TEPHINET Contributing to Development of One Health-focused FETP Competencies

TEPHINET Director Dr. Carl Reddy is participating in the development of One Health field epidemiology training competencies endorsed by the FAO-OIE-WHO-Tripartite. The Tripartite represents a collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to create and support One Health programs.

Recently, the Tripartite accepted a newly formed operational definition of One Health created by the One Health High Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP): “One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems. It recognizes the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and interdependent. The approach mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines and communities at varying levels of society to work together to foster well-being and tackle threats to health and ecosystems, while addressing the collective need for clean water, energy and air, safe and nutritious food, taking action on climate change, and contributing to sustainable development.”

Dr. Reddy chaired a working group during the November meeting of the Tripartite’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for One Health field epidemiology competencies. The TAG, which is composed of more than 60 global partners in field epidemiology training, met to review proposed changes and further develop field epidemiology competencies for the basic, intermediate, and advanced level Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) curricula. Where possible, the reviewers sought to align the competencies more closely with One Health principles.

Four TAG working groups reviewed a total of 14 curricular domains*. Dr. Reddy’s group was tasked with reviewing the following domains: Laboratory Capacity, Infection Prevention and Control, Biosafety and Biosecurity, and Preparedness and Response. He then presented, to members of the Tripartite initiative and TAG, his group’s review of the competencies for each of these domains.

“The goal of this effort is to develop relevant, standardized, and measurable One Health field epidemiology competencies to ensure that an appropriately trained field epidemiology workforce addresses public health threats,” says Dr. Reddy. 

“Through updated competencies, programs can ensure that their trainees are developing skills in the One Health approach to protecting populations, recognizing the interconnection between human, animal, and environmental health.”

This work will continue into 2022 as the recommendations and competencies are still being finalized.

*The 14 domains include: Surveillance systems, field investigations, disease management, laboratory capacity, infection prevention and control, preparedness and response, data management and biostatistics, informatics and digital tools, epidemiological studies, foundational knowledge, leadership, ethics, training, and communication. An additional subdomain, ecosystem health, is under development.