Hear Our Stories

EIS officers are passionate about public health service. When they share stories about their journey as a CDC disease detective, their enthusiasm shows. These stories provide a taste of the EIS experience from multiple perspectives and formats including presentations given at the annual EIS conference, candid social media interviews, news media and podcast interviews, and CDC featured stories on outbreak responders.

Videos
EIS: A Worthwhile Journey

EIS officer Charles Alpren, MBChB, shared insights into the life of a CDC disease detective. Hear how his interactions with other EIS officers motivated him to join EIS, his advice to potential applicants, and how an officer must rise to the challenge in order to solve public health problems.

From Physician to EIS Officer

During the 2019 Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) conference in Atlanta, GA, EIS officer Kendra McDow (MD, MPH) shared some insights into her life as a CDC disease detective. Of her experience as an EIS officer, she said, “I was motivated to join EIS because of my interest and desire to take my skills as a pediatrician and apply that on a national level. And through public health you can do that; you can make an impact on a national level.”

Behind the Scenes of an Investigation with EIS Officer Erin Blau

Learn about the compelling investigative work and personal experiences of an EIS officer in this TED-style Talk, an engaging presentation format offered during the 2019 68th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference. In this video, Class of 2018 EIS officer Erin Blau, DNP, MSN, addresses Unprotected Vaccine, Unprotected Public: Striking a Balance Between Access and Safety, a multi-state outbreak of more than 100 non-tuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) infections caused when a company mishandled vaccines. Find more on this investigation in the conference digital press kit.

Behind the Scenes of an Investigation with EIS Officer Howard Chiou

Learn about the compelling investigative work and personal experiences of an EIS officer in this TED-style Talk, an engaging presentation format offered during the 2019 68th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference. In this video, Class of 2018 EIS officer Howard Chiou, MD, PhD, MS, addresses Patrol Cars as Vehicles for Public Health: Partnering with Police in a Wound Botulism Outbreak Response, describing how a partnership with law enforcement officers in Los Angeles helped stop an outbreak of wound botulism among people who use drugs. Find more on this investigation in the conference digital press kit.

Behind the Scenes of an Investigation with EIS Alum Ann Marie Kimball

Hear a historical reflection on the investigative work and personal experiences of the first ever TED-style Talk given by an EIS alum at the Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference. In this video, Class of 1977 EIS alum Ann Marie Kimball, MD, MPH, FACPM, addresses What Does Gender Have to Do with It? Cholera in Bahrain—1978. Learn about other EIS investigations in the conference digital press kit.

Behind the Scenes of an Investigation with EIS Officer Erin Moritz

Learn about the compelling investigative work and personal experiences of an EIS officer in this TED-style Talk, an engaging presentation format offered during the 2019 68th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference. In this video, Class of 2017 EIS officer Erin Moritz, PhD, MS, addresses Sexy Monkey, White Tiger, and Blue Giant, Oh My! Navigating an Outbreak Linked to Illicit Substances, describing a complex response to an outbreak of severe bleeding associated with synthetic cannabinoids in Illinois. Learn about other EIS investigations in the conference digital press kit.

Behind the Scenes of an Investigation with EIS Officer Guillermo Sanchez

Learn about the compelling investigative work and personal experiences of an EIS officer in this TED-style Talk, an engaging presentation format offered during the 2019 68th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference. In this video, Class of 2018 EIS officer Guillermo Sanchez, MPH, MS, addresses Breaking into an Alabama Prison to Stop a Meningitis Outbreak, an EIS officer’s experience tackling a meningitis outbreak at a state prison in rural Alabama. Learn about other EIS investigations in the conference digital press kit.

The Disease Detectives Stop Outbreaks at Their Source

After two category 5 hurricanes hit the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017, the immediate aftermath left buildings destroyed and neighborhoods flooded. But another, less visible, threat left local health officials very concerned. After traces of the bacterial infection leptospirosis were found on the island of Saint Croix, officials called on CDC’s disease detectives from the Epidemic Intelligence Service to help investigate and address the issue.

EIS: Transforming Careers & Making a Difference Globally

CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officers share their fellowship experiences, with the feature story focusing on how the EIS program has empowered him, as a physician, to impact the health of populations.

Disease Detectives Share Experiences and Career Paths

Watch CDC’s Facebook Live recording and hear from a panel of CDC’s disease detectives as they discuss their experiences working on outbreaks and their career paths to the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) and Laboratory Leadership Service (LLS). (Live event aired on May 18, 2018.)

Behind the Scenes of an Investigation with EIS Officer Sarah Luna

Learn about the compelling investigative work and personal experiences of an EIS officer in this TED-style Talk, an engaging new presentation format offered for the first time during the 2018 67th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference. In this video, Class of 2016 EIS officer Sarah Luna, PhD, addresses Food Behind Bars: When Food Safety Isn’t Enough. Find more on this investigation in the 2018 conference digital press kit.

Behind the Scenes of an Investigation with EIS Officer Molly Evans

Learn about the compelling investigative work and personal experiences of an EIS officer in this TED-style Talk, an engaging new presentation format offered for the first time during the 2018 67th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference. In this video, Class of 2016 EIS officer Molly Evans, MD, MPH, addresses The Untold Stories of Men Who Have Sex With Men in Rural America. Find more on this investigation in the 2018 conference digital press kit.

Behind the Scenes of an Investigation with EIS Officer Amy Lavery

Learn about the compelling investigative work and personal experiences of an EIS officer in this TED-style Talk, an engaging new presentation format offered for the first time during the 2018 67th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference. In this video, Class of 2017 EIS officer Amy Lavery, PhD, MSPH, addresses Crowdsourcing Geographic Information Systems: Halting the Spread of Polio in Somalia. Find more on this investigation in the 2018 conference digital press kit.

EIS officer: What I Do & How Much I Make

Dr. Matthew Goers (EIS Class of 2017) shares how he uses his medical training and passion in his joint roles as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer and a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service. [Part 1 of 2external icon]

EIS officer: How I Got My Job & Where I’m Going

Dr. Matthew Goers (EIS Class of 2017) explains the education and training he pursued to become a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer and career paths that lead to work opportunities at CDC. [Part 2 of 2external icon]

CDC Disease Detectives’ Show & Tell: Field Gear

Hear from several of CDC’s disease detectives, one of whom is a class of 2016 EIS officer, Sarah Guagliardo (10:08-13:15), as they show their gear and explain how they use it in the field during outbreak investigations. [See the Gear the CDC’s Disease Detectives Use in the Fieldexternal icon]

Podcasts
Interview with CDC's Principal Deputy Director: Once a Disease Detective, Always a Disease Detective
Anne Schuchat, MD (RADM, USPHS)

audio iconListen to the podcast (9:58)external icon

Learn how CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officers—known as disease detectives—responded during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 in this NPR podcast interview with CDC’s Principal Deputy Director, Anne Schuchat, MD. Beginning with her time as an EIS officer in the class of 1988, she has played key roles in CDC emergency responses including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza response, the 2003 SARS outbreak, the 2001 bioterrorist anthrax response, and others. Schuchat has served as CDC’s principal deputy director since September 2015 and served as acting CDC director in 2017 and 2018.

Interview with the chief of CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service
Doctor Eric Pevner

audio iconListen to the podcast (48:22)external icon

Learn about CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), including the open application period and selection process, through the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Epidemiology Section podcast interview with Eric Pevzner, Chief of the EIS program. Hear about the impact of the service provided by these disease detectives during their 2-year experiential fellowship, and find out about other fellowship and internship opportunities at CDC.

Feature Stories

EIS alum Seema Yasmin (2011 class) draws on her perspective as a former CDC disease detective to address the COVID-19 response and the crucial role of EIS officers in this Rolling Stones magazine article. February 29, 2020

Dr. Amy Board

Amy Board, DrPH, MSW, MPH, EIS Class of 2019, shares the excitement about her acceptance into EIS and an assignment aligning with her interests in this University of North Texas spotlight article.

Dr. Olivia McGovern

Olivia McGovern, PhD, EIS Class of 2018, shares her public health inspiration and journey in this University of Michigan spotlight article.

Dr. Benowitz in Liberia as part of CDC’s Ebola response team.

Isaac Benowitz, MD, EIS Class of 2014, was assigned to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and helped investigate a 2015 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

EIS Officer Dean Sayre finds an alternative workspace outside the CDC office in Goma during his July-August deployment to the DRC  Credit: Nathan Furukawa, CDC

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the “disease detectives” of CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) are proving their worth as they work to stop the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history. Of the 131 current EIS officers, 33 have volunteered to support CDC’s response in the DRC and neighboring countries thus far. They work hard to prevent travelers from spreading Ebola, to keep it from gaining a foothold in healthcare facilities, and track down the contacts of people who have contracted the disease.

During his June-July deployment to the DRC, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer Nathan Furukawa worked closely with Congolese border health officials like Guillaume Bahati (left), the deputy station chief at Goma’s airport, and Dr. Clémentine Nchuti Mugisha, the airport station chief.

In fighting an outbreak of Ebola, there are days of slow, steady progress – and then there are days of drama. Nathan Furukawa, a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer (Class of 2018), saw both when he was deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from June through August this year.

EIS officer Amy Heinzerling washes up at a screening station outside the eastern Congolese city of Goma during her deployment.

Stopping the spread of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) means keeping a close eye on the borders. Travelers leaving the country are getting closer scrutiny because of the year-old epidemic. So are people traveling within the country and coming to unaffected cities from areas where the disease has taken hold. This close watch kept Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer Amy Heinzerling (Class of 2018) busy during her recent deployment to the DRC’s eastern border city of Goma. She called her deployment “an incredible opportunity,” but also “humbling, as a lot of experiences are in public health.”

Samira Sami practices good Infection Prevention and Control measures by using a handwashing station at the Cyanika Border, a major crossing point between Uganda and Rwanda.

CDC Epidemic Intelligence Officer (EIS) Dr. Samira Sami served as Epidemiology and Surveillance Lead during multiple deployments to Rwanda for the 2018 Eastern DRC Ebola Response. Sami and team provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Health to strengthen Ebola surveillance activities. In August 2019, I returned to help the MOH evaluate their efforts and identify gaps in surveillance to keep communities safe from Ebola virus transmission. It was a very exciting moment when I learned that we would be able to implement our evaluation tools at upcoming Ebola simulation exercises.

LT Knipes processes blood samples outside a rural classroom in Haiti’s Nord Est department. The blood samples were tested for lymphatic filariasis and malaria.

Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer Lieutenant Alaine K. Knipes is one of CDC’s devoted humanitarian health experts. Alaine’s extensive background in parasites has allowed her to address neglected tropical diseases, such as lymphatic filariasis, while at CDC. While parasites are still Alaine’s primary research interest, her passion for detecting diseases led her to emergency response and recovery work as an EIS officer. Most of Alaine’s current work involves water, sanitation and hygiene, a vital public health issue. “I love my work at the CDC because, by assisting other countries in responding to disease outbreaks, I am applying my scientific training and expertise to keep Americans safe and healthy.”

Chris Edens working on dialysis investigation

In the fall of 2014, as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa continued to grow, Rapid Ebola Preparedness (REP) teams led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spread out to key hospitals across the United States. CDC disease detective William (Chris) Edens, PhD, was a REP team responder. On his first assignment, Edens worked with hospital staff on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Chris Edens working on dialysis investigation

CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer Tiffany Walker, MD, was one of the first members of CDC’s infection prevention and control (IPC) team in Sierra Leone to work alongside partner agencies and help ambulance drivers protect themselves from getting Ebola. Few standard operating procedures existed to evaluate correct use of PPE to limit exposure in ambulance and burial teams. The ambulance team in Bombali had just lost several members to Ebola. Her role was to monitor and train healthcare workers on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and IPC protocols.