The Division of Epidemiology within the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences (BIDLS) is tasked with surveillance, response and control activities for all zoonotic, vectorborne, foodborne, waterborne, and BT agents, hepatitis (A,B,C), antibiotic resistant organisms, health care associated infections (HAI) and vaccine preventable diseases.
State Public Health Laboratory
The Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory (MA SPHL) is a CLIA certified diagnostic laboratory resource integrated within BIDLS. The MA SPHL supports multiple MDPH Bureaus and includes four divisions with 18 different laboratories and one office. These include the Divisions of Microbiology, Molecular Diagnostics and Virology, Analytical Chemistry, and Central Services and Specimen Receiving and the Office of Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health.
Health Information Systems
The MDPH Office of Integrated Surveillance and Informatics Services (ISIS) oversees surveillance activities and informatics resources across all divisions and programs within BIDLS. These include the Divisions of Epidemiology, Immunization, STD Prevention and HIV/AIDS Surveillance, and the Division of Global Populations and Infectious Disease Prevention (DGP).
Epidemiology, laboratory and health information systems integration
ELC Governance Team
The Governance Team is maintained and a programmatic meeting occurs monthly with representatives from the laboratory, health information systems, and epidemiology. Program priorities are discussed and decisions are made as a group on achieving objectives, not only for ELC activities, but also for activities outside the program areas that are funded through ELC. A fiscal meeting is also held monthly that includes the Director of the MA SPHL, the Director of ISIS, the Director of the Division of Epidemiology (and Principal Investigator), the state epidemiologist, the Director of Operations and other fiscal representatives, who oversee ELC activities.
Massachusetts has an estimated population of 6.9 million people distributed over 351 official jurisdictions, each responsible for primary case investigation and follow up of approximately 80 infectious diseases. The Local Boards of Health (LBOH) vary in regards to levels of resources and capabilities and local capacity is decreasing overall. There are no county health departments. While some jurisdictions have developed regional systems to increase efficiency, such systems are currently limited in number and scope. Ninety-five percent of the 351 LBOHs are using MDPH’s MAVEN, a secure, electronic, web-based system that enables state and LBOHs to share public health, laboratory, and clinical data efficiently and securely. Through the work described in detail in this document, BIDLS staff will continue to use data, communication strategies, and collaboration with other Bureaus within the MDPH to understand the needs of LBOH and to find novel and meaningful mechanisms to support and engage with them in order to achieve the goals in this grant.