TEPHINET and GOARN Continue International Outbreak Response Training for FETP Trainees and Graduates

During the first two weeks of July 2021, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and TEPHINET co-hosted two separate two-day virtual workshops for Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) fellows and alumni aimed at preparing them for working in the field on GOARN outbreak response missions. This was the third time this year that TEPHINET and GOARN offered the workshop (“GOARN Tier 1.5 Training: Orientation to International Outbreak Response”) to FETP trainees and graduates. Seventy FETP fellows and alumni from 25 countries participated. 

This training provides an opportunity for field epidemiologists to engage in interactive learning and hear from previous GOARN deployees about their experiences in the field. Through group discussions, personal stories, and scenario-based exercises, the workshop covers topics including expectations and responsibilities of deployed field epidemiologists, tips for responding to challenges in the field, and how to prepare for a mission.

According to a post-workshop survey, attendees found the training to be extremely valuable, highlighting its multidisciplinary and collaborative approach and interactive components. Participants also noted the benefit of hearing from a team of experts with field deployment experience, with many pinpointing former deployees' stories from the field as one of the most useful and unique components of the training. 

“This training is highly valuable to field epidemiologists, particularly trainees, because it teaches field-relevant skills delivered by facilitators who have had first-hand experience, and have been in international outbreak scenarios with multidisciplinary teams,” Akanbi Dayo, a resident of the Nigerian Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP), shared when asked why the training was useful for FETP residents and alumni. 

GOARN has deployed more than 3,000 people for outbreak response missions between 2000-2020, with 24 deployed through TEPHINET. Overall, attendees came away feeling prepared for, and enthusiastic about, field deployment. 

Dr. Ahmad Suleiman Idris, a Nigeria FELTP resident, stated, “As an epidemiologist and a GOARN tier 1.5 trainee, I now know what to expect in the field and what is expected of me. The training was like that first dip one takes with the tip of the toe to check the temperature of the water before jumping into the pool." 

Upcoming GOARN trainings, as well as opportunities for FETP fellows and graduates to apply for GOARN deployments or TEPHINET-led emergency response trainings are advertised on the TEPHIConnect platform. FETP graduates can sign up for a TEPHIConnect account by visiting TEPHIConnect.org and following the steps in this video.