staff’s recommendations or resolutions about how to address future communications efforts ─ and was estimated to have saved more than $70,000 during the four-month response . . [more] http://www.publichealthpractices.org/practice/rumor-investigation-process-helped-florida-prioritize-communication-response-conserve We're on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PHPractices And Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PublicHealthPractices.org And you can subscribe to our biweekly newsletter, which features practices on a timely theme each issue: http://www.publichealthpractices.org/subscribe/email