January 2018 Policy Surveillance Conference


On January 18-19, 2018, the Center for Public Health Law Research hosted a small, invitation-only conference to discuss the emerging field of policy surveillance. The conference worked to define the state of the field, discuss key methods issues, and chart a path forward for future coordination and collaboration.

The conference sought to answer a series of questions aimed at defining and coalescing the field:

  1. How do we do what we do? We will explore techniques and methods, and aim to build consensus around a set of standard practices.
  2. How do we share what we do? We will discuss open data, dissemination practices and methods, and audiences.
  3. How do we use technology in our work? We will identify existing and emerging technologies that may support the organization and storage of legal data, coding, and publication of data and legal text.
  4. How do we describe what we do? We will seek to identify a standard nomenclature for the field.


Final Report and Next Steps

During the conference, working groups were devised by the participants and included Field-building, Research Methods, Implementation, Local Policy Surveillance, International Policy Surveillance, Data Standards, and Funding. This report was produced by Scott Burris, JD, director of the Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research in collaboration with the attendees of the Policy Surveillance Conference to summarize the discussion and outline the next steps for the field.

Download the report via SSRN


This conference was supported by an R13 grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse to the Center for Public Health law Research, and has been coordinated by Scott Burris, JD, Director of the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University, in conjunction with an organizing committee consisting of Kathryn Herron, President and CEO for CDM Group; and Matthew Penn, JD, MLIS, Director of the CDC Public Health Law Program.