From September 2 to 6, the Philippines Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) held its 32nd annual scientific conference with the theme, “Field Epidemiology in the Era of Universal Health Care” in Cagayan de Oro City. Approximately 100 participants attended including FETP staff, fellows, alumni, officials from the Philippines Department of Health, and special guests.
During the conference, FETP fellows from cohorts 28 and 29 gave oral presentations on their outbreak investigations, program assessments, and other work. Participants also were able to view posters of scientific students conducted by the Epidemiology Bureau; regional, local, and hospital epidemiology and surveillance units, and partner agencies.
TEPHINET’s Communications Manager, Tina Rezvani, attended the event and conducted a half-day workshop on visual communications on September 4 as well as a demonstration of TEPHIConnect, TEPHINET’s online networking platform for FETP alumni, during the program’s alumni association gathering on September 3. A total of 24 FETP fellows, graduates, and staff attended the communications workshop.
“We know how important it is for scientists to be able to clearly and concisely communicate their findings, because we’ve seen the consequences of the opposite,” says Rezvani. “It’s excellent to see an increased focus on strengthening scientific writing skills, but visual communication is important as well. Think of how the majority of people obtain their information today. I don’t expect epidemiologists to become designers (though I would happily welcome them over to the dark side), but anyone can learn basic best practices that can heighten the impact of your visual materials.”
The workshop was well-received, with 23 of 24 participants giving it the highest possible evaluation score.
On the evening of September 4, the FETP celebrated the graduation of its 27th and 28th cohorts. The Department of Health recognized all seven of the program’s new alumni as “Public Health Specialists in Applied Epidemiology.” TEPHINET congratulates the program and its fellows and graduates on more than three decades of contributions towards strengthening public health in the Philippines.
Two weeks after the conference, an outbreak of polio was declared in the Philippines after 19 years. The Department of Health and its partners are currently responding to this outbreak with a team that includes FETP fellows and graduates.