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Public Health Prevention Service

The Public Health Prevention Service (PHPS) has been an important public health training and leadership program for capacity-building for CDC and the public health field as a whole. The final PHPS class was hired by CDC/PHPS in 2012 and will graduate in 2015, with the program ending at that time. However, CDC offers other training programs and fellowships. If you are interested in pursuing a CDC training program, please consider applying to the Public Health Associate Program when it reopens for recruitment, or exploring other CDC Public Health Training Fellowships.

History of the Public Health Prevention Service

In 1997, CDC established the Public Health Prevention Service (PHPS), a three-year training and service program for masters-level graduates with at least one year of paid public health experience. The program was designed to provide hands-on experience and mentorship in public health program planning, implementation, and evaluation and to improve national public health by developing a competent and sustainable public health workforce. PHPS fellows completed two six-month rotations at CDC, followed by a two-year assignment at a public health agency (e.g., state or local health department, academic institution, community-based organization, nongovernmental organization, or public health association).

During their six-month CDC rotations, fellows completed diverse assignments designed to provide them with an inside view of how CDC works as a federal government agency and as a leader in the wider framework of the public health system. PHPS field assignments supported and supplemented state and local health leaders and their staff in addressing public health challenges specific to their jurisdictions, and the communities within them, while extending the reach of CDC programs and initiatives to the front lines of public health.

Contributions and Accomplishments

PHPS fellows have made numerous contributions to public health at international, national, state, and local levels. A few of the many examples are highlighted below.

Fellows at CDC headquarters:

  • Developed federal interagency case management guidelines for the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
  • Led policy and legislative activities related to nutrition, physical activity, and obesity in the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity
  • Documented and presented human subjects research for the Division of Reproductive Health and evaluated activities for the division’s partnership with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Collaborating Center in Reproductive Health

Fellows in field assignments:

  • Coordinated a multi-hospital, statewide, Clostridium difficile collaborative in Illinois; C. difficile infections later declined by 36%, exceeding the 20% target goal
  • Secured $749,000 dollars in funding from the US Department of Justice for the Fulton County (Georgia) Second Chance Offender Reentry Program, which sought to improve behavioral and mental health outcomes of men and women returning to communities from jails and prisons
  • Developed and implemented a Male Health Initiative in Alameda County, California, which later led to increased healthcare access and advanced a continuum of care for underserved men and boys and reduced premature mortality rates
  • Conducted a national Indian Health Service/Tribal Provider survey on colorectal cancer screening knowledge, attitudes, and practices, and wrote a monograph on cancer mortality among American Indians/Alaska Natives

Fellows supporting international assignments:

  • Facilitated workshops to increase polio immunization services in Papua New Guinea as part of CDC’s Stop Transmission of Polio Program
  • Collaborated in three French-speaking provinces with the WHO and Cameroon’s Ministry of Health on their Expanded Program on Immunization to reinforce active surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis, measles, yellow fever, and neonatal tetanus
  • Contributed to multiple activities of the Global Aids Program (GAP), President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief:
    • Conducted data triangulation using multiple data sources for answering key public health questions relevant to HIV/AIDS policy development, evaluation, and program improvement in Tanzania, Africa
    • Assisted with the development, maintenance, and use of surveillance training materials for CDC-GAP countries

Fellows on Epi-aids and emergency response assignments:

  • Assisted with reconstruction efforts after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and mapped resources for displaced Haitians
  • Participated in pandemic influenza preparedness exercises
  • Provided emergency response to Hurricanes Floyd and Katrina, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and the 9/11 and anthrax attacks in 2001
  • Planned a WHO/CDC H1N1 influenza consultation on mass gatherings in Saudi Arabia

PHPS Graduates

Many PHPS graduates have continued their careers in public health. The table below gives examples of leadership roles assumed by graduates of the PHPS program over time.  

PositionAgency/Organization
Assistant Director of
Public Health
Primary Care Trust, National Health Service, United Kingdom
DirectorSouthern Maine Regional Resource Center for Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Portland, Maine
Program ManagerNational Association of City and County Health Officials, Washington, DC
DirectorStrategic Health Alliances, American Cancer Society, New York City
Deputy DirectorCDC Kenya
Team LeadHealth Disparities and Access to Care in the Division of Community, Family Health and Equity, Rhode Island Department of Health
Program ManagerSexually Transmitted Disease Prevention, Ohio Department of Health
Health Action LiaisonJefferson County Health Department, Birmingham, Alabama
Deputy DirectorCDC Central Asia Regional Office, Kazakhstan
Deputy Director for AdministrationPortland Identification and Early Referral Program, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine
DirectorComprehensive Cancer Control and Prevention Programs, Washington State Department of Health
Executive DirectorGreater Prince William Community Health Center, Woodbridge, Virginia
Principal Management OfficialDivision of Global Migration and Quarantine, CDC
Program ConsultantComprehensive Cancer Control Program, CDC

Program Manager

Prevention Institute, Oakland, California

Program Officer

Connecticut Health Foundation, Hartford, Connecticut

Project ManagerKaiser Permanente Southern California
DirectorPublic Health Prevention Service, CDC
Senior Project OfficerInternational Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York City

Public Health Prevention Service Alumni Association

In 2000, the Public Health Prevention Service Alumni Association was created to provide support for PHPS alumni through ongoing professional development. An important goal in founding the alumni association was to establish and maintain a national network of public health professionals, so the website hosts an alumni directory, newsletter, job links, and other items of interest to PHPS alumni.

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