Universal language for mass gathering events

A universal language for mass gathering events worldwide is under development by the Torrens Resilience Institute, based in South Australia.

There is an identified need for standardised terminology and measures for us in research and reporting across mass gathering events around the world.

Data cannot be collated or compared effectively across events without common terminology and measures for its collection. Developing data terminology and concepts agreed by consensus will create a common worldwide framework for standardised reporting of mass gatherings.

An internationally agreed mass gathering health minimum data set and accompanying data dictionary would enable:

Comparisons of data collected at different events

  • Consistency in how data is communicated across events worldwide
  • Research findings to be more robust and more generalisable across events

Terminology and concepts related to mass gatherings and mass gathering health have not been well defined. Nor have they been used in a consistent fashion.

Mass gatherings are large (greater than 1000 persons) events at a particular location for a specific purpose, such as music concerts or football games, and which occur frequently around the world. However, international variations in the way data is collected at these events makes comparisons across settings challenging. Data may not be comparable because of differences in the way concepts have been defined and results may not be applicable to other events.

International consensus, particularly with regard to data gathering, is required to address this. Standardised data collection would create a robust evidence base for governments, researchers, clinicians, and event planners.

Paul Arbon, Alison Hutton, Malinda Steenkamp and Olga Anikeeva, from the World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre on Mass Gatherings and High Visibility/High Consequence Events within the Torrens Resilience Institute, are working with other experts from Canberra, Canada and the UK to develop a recommended Mass Gathering Health Minimum Data Set and its accompanying data dictionary. The Minimum Data Set is being developed through an international Delphi process. The first Delphi round was in June 2014, with the second round completed inMarch 2015.

The proposed Minimum Data Set documents will be used by public health professionals, researchers, event planners and response organisations to assemble the Mass Gathering Health data.

The ultimate aim is to create a foundation for risk assessment, allow for the pooling of data for illness and injury prediction, and support methodology for evaluating health promotion, harm reduction, and clinical response interventions at mass gatherings.

This work forms a component of the designated WHO Work Plan for the Flinders University WHO  Collaborating Centre for Mass Gatherings and High Consequence/ High Visibility Events.

For further information please email information@torrensresilience.org or call +61 8 8221 5442