Introduction to Public Health Surveillance

URL 1:

Date Developed: Unknown. Source: Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. Presenter(s): James L. Gale, MD, MS. Type: Online Course. Level: Introductory. Length: 90 minutes.


After defining key terms, users, and essential elements of surveillance systems, the course clarifies the difference between data collection and surveillance. Next, the module covers different forms of surveillance (passive, active, sentinel and syndromic), defines the legal authority for the activity, and describes different uses of surveillance data. It continues by also describing ideal qualities and steps in developing, utilizing and evaluating surveillance systems. The lecture concludes by defining the role of the CDC and providing examples of federal and state surveillance systems. Examples, short exercises, and a final assessment are used to reinforce learning.

Learning Objectives

• Define public health surveillance

• Describe the different uses of surveillance systems

• Describe the legal basis for disease reporting

• List the steps in establishing a surveillance system

• Explain the process for evaluating surveillance systems

• List examples of surveillance systems at the local, state, and national levels

Special Instructions

Registration is required. Look to the right of the screen and click on "Register in PHLearnLink".

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $180,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.