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Building State Capacity for Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Surveillance

For over a decade, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) in collaboration with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) has made great strides in defining and supporting the workforce and capacity necessary for effective chronic disease epidemiology within state health departments.

Image of timeline. 2000: Strategic plan for state-based chronic disease epidemiology capacity endorsed by CSTE, NACDD, and CDC. 2001: CSTE begins conducting epidemiology capacity assessments in state public health departments to assess state-level epidemiological workforce and capacity by program. 2004: Chronic Disease Epidemiology Capacity Building Subcommittee established. Essential Functions of Chronic Disease Epidemiology in State Health Departments published. Applied Epidemiology Competencies (AECs) defined. 2007: Minimum recommended chronic disease epidemiology workforce defined.

The minimum recommended chronic disease epidemiology workforce:3
  • At least one senior-level chronic disease epidemiologist (doctoral degree with at least 5 years of experience in chronic disease epidemiology).
  • At least one chronic disease epidemiologist who is responsible for coordinating or integrating activities across categorical programs.
  • At least five full-time chronic disease epidemiologists, at least one of whom has a doctoral degree.


CSTE continues to administer epidemiology capacity assessments  to capture information about the epidemiology workforce. These assessments serve to assist states with targeting improvements in epidemiology capacity within their health departments.


1 “Development of Nationwide State-based Chronic Disease Epidemiology Capacity,” CSTE, June 30, 2000. [PDF - 198.73 KB]

2 “Essential Functions of Chronic Disease Epidemiology in State Health Departments,” CSTE, Sept. 21, 2004. [PDF - 284.13 KB]

3 Minimum recommended chronic disease epidemiology workforce as defined in CSTE’s State-level Chronic Disease Epidemiology Capacity statement. [PDF - 38 KB]