A Message from TEPHINET in the Time of COVID-19

Dear TEPHINET Community,

First and foremost, the TEPHINET Secretariat in Atlanta sincerely hopes that each of you is well and personally unaffected by COVID-19, an emergency of unprecedented proportions for our interconnected world.

The Secretariat is operating a bit differently these days. In accordance with expert recommendations on “social distancing” to prevent the spread of COVID-19, each of our team members is working remotely through the end of April, at minimum. We, like many of you and millions of others around the world, are adjusting to our new routines, reprioritizing our projects at work, and juggling our children’s schedules while schools are closed. At the same time, we are also doubling down on our commitment to supporting our incredible network of Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) and their staff, trainees, and graduates, who are on the front lines of responding to COVID-19 across more than 100 countries.

FETPs are crucial for building the field epidemiology capacity countries need in order to deal effectively with outbreaks and protect their populations. We are proud to know, through reporting by our member FETPs and regional FETP networks, that thousands of FETP trainees and graduates are directly involved in (and often leading key efforts in) this response. This is what you trained for, and the world needs you now.

On the other hand, we also know that your work these days is often intense and exhausting, and it may become even more so in the near future. You may be working for weeks at a time without a day off, battling misinformation or a lack of needed resources, which makes your jobs harder, and facing travel restrictions that prevent you from helping where help may be needed most. Know that your hard work is acknowledged and appreciated.

For our part, TEPHINET, as the secretariat of the global FETP network, is working to understand our member programs’ and partner organizations’ needs around COVID-19 and how best we can help. We have begun holding monthly global teleconferences to provide FETPs with a forum to exchange resources and information about their COVID-19 response activities and are exploring ways to use our TEPHIConnect platform for knowledge exchange as well. We are compiling existing, reputable resources on COVID-19 on our Coronavirus Knowledge Hub. Together with partners, we are working on identifying gaps in order to develop resources to help FETP trainees and graduates respond more effectively to COVID-19. We will keep you updated on these efforts.

If you have any questions or comments, you may reach us at secretariat [at] tephinet [dot] org. We would love to hear from you.

This is a challenging time, but we remain deeply inspired by this network of passionate individuals. Thank you all for your dedication, and we hope to see you soon on the waning side of the curve.

Sincerely,

TEPHINET Secretariat