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Questions and Answers

Resources for Research Fellows
General Information

The Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships for HIV Prevention in Communities of Color are conducted at the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention which is a division of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As such, they are part of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Research Participation Programs.

Here are some frequently asked questions about the way this post-doctoral fellowship program is conducted and administered, both by ORISE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Q: Who is eligible for this particular fellowship?
A: Applicants must have a doctoral degree (PhD, ScD, DrPH) in the behavioral sciences, social sciences, epidemiology, public health, or related fields, or MD/MPH (or expect their degree by May, 2013). Applicants with documented research expertise or experience in communities of color (African Americans, Latinos/Hispanics, American Indian/Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders) are preferred. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.

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Resources for Research Fellows

Q: What are the guidelines for travel?
A: Branch Chiefs grant approval for travel based on a travel budget . Expect 1 or 2 professional trips per year for your advancement (presentations at conferences, training workshops). Your mentor will assist you in determining which trips would be most advantageous.

Q: Are there funds for obtaining books and articles?
A: Limited funds are available for the purchase of books. Books that are purchased become the property of CDC. CDC has a literature search service that will provide fellows with copies of requested articles free of charge.

Q: Is standard research software available on our computers?
A: Available software includes Adobe Acrobat, Word 2010, Outlook, CDC Intranet, CDC computer support, Internet Explorer, Excel 2010, Cisco IPTV Viewer, Windows Media Player, PowerPoint 2010, and PKZIP for Windows. Statistical and other software can be made available upon request.

Q: Is there access to phone/printer/photocopy/office supplies?
A: Yes.

Q: Will I be able to have business cards?
A: Fellows may purchase their own business cards.

Q: Will my office space be near my mentor or with other fellows?
A: Branch chiefs will do their best to provide office space that is close to your mentor.

Q: Where can I find out about developmental opportunities such as CDC seminars, conferences, and work-groups?
A.: The CDC website contains much of this information. In addition, you will receive regular email updates about upcoming seminars and other educational activities.

Q: Where can I learn about courses at CDC and Emory?
A: The Emory University Internet siteLink to non-CDC web site lists Emory University courses. The CDC intranet lists CDC courses. From the CDC Connects Web site select "Training."

Q: How are Fellows reimbursed for training fees, conference registration fees, or tuition?
A: A Request for Payment form is available from ORISE. This form is completed by fellows, approved by your mentor and fellowship director, and can be faxed or mailed to ORISE for payment. This form is available on the ORISE Web site.Link to non-CDC web site From the home page, select "Current Research Participant," then select "Forms."

Q: What travel services does ORISE provide?
A: ORISE has travel agents who handle reservations for airline, hotel, rental cars, etc. Travel forms are available from ORISE. Approval by your mentor and fellowship director is required before submission of these forms. The forms are available on the ORISE Web site.Link to non-CDC web site From the home page, select "Current Research Participant," then select "Forms."

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General Information

Q: What is the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education?
A: The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) was established by the U.S. Department of Energy to undertake national and international programs in education, training, health, and the environment. ORISE and its programs are operated by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) through a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy. Established in 1946, ORAU is a consortium of colleges and universities.

Q: What is the address of the fellowship offices (for my housing hunt)?
A: The research fellowship offices are located at Corporate Square, Building 8 on the 5th Floor. The office address is: 8 Corporate Square, N.E., Mail-Stop D-21, Atlanta, GA 30329-2013. (Near North Druid Hills and Buford Highway.)

Q: Does the CDC ORISE fellowship qualify for deferment of student loans?
A: Yes, the fellowship qualifies as education, and therefore fellows may request deferment. The lending institution sends a form to be completed by ORISE which is then sent back to the lender for deferment.

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Insurance Questions

Q: Is health insurance a requirement of the program?
A: Yes, the Terms of Fellowship Appointment require that fellows have coverage under a health insurance plan.

Q: Is health insurance available through ORISE?
A: Yes, all fellows are eligible for ORISE health insurance, or they may purchase insurance elsewhere. Inclusion of insurance as part of your stipend payment depends on your CDC research program.

Q: How much is ORISE health insurance, and what does it include?
A: Please see to non-CDC web site for additional information.

Q: How soon does the ORISE health insurance become effective?
A: If a fellow does not have coverage at the start of the appointment, the effective date will be the first day of the fellowship appointment. If this is a change from another insurance company, then the effective date will be the day after the other insurance ends unless a fellow requests an earlier effective date.

Q: When are health insurance cards mailed?
A: It takes about a month to get the insurance card in the mail. The insurance booklet sent to new fellows contains a purple insert which gives the group number/ID number needed for both prescription drugs and doctor's appointments.

Q: Why would two insurance premiums be deducted from a fellow's first stipend?
A: This depends on when in the month the coverage takes effect. If the coverage takes effect during the first 15 days of a month, the fellow must pay for the current month and the next month, since premiums are paid in advance. However, if the coverage begins after the 15th, then the fellow only pays the one premium for the next month.

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Participation Questions

Q: How are applicants notified of their selection?
A: When ORISE receives a selection form from the CDC, an offer packet with details of the fellowship appointment is sent by Federal Express to the applicant. In addition, CDC sends an offer letter.

Q: What is the best way to get the signed appointment documents back to ORISE?
A: Send signed documents by fax to Dr. Donna Hubbard McCree at CDC. The fax number is (404) 638-0897. Remember to mail the original documents to Dr. McCree at: CDC, 1600 Clifton Road, MS D-21, Atlanta, GA 30333.

Q: Is there any flexibility in start and end dates for fellows?
A: Yes, but only in emergency situations.
Start and end dates are firm unless there are serious extenuating circumstances. All such emergency requests are subject to approval from the research mentor, and the fellowship director and must be confirmed in an appointment letter to the fellow from ORISE.

Q: Are fellows considered to be employees of the CDC or ORISE?
A: No. Research fellows are research program participants and are NOT in an employer/employee relationship with either CDC or ORISE.

Q: Do fellows get paid vacation or sick leave?
A: There are NO benefits such as vacation or sick leave since fellows are NOT employees of either CDC or of ORISE. However, mentors will help design a schedule that is mutually agreeable. The fellows are not expected to be present on days that the CDC facility is closed for holidays. If a fellow needs time off for any extended period of time and cannot make up the lost time, then the mentor, at his or her discretion, will notify ORISE and the fellow will be put on leave-without-pay status until he/she returns.

Q: How do fellows receive their stipends?
A: A stipend check is paid according to a prearranged schedule for fellows. Direct deposit of stipend checks is highly encouraged and is available by completing an EFT Authorization Form. Pay dates are generally the last business day of each month. The first payment will be made after all required paperwork is returned to ORISE and after the CDC has returned the Certification of Start Form.

Q: What is a fellow's tax liability for stipends received during the appointment?
A: All stipends paid to fellows are reported to the Internal Revenue Service, and a 1099 Form is issued to the fellow each year at the end of January. Taxes are NOT withheld from the stipend payments. Fellows are responsible for paying their own taxes and should consider filing Form 1040-ES to pay estimated taxes. For foreign nationals, the rules are different. Participants who have no tax withheld from their stipend payment can expect to receive an annual Statement of Payments letter from ORAU. Designed to help with tax preparation, this statement will be sent by February and will include the total amount of payments made by ORAU during the previous calendar year.

Q: Can stipend checks and other ORISE payments be direct deposited?
A: Yes, ORISE uses electronic fund transfer (EFT) to make stipend, travel reimbursement, and other program-related payments. EFT is a safe, proven, and effective method of payment, and almost all financial institutions are able to accept EFT. Stipend payments are credited to the account on the pay day with funds available immediately on that day. Travel reimbursements can be credited to the account as soon as the travel expenses are audited by ORISE. Complete the EFT Authorization Form for this service.

Q: What are the benefits of EFT?
A: ORISE cannot guarantee on-time mail delivery of checks given that postal delivery can occasionally be disrupted or delayed. EFT ensures that payments are deposited promptly without worry about checks being delayed, lost, or misdirected. EFT saves time and effort because you do not have to go to the bank to deposit checks.

Q: What is ERADS?
A: The Electronic Remittance Advice Delivery System (ERADS) is currently available for travel reimbursements. When the travel reimbursement is electronically deposited, the ERADS system sends an e-mail notification of the deposit. If ORISE auditors make a change to the reimbursement amount on the Travel Expense Statement, a copy of the revised TES will be e-mailed to the participant, and the EFT should occur within a few days. The ERADS notification confirms that the EFT has occurred.

Q: Is ERADS available for stipend payments?
A: Not yet. A paper check stub is mailed to the participant’s address after EFT of the stipend payment. The stub (statement of earnings) details the stipend and deductions for the pay period and the year to date.

Q: How do fellows sign up for EFT/ERADS?
A: It’s easy! Just fill out the EFT/ERADS Authorization Form, available at the  ORISE Web site.Link to non-CDC web site From the homepage, select "Current Research Participant," then select "Forms." After completing the EFT/ERADS Authorization Form, attach the required voided check or deposit slip. Fellows must verify the account and transit routing numbers with their bank or financial institution. Return the form to: ORISE, CDC—Communities of Color Fellowship Program, MS 36, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-0117.

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Last Modified: October 3, 2012
Last Reviewed: October 3, 2012
Content Source:
Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

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