Staying Connected through TEPHIConnect: Groups Offer Opportunities for Closer Collaboration

With more than 1,600 members, or more than ten percent of the global community of field epidemiology training program (FETP) graduates, TEPHIConnect is a vital space for FETP alumni seeking to connect with others for professional and personal development.

As TEPHINET’s online network for FETP alumni, TEPHIConnect welcomes graduates from any level of an FETP (basic, intermediate and advanced) to create a personal profile and share updates—including events, trips, and requests for assistance—with other FETP graduates. Users can also search for opportunities posted by TEPHINET and others.

TEPHIConnect users: To get the most out of the platform, make sure your information is up-to-date, including your language skills, professional history, interest in mentorship and willingness to participate in an emergency response deployment.

TEPHIConnect also offers “groups” as spaces for closer collaboration among smaller sub-networks of users, including graduates from specific countries or regional FETP networks. From June 3-5, TEPHINET held a training workshop for group managers to strengthen their technical and communications skills and improve their ability to deliver relevant, specialized content to their members.

“By strengthening group management, we aim to make the platform even more accessible to FETP graduates at the local level,” says Lisandro Torre, TEPHIConnect Project Manager at TEPHINET.

Workshop participants represented the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), the Caribbean Regional Field Epidemiology Training Program (CR-FELTP), the EPIET Alumni Network (EAN), EpiSUS (the Brazilian FETP), REDSUR (the South American field epidemiology network) and REDCEC (the Central American field epidemiology network).

“The EPIET Alumni Network (EAN) continues to look forward in exploring TEPHIConnect as a platform to connect EAN members with the wider global FETP community; foster interactions and collaborations; and promote and deliver workshops or webinars contributing towards global FETP capacity development, including continued training, for postgraduates,” says Diogo Marques, who attended the workshop on behalf of EAN.

“The field epidemiology career is quite dynamic and is continuously evolving in order to align with the emerging public health challenges of the 21st century,” says Ben Masiira, who attended the workshop on behalf of AFENET. “TEPHIConnect is an essential platform to enable epidemiologists in the African region to be in constant touch with each other as well as networking with other epidemiologists across the globe.”

For group managers, TEPHIConnect is particularly useful for maintaining contact and communicating with alumni within their regions.

“CR-FELTP has many graduates around the Caribbean, and we would like to keep track of them,” says Shelly Rodrigo, who attended the workshop on behalf of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). “We will be using TEPHIConnect to keep them engaged in continuing education training programs, as well as having an accessible pool of trained individuals who can be deployed in regional emergency and disaster situations. We would also like the alumni from the various islands to connect with each other in terms of strengthening the health surveillance system of the region and for research purposes.”

TEPHIConnect members can request access to an existing group by visiting its page and submitting a request directly to the group manager. Members who would like to start their own groups should contact Lisandro Torre at ltorre [at] tephinet [dot] org with their ideas.