Accreditation workshop group photo 10.27.19.jpg

Accreditation workshop attendees and facilitators


FETP Accreditation: Understanding the Process and Standards and Preparing and Improving Your Program

Thomas Aiken, Communications Coordinator

On October 27, 2019, the day before the 10th TEPHINET Global Scientific Conference, TEPHINET conducted an accreditation workshop in Atlanta, GA, USA for the program directors of field epidemiology training programs (FETPs) offering two-year, advanced-level training. The FETP Accreditation: Understanding the Process and Standards and Preparing and Improving Your Program workshop was an interactive, engaging and participatory all-day event.  FETP leaders from 28 countries and regions1 attended the workshop, which had a total of 28 participants and three facilitators, some of whom traveled more than 20 hours to attend.

FETP Accreditation is a process of ensuring all eligible  FETPs are held to a similar standard and provide a baseline of quality training. The purpose of the workshop was to inform participants about the application process and required preparation to apply for accreditation. During the workshop, participants actively engaged in organized games with an objective to learn the accreditation standards and indicators. One of the highlights of the workshop was a three-act play, written by TEPHINET’s Accreditation Manager, Lorie Burnett, MPA, MEd, PMP, used to teach the process of accreditation, the indicators and standards of accreditation and how to prepare your program to be eligible for accreditation. Burnett recognizes the differences in learning styles and found a way to educate and inform the various participants though theatre. 

“Many participants traveled long distances to attend this workshop before having a chance to overcome jet lag. I created two new interactive activities to keep people out of their seats and moving, and to introduce information in a different, more interesting way,” says Burnett. “People learn in different ways, but theatre crosses culture and offers a chance to learn by doing, which is core to FETP itself.” 

The activities and games at this year’s workshop brought active participation among people from different regions. French and Spanish speakers were present to help translate information. The structuring of the workshop and theatrical moments offered a new experience and opportunity for learning about accreditation and left an impact on participants.

“The structuring of the workshop program, its participatory dynamics, and the creative use of directed role-playing (the theatrical interludes) made this workshop a unique opportunity,” says Dr. Carmen Sanchez-Vargas, one of the facilitators. “I don't think I have ever participated in such a creative, well-organized, fun and effective workshop.”

Some of the participants also expressed their excitement and the effectiveness of the activities and theatrics. Participants like Dr. Angela Song-En Huang, from the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, started thinking about adopting the teaching techniques for future use.

“Through the activities, everyone was able to learn about the importance of accreditation, the necessity of documentation and the process of getting accredited,” says Huang. “Participants were given the chance to think, discuss, and actually had some fun. I am now thinking about how I might be able to use the same method to do other trainings.” 

Currently, only advanced-level training programs can apply for accreditation; however, in 2020, TEPHINET will launch a pilot cycle of accreditation for FETPs that offer intermediate-level training. 

1Angola, Argentina, Belize, Egypt, El Savador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Jordan, AFENET (Uganda), Malaysia, Mozambique, Namiba, Peru, Rwanda, SAFETYNET, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden (EPIET), Taiwan, Turkey, Turkey/WHO, Vietnam, Uganda, USA, Zambia