Syndromic Surveillance Epidemiologist - CDC Foundation / Washington State Department of Health

LOCATION: Shoreline, WA

CLOSING DATE: open until filled


JOB #: 15941

POSTED: June 11, 2020


The Syndromic Surveillance Epidemiologist will support the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), which is located in Shoreline, Washington (just outside of Seattle). The Syndromic Surveillance Epidemiologist contributes to the mission of the DOH by performing public health surveillance and enhancing surveillance practice focused on COVID-19 through the use of syndromic surveillance data submitted by hospitals, emergency departments (EDs) and outpatient clinics. These activities improve OCDE and DOH’s capacity to identify COVID-19 disease trends, conduct disease investigations, improve detection of clusters and hot spots, and provide essential information to inform control measures for COVID-19 in Washington state. This work is done to support DOH’s Rapid Health Information NetwOrk (RHINO) and supports the effective use of public health data and surveillance systems supported and utilized by DOH, LHJ, and tribal epidemiologists.

Teleworking: 100% teleworking may be an option. Does not have to be located in Washington State.

Anticipated travel: None


  • Proposes and initiates epidemiological investigations using syndromic surveillance data to improve DOH capability to characterize, prevent, and respond to COVID-19 Tasks include:
    • Evaluates and enhances syndromic queries and definitions used to monitor for trends in clinical encounters related to COVID-19 and other associated health conditions
    • Develops processes for the detection of suspected spatial-temporal clusters of COVID-19 in support of outbreak investigation and control efforts
    • Works with investigators and others supporting outbreak response to identify opportunities to leverage syndromic surveillance data to better characterize and respond to issues related to COVID-19, including potential spillover health effects unrelated to direct infections
    • Designs, develops, and produces datasets, reports, and data visualizations to show trends in COVID-19 activity using syndromic surveillance data for use by DOH practitioners, local heath jurisdictions and tribes, and others as needed
    • Assist with efforts to model the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington to better predict geographical spread, severity, impact on persons at increased risk, burden on the healthcare system, and other key factors
    • Develops, validates, and utilizes advanced analytical tools including text mining and machine learning to improve surveillance practice
    • Develop, monitor, and summarize syndromic surveillance indicators for lifting or implementing non-pharmaceutical interventions across the state
    • Use syndromic surveillance data to describe comorbidities and outcomes of COVID-19 cases
    • Develop innovative methods to analyze trends in data given drastic and frequent changes in underlying data
    • Provide support to local health jurisdiction, DOH, and other personnel on appropriate use and interpretation of syndromic surveillance data.
  • Leads efforts to enhance reporting for COVID-19-Like-Illness (CLI) and confirmed COVID-19 using syndromic surveillance data Tasks include:
    • Ensures that validated patient visit data for participating ILINet clinics and hospitals are available to CDC.
    • As appropriate, expands participation in ILINet among syndromic surveillance data submitters
    • Extracts and analyzes the syndromic surveillance data that will be used to determine the percentage of visits due to influenza-like illness, and characterizes the population served by each facility
    • Monitors processes that link syndromic surveillance records to case reports of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
    • Compile and summarize data obtained from external data sources to enable more complete description of hospitalization and ventilator status, among other key variables
  • Other duties as assigned




  • Minimum qualifications
    • Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology, biostatistics, data science, or a related field.
    • Graduate coursework in epidemiology and biostatistics
    • Prior experience in ESSENCE or with other syndromic surveillance platforms/tools
  • Desired qualifications
    • Communicable disease epidemiology experience working in a public health agency or similar setting.
    • Experience with SQL, Rhapsody, and/or HL7 messaging
    • Experience analyzing and interpreting clinical data especially from hospitals and Emergency Department
    • Experience with electronic medical record systems and/or using medical record data
    • Experience developing geospatial visualizations and/or developing spatial-temporal cluster detection
    • Experience preparing effective data visualizations
    • Experience working with stakeholders and/or customer service background

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