Highlights from the 2021 FETP International Nights

Highlights from the 2021 FETP International Nights, held virtually on July 14-15, 2021:

TEPHINET and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) co-organized this year’s FETP International Nights, an event typically held during the annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference in Atlanta. Following the cancellation of the 2021 EIS Conference, the two organizations decided to move forward with FETP International Nights as a stand-alone, virtual event. The annual event has become a highly anticipated forum for the global Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) community over the last two decades, and provides an opportunity for FETP trainees and graduates to share their work with the scientific community. 

On Wednesday, July 14,  Dr. Seymour Williams, FETP Team Lead at CDC, welcomed attendees from around the globe to the two-day virtual conference. TEPHINET Director, Dr. Carl Reddy offered opening remarks ahead of poster presentations, which were moderated by Anaité Diaz (Director of Epidemiology, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala), Dr. Fatima Zahra Benfouila (Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health of Morocco), Cynthia Semá Baltazar (Director, Mozambique Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP),  National Institute of Health of Mozambique), Dr. Alden Henderson (Epidemiologist, CDC), Dr. Augusto Lopez (Medical Officer, CDC), Dr. Linda Quick (Medical Officer, CDC), Dr. Peter Thomas (Epidemiologist, CDC), and Dr. Lazarus Kuonza (Director, South Africa FETP, Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, National Institute for Communicable Diseases). Due to cancellation of the 2020 EIS Conference, this year’s event had an overwhelming number of excellent abstracts for review, resulting in an increase in the number of accepted posters from 20 to 40. All 40 of the accepted abstracts can be viewed in the abstract booklet, attached below. PowerPoint presentations of each of the 40 posters can also be found on the event website.

On day 2 (watch the video of day 2 here), attendees were welcomed by Dr. Ronald Moolenaar, Associate Director for Science for the Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP), Center for Global Health, CDC, followed by opening remarks from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. Both speakers emphasized the important contributions of FETP to global health protection, with Dr. Walensky advocating for continued investment in global field epidemiology capacity building. Oral presentations were moderated by Dr. David Sugerman, Resident Advisor to the Ethiopia Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP), and included the following six abstracts: 

  • “Factors associated with an outbreak of COVID-19 in oilfield workers, Kazakhstan, June-September, 2020” (authors: Ryszhan Taubayeva [presenter], Ainur Maratova, Sayagul Nassyrova)
  • “Risk factors associated with frequent outbreaks of Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in Sindh Province, Pakistan: A Case-Control Study”(authors: Nayyar Nawaz [presenter], Muhammad Asif Syed, Adnan Khan, Aamir Hussain, Arslan Memon)
  • “Monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and reasons for vaccine acceptance, Finland, April to December 2020” (authors: Charlotte C. Hammer [presenter], Veronica Cristea, Thimothee Dub, Jonas Sivelä)
  • “Prevalence of suspected SARS-CoV-2 reinfection among the Zambian population: Zambia, 2020-2021” (authors: Nyambe Sinyange, Oliver Mweso [presenter])
  • “Beriberi (thiamine hypovitaminosis) outbreak investigation among male prisoners in a state public jail, Brazil, 2020” (authors: Lais Relvas [presenter], Magda Duarte, Danielle Castanha, Maria Amelia Costa, Naila Juliana Araujo, Dihna Miranda, Marcio Henrique Garcia)
  • “Household Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from Children and Adolescents, United States” (authors: Eric Pevzner, Victoria T. Chu, Anna R. Yousaf [presenter], Karen Chang, Noah G. Schwartz, Clinton J. McDaniel, Christine M. Szablewski, Marie Brown, Kathryn Winglee, Scott H. Lee, Zhaohui Cui, Adebola Adebayo, Tiffany Aholou, Minal M. Amin, Peter Aryee, Cindy Castaneda, Trudy Chambers, Amy C. Fleshman, Christin Goodman, Tony Holmes, Asha Ivey-Stephenson, Emiko Kamitani, Susan Katz, Jennifer Knapp, Maureen Kolasa, Maranda Lumsden, Erin Mayweather, Asfia Mohammed, Anne Moorman, Alpa Patel-Larson, Lara Perinet, Mark Pilgard, Deirdre D. Pratt, Shanica Railey, Jaina Shah, Dawn Tuckey, Emilio Dirlikov, Dale Rose, Julia Villanueva, Alicia M. Fry, Aaron J. Hall, Hannah L. Kirking, Jacqueline E. Tate, Cherie L. Drenzek, Tatiana M. Lanzieri, Rebekah J. Stewart)

As TEPHINET’s first-ever virtual conference, adaptations were made to the typical format and we are grateful for the flexibility and patience of our presenters, and the 735 attendees who joined us over the two days. 

Awards and Recognitions

Director's Award for Excellence in Epidemiology and Public Health Response: This award is presented in recognition of significant contributions toward successful responses to public health emergencies. It was decided that an award would be given for last year’s nominations, as well as nominations from 2021. The 2020 recipient is the Pakistan Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP). The 2021 recipient is the Uganda Public Health Fellowship Program. 

Jeffrey P. Koplan Award for Excellence in Scientific Presentation: This award is presented to the winner of the scientific poster presentation that most effectively emphasizes the results of an investigation and its impact on public health. This year's recipient is Micaela Gauto for her presentation of the abstract: “COVID-19 in chronic dialysis patients: one year of pandemic in Argentina”. Micaela is the first ever recipient of this award from the Latin American region. 

William H. Foege Award: This award is the highest FETP International Night presentation honor and is given to the best oral presentation. This year's recipient is Oliver Mweso, for his presentation of the abstract: “Prevalence of suspected SARS-CoV-2 reinfection among the Zambian population: Zambia, 2020-2021”.

Sara Lowther FETP Memorial Award: This award provides support to a fellow or recent graduate of an FETP to conduct a project that makes significant contributions to infectious disease prevention and control in their country. The award honors the memory of Dr. Sara Lowther, who made significant contributions to public health and passed away in May 2020. This was the award’s inaugural year, and the recipient is Jessica Yun for her project: “Evaluation of the CoughWatchSA application as a digital participatory surveillance platform, January-July 2021”.

Photo Contest: Each year, TEPHINET and the CDC organize a photo contest to showcase the visual communication of field epidemiological work. A panel of judges from TEPHINET and the CDC selected the top three winners, and TEPHINET also posted the photos to its Facebook page for a vote from its followers. The winners are as follows:

  • 1st place: Lahja Ndapewa Omagano Ipinge, Namibia
  • 2nd place: Lilibeth Romero Mendoza , Colombia
  • 3rd place: Ehab Al-Sakkaf, Yemen

FETP International Nights Photo Contest Winners