What We Do

Header photo: Mario Alberto Chaparro Rodriguez (Colombia FETP)

As a network, we support FETP quality improvement through our accreditation program, provide learning and professional development opportunities for FETP trainees and graduates through scientific conferences and learning materials, assist with field epidemiology workforce mobilization, and facilitate resource-sharing among FETPs through our networking initiatives.

As an implementing partner to organizations such as the CDC, WHO, the U.S. Department of State, and others, we provide operations and training support to FETPs through funded projects.

    Our Key Work Areas
    • FETP quality improvement: Through TEPHINET's Accreditation Program, FETPs have the opportunity to align with common standards to support quality training. FETPs can apply for accreditation status, which is granted by the TEPHINET Global Accrediting Body.
    • Workforce mobilization: Through TEPHIConnect (an online alumni networking platform for FETP alumni), and in collaboration with FETPs and regional FETP networks, TEPHINET aims to facilitate the mobilization of experienced and qualified epidemiology staff to support emergency response.
    • Continuous learning: Through its continuous learning program, TEPHINET aims to build and strengthen a well-trained and professional global field epidemiology workforce prepared to address evolving public health priorities.
    • Knowledge exchange: TEPHINET will facilitate knowledge exchange through meetings and scientific conferences, via our website, social media platforms, publications and through TEPHIConnect.
    • Operational support to FETPs: TEPHINET's project management team offers financial, administrative, human resources and logistical support to FETPs to address disease detection and outbreak response as well as implement collaborative meetings and scientific events. Projects are primarily implemented through sub-contracts and consultants hired by TEPHINET through grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Department of State.
    Our Mission Strategic Priorities for 2017-2020:
    • Improve the understanding of TEPHINET’s mission and role among stakeholders.
    • Strengthen the quality of FETPs and their graduates through program accreditation.
    • Support continuous learning within the global FETP community.
    • Increase peer-to-peer assistance.
    • Facilitate workforce mobilization in response to global disease threats.
    • Elevate TEPHINET’s voice and profile as a thought leader.
    • Continue support to build organizational capacity and sustainability of FETPs at global, regional and program levels.

    Learn More about FETPs

    What is a Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP)?

    A Field Epidemiology Training Program, or FETP, is a program that builds capacity in health service agencies (for example, ministries of health or national public health institutes) by training the public health workforce in field epidemiology and other public health competencies in the context of health delivery systems. Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programs (FELTPs) and Field Epidemiology Training Programs for Veterinarians (FETPVs) incorporate laboratory and veterinary components are part of their core training curricula.

    In 1980, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began supporting the development of FETPs in countries throughout the world using its Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) as a model. The FETP initiative has become enormously successful, such that after 40 years of investment by CDC, other U.S. Government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Union (EU), individual countries, philanthropic foundations, and others, there are now 87 FETPs serving more than 160 countries and territories throughout the world.

    FETPs provide critically needed public health and global health security services through a mentored, learn-by-doing approach that emphasizes fieldwork and improves the effectiveness of the workforce and the systems required to provide those services.

    How Do FETPs Strengthen Public Health Systems?

    FETPs and FELTPs are designed to strengthen public health systems in four specific ways:

    1. By increasing the number and quality of field epidemiologists in the public health workforce;

    2. By developing worldwide capacity for timely detection, investigation of, and response to public health emergencies;

    3. By improving capacity to collect public health data through improved disease surveillance systems and use the data collected effectively; and

    4. By promoting the use of evidence-based recommendations in public health decision-making and policies.

    What is the Structure of an FETP?

    Typically, FETPs are housed within ministries of health, national public health institutes, or institutes of higher education. Depending on local needs and resources, programs differ in their personnel structures, cohort sizes, and length of training.

    FETP training follows a three-tiered pyramidal model comprising basic, intermediate, and advanced training. Basic-level FETPs, also known as Frontline FETPs, generally require three months of part-time training. Intermediate-level FETPs generally require nine to 12 months of part-time training (as intermediate FETP aims to keep trainees in their workplaces, trainees receive roughly six to eight weeks of face-to-face modules and complete work-based projects in between). Most advanced-level programs require two years of mentored, full-time training.

    In the advanced programs, 75 percent of the trainees’ experience consists of field training in a country or region that aims to teach the practical application of epidemiological methods in field-based settings. The remaining time consists of classroom training.

    FETP graduates are recognized, often with a certificate, but sometimes with a master’s degree (if the program is degree granting) by the institutions in which their programs function and/or by a partner university. Graduates work in areas including outbreak investigations, disease surveillance, public health program development, general public health services, and urgent health needs. In addition, many graduates return to their FETPs to serve as mentors or trainers.