Project Details

National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) Modernization Initiative

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) operates National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS), a national disease surveillance program that enables local, state, and federal public health agencies to share data to monitor, control, and prevent the spread of approximately 90 infectious and noninfectious diseases.


CDC Project Team

  • Paula Yoon, ScD, MPH (Project Lead) Director, Division of Health Informatics and Surveillance (DHIS), Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (CSELS), CDC
  • Lesliann Helmus, MPHNNDSS Program Manager, DHIS, CSELS, CDC
  • Emory Meeks, BS; Branch Chief, Information Systems Branch, DHIS, CSELS, CDC
  • Nabil Issa, MS; Associate Director of Informatics, Division of Scientific Education and Professional Development, CSELS, CDC
  • Brian Lee, MPH; Chief Public Health Informatics Officer, Office of Public Health Scientific Services (OPHSS), CDC
  • Michael Iademarco, MD, MPH; Director, CSELS, CDC (Executive Sponsor)

We are not currently accepting applications for the Entrepreneur-in-Residence positions at the CDC.

Project Summary

What Is the Scope of the Problem?

NNDSS provides the underlying data that public health officials at CDC need to monitor disease trends, study risk factors, evaluate prevention and control efforts, and target public health resources. Hospitals, laboratories, and healthcare providers send data to local and state public health departments who then voluntarily submit data to CDC to include in NNDSS.

The legacy systems and services currently included within NNDSS used to exchange notifiable disease data between state public health departments and CDC are several decades old. In addition, jurisdictions have to submit data to multiple programs in different formats, which is time-consuming and potentially error-prone.

The EIRs will work with the CDC team to complete a comprehensive review of the current technical approach for NNDSS and recommend technology for an improved platform that can expand to support data collection for new diseases and conditions.

Why Is This Important?

Just in the past year, disease surveillance data have been used to monitor individuals with risk of exposure to the Ebola virus, track cases and contacts for a nationwide outbreak of measles, and investigate hundreds of food-associated outbreaks. Disease surveillance data are a cornerstone of public health practice.

Modernization of NNDSS will allow CDC to provide more comprehensive, timely and higher-quality data to inform decision making, and build capacity to use data from electronic health record systems in the future.  

What Does Success Look Like?

CDC is recruiting two experienced, energetic, and creative EIRs to help CDC create a roadmap for developing robust national disease surveillance systems that, as compared to current systems, are more:

  • Adaptable to rapidly changing technology;
  • Versatile in addressing evolving health threats;
  • Adept at making effective use of health data; and
  • Capable of meeting demands for timely, population-specific, and geographically specific information.

What Is the Role of Entrepreneurs-In-Residence?

The two EIRs will be embedded within CDC’s Division of Health Informatics and Surveillance and will work with existing system, data, and program teams. The Data Integration and Management Architect EIR will evaluate the data standards, integration, and provisioning model currently used and recommend new approaches for improvement and expansion, including more efficient and accurate processes for capturing business requirements for emerging disease surveillance needs at CDC. The Software Platforms Architect EIR will evaluate the current systems and platforms used for data collection, validation, and processing; recommend new or redesigned architecture for the systems; and provide guidance for oversight of contractors building the systems. The two EIRs will work together on the critical system design and approach for the division, collaborating with multiple internal and external stakeholders.

Hear from Paula Yoon, the Project Lead:

About the EIR Program

The HHS Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) program helps HHS teams identify, recruit and onboard external talent to tackle high-priority challenges in health and human services. EIRs bring skill sets to an internal project team that are difficult to find within government to complete a high-impact project in about one year.