Singapore Field Epidemiology Training Program

Program overview

The Singapore Field Epidemiology Training Program (S-FETP) has introduced a three-tiered pyramid model for Singapore’s sustainable field epidemiology workforce development. S-FETP will be open to medical and public health officers as a collaboration between the National Center for Infectious Diseases and the School of Public Health, tapping into each other’s strengths.

A student trainee is expected to learn field epidemiologic methods in managing outbreaks, evaluating the surveillance system, conducting simple studies, and exercising competence with written and oral communications. To support our conventional training, we have established a virtual Survivor School to present the training curriculum. The emphasis on an experiential learning journey is practiced in creative ways, such as by having a training assistant named Debby bring student trainees on a “L.E.G.O.” journey which focuses on four key themes:

  • Leadership in the community – acquiring the correct values and attitudes
  • Epidemic intelligence primer – seeing ecological and behavioral determinants
  • Global health security – responding to public health emergencies
  • Outbreak management – honing assessment, disease control, and communication skills.

Achievements

In a 2018 detailed assessment of S-FETP’s capacity to meet International Health Regulations (IHR) core functions across three workforce development indicators, the WHO-Singapore Joint External Evaluation (JEE) assessors scored S-FETP the maximum of 5/5 and counted as one of its best practices the program’s “novel training methods to maintain interest level and engage millennials on the subject matter.”

Rating the training as, “having demonstrated sustainable capacity", the assessors noted that essential competencies had been mapped to guide continuous professional development of staff with opportunities for further career growth, and recommended, as a priority, a further review of training to meet the changing needs of Singapore’s public health workforce, and to share Singapore’s experiences with the wider global health workforce.