HealthMap: Using Online, Real-time Surveillance to Identify Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreak


Course Overview

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Course Description

This course is provided by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). 

This course provides an overview of using HealthMap which delivers real-time intelligence on a broad range of emerging infectious diseases. Long before the 2014 Ebola outbreak was a topic on every front page and in every news outlet, HealthMap ( detected a trend showing a “mystery hemorrhagic fever” spreading in a small area in West Africa. Shortly afterwards, the World Health Organization announced the Ebola epidemic.  Developed in 2006, HealthMap delivers real-time intelligence on a broad range of emerging infectious diseases for a diverse audience including libraries, local health departments, governments, and international travelers. This tool brings together disparate data sources, including online news aggregators, eyewitness reports, expert-curated discussions and validated official reports, to achieve a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health. HealthMap is a freely available as a Web site '' and through the mobile app 'Outbreaks Near Me'.

PRESENTER:   John Brownstein, Ph.D., co-founder of HealthMap, is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and directs the Computational Epidemiology Group at the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program in Boston. He has been at the forefront of the development and application of public health surveillance. HealthMap is in use by over a million people a year including the CDC, WHO, DHS, DOD, HHS, and EU. Dr. Brownstein has advised the World Health Organization, Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the White House on real-time public health surveillance.                                                                                                

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Target Audience

This course is designed for Emergency Responders / Receivers, Public Health, Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, Hazardous Materials Personnel, and Healthcare.

Learning Objectives

None listed 

Council of Linkages Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (COL)/COL Tier(s)

  1. 1A.2 (Tier 1) Identifies quantitative and qualitative data and information that cn be used for assessing the health of a community
  2. 1A.4 (Tier 1) Uses information technology in accessing, collecting, analyzing, using, maintaining, and disseminating data and information
  3. 1A.5 (Tier 1): Selects valid and reliable data
  4. 3A.5 (Tier 1): Conveys data and information to professionals and the public using a variety of approaches (e.g., reports, presentations, email, letters)
  5. 6A.6 (Tier 1): Describes evidence used in developing, implementing, evaluating, and improving policies, programs, and services

Professional/Disciplinary Competencies

Public Health Preparedness Capabilities:

Community Preparedness

  1. Function 1: Determine risks to the health of the jurisdiction
  2. Function 2: Build community partnerships to support health preparedness 

Information Sharing

  1. Function 3: Exchange information to determine a common operating picture

Public Health Surveillance and Epidemiological Investigation

  1. Function 4: Improve public health surveillance and epidemiological investigation systems

Public Health Preparedness and Response Core:

Communicate and Manage Information

  1. Manage information related to an emergency
  2. Use principles of crisis and risk communications
  3. Collect data according to protocol
  4. Manage the recording and/or transcription of data to protocol

Healthcare System Preparedness Capabilities:


  1. Function 1: Provide healthcare situational awareness that contributes to the incident common operating picture
  2. Function 2: Develop, refine, and sustain redundant, interoperable communication systems


Archived Webinar

Credit /CEU

None available 


1 hr.


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