Guatemala Field Epidemiology Training Program

Program overview

After Hurricane Mitch in November 1998, as a request from the Ministry of Public Health of Guatemala to the government of the United States, the need for support was raised to develop highly qualified human resources in an epidemiological approach, which would contribute to improving the health status of the population. For this reason, in 2001, with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) was started, in coordination with the Department of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health, starting with the training of three professionals who worked in said department, thus developing a training model at three levels: local epidemiology training (CEAL), which is currently the basic level; a specialization in applied epidemiology (EEA), which is currently the intermediate level; and finally, the master's level (currently the advanced level).

From 2001 to 2005, accreditation for the intermediate level was provided by the University of San Carlos of Guatemala (USAC).

In order to continue strengthening epidemiology in the country, the proposal was made to organizationally elevate the Epidemiology department to the National Center. This resulted in the creation of the Epidemiological Development Department, in which resides the Unit for Strengthening the Epidemiology Network, whose main mission is to conduct the Field Epidemiology Program.

In order to establish a standardized and high-quality curriculum in field epidemiology for the different levels and to receive technical support to strengthen the program, in Guatemala and the Central American region in 2006, it was decided to transfer the program to the University of the Valley of Guatemala. Then the association of the University of North Carolina (UCN) was sought, with the strategic objective of forming a center of excellence in field epidemiology. This center of excellence established the Training Program with the new Curriculum, which would support the pyramidal training model (three levels), the Guatemala Program being a pioneer.


Guatemala was the country that proposed the three-tiered education system of the FETP that is currently used around the world. Among other achievements are the national epidemiology scientific congresses held by the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance; the series of papers presented in the form of poster and oral scientific presentations in most of the regional and world conferences organized by TEPHINET, and the presentations in the regional scientific meetings of REDCEC.