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Building Epidemiology Capacity

Field epidemiology is an essential component of effective public health practice, and developing such capacity is a critical step in a country's efforts to improve the health of its citizens. Since 1975, a total of 28 Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) have been established worldwide (Figure). Most FETPs have resulted from partnerships among CDC, host country health agencies, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and others. Modeled on CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), FETPs follow the EIS approach of combining service with training. FETPs also participate in the Training Programs in the Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network, which provides a venue for information sharing, program development, and quality improvement. In 2003, EIS and FETPs graduated approximately 250 field epidemiologists. Four reports in this issue of MMWR illustrate how FETPs respond to health needs, and two reports describe the need to improve epidemiologic capacity in the United States.

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Figure 1
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