Since 2007, the Vancouver Coastal Health Public Health Surveillance Unit, within the office of Vancouver Costal Health’s (VCH) Chief Medical Health Officer, has applied innovative, efficient, and effective tools to help its epidemiologists and information analysts support regional public health practices via health assessment, disease surveillance, outbreak investigations, and knowledge exchange. The unit conducts the timely surveillance and examination of acute events within the VCH community, using front-line data. There is likely no other local health jurisdiction across Canada that examines the breadth and depth of surveillance indicators monitored by PHSU on a weekly basis. The Public Health Surveillance Unit was integral to providing daily public health status reports during the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics. The Health Watch newsletter was published 41 times during the Games and covered disease surveillance, health system impact, food service closures, air and water quality indicators, emergency management advisories, and health promotional messages. Health Watch was well received by a range of health and non-health partners at the local, regional, provincial, national, and international level. The newsletter continues as a monthly publication. In addition, the WHO Advisory Group on Mass Gatherings further disseminates Health Watch to a broad international audience, including a number of future host jurisdictions for mass gatherings.
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