Taiwan Field Epidemiology Training Program

Program overview

The Taiwan FETP was established in 1984 with assistance from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience in field investigations and analysis of practical cases. Originally, FETP was supervised by the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control (BCDC) of the Department of Health. For more effective cooperation with other public health agencies, FETP merged into the National Institute of Preventive Medicine (NIPM) in 1988. After the enterovirus outbreak in 1998, FETP, along with BCDC, NIPM, and the Disease Surveillance and Quarantine Service, reformed as the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control in 2000. Since FETP began in the 1980s, eight to 12 trainees with varying educational backgrounds in health-related fields are recruited into the two-year training program each year. In 2005, Taiwan CDC began to recruit medical officers in preparation for emerging infectious diseases. Since then, FETP has become a mandatory training program for newly recruited medical officers. There are now a total of 32 cohorts, with over 100 graduates having successfully completed their training. Each graduate receives a certificate and becomes an FETP consultant.

Achievements

During the past few years, the program has been altered to better comply with international standards which recommend a shift toward competence-based training. The length of introductory didactic training has thus decreased to four weeks, during which trainees are taught the fundamentals of public health, including epidemiology, biostatistics, public health ethics and law, surveillance, outbreak investigation, and communication. After completing this basic discipline, each trainee participates in the investigation of disease outbreaks and surveillance evaluation. In the second year of training, the fellows conduct their own long-term research projects. These projects focus on current health problems in Taiwan. Fellows also have the opportunity to participate in national and international conferences. The FETP trainees' presentations and publications are listed on the Taiwan FETP website.