Network of South American FETPs Holds Strategic Planning Workshop to Grow Field Epidemiology Capacity in the Region

The network of South American Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs), or REDSUR, aims to strengthen activities focused on epidemiology and public health promotion across South America. Though the network was established a number of years ago, there have been recent discussions around further strengthening its presence in the region. As FETPs in the region work to grow their programs, including launching frontline and intermediate tiers, REDSUR aims to serve as a collaborative network that supports the development and strengthening of training programs through partnership and sharing of best practices among its member countries. These efforts also come during a time of considerable focus on building regional workforce capacity to detect and respond to public health threats. 

From April 18 to 22, 2022, the Colombia FETP and Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS), with support from TEPHINET, hosted a weeklong strategic planning workshop to establish goals for the network and identify an approach for determining its structure and leadership. Representatives from TEPHINET, U.S. CDC’s Workforce and Institute Development Branch (WIDB), Colombia FETP, INS Colombia, CDC SAM, and REDSUR member countries–including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and  Uruguay–utilized unique strategic planning methods to stimulate discussions around REDSUR’s identity, legal framework, communications plan, and strategy for increasing field epidemiology capacity in the region. Following prompts from the workshop’s facilitator, attendees utilized LEGO bricks to build representations of REDSUR’s identity, ideal future state, strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities, communications plan, and strategies for success. 

During the meeting, member countries also defined roles and responsibilities within REDSUR, selecting Colombia to coordinate efforts to strengthen the network and implement its strategic plan.