The EIS alumni network includes more than 3,900 officers who have responded to domestic and international public health threats since 1951. The articles on this page highlight the breadth and depth of how EIS alumni exemplify public health leadership and service. Resources for alumni are also available on this page.
Most EIS graduates choose public health careers at the local, state, or federal levels, providing sustainable epidemiologic expertise to CDC and other agencies. In the spectrum of their careers after EIS, alumni have gone on to become:
- CDC directors
- Lead scientists and decision-makers for CDC
- Acting surgeons general
- WHO assistant directors-general
- CDC country and regional office directors
- Public health and medical school faculty and deans
- City health commissioners
- State epidemiologists
Many others take on leadership roles in pharmaceutical and insurance industries, public health foundations, nongovernmental organizations, or become health and medical writers for the news media.
Alumni in the Spotlight
Oleg Bilukha, EIS ‘02: Humanitarian Champion
Oleg Bilukha, MD, PhD, EIS Class of 2002, was named Action Against Hunger (ACF) Canada’s 2021 Humanitarian Champion. This award recognizes individuals who provide significant contributions to ACF’s global vision and mission and raise awareness around hunger issues. Dr. Bilukha received this award for providing technical expertise and pioneering the SMART Methodology, a system that provides user-friendly tools to help community organizations conduct field surveys and better respond to the needs of their populations. Dr. Bilukha’s accomplishments have greatly improved the quality and credibility of data collected in emergency and refugee settings, drawing international attention to global nutrition needs and reducing global hunger issues.
For more than 15 years, Dr. Bilukha has mentored and trained staff on the SMART Methodology at numerous global health and nutrition organizations and agencies. He provided key strategic direction for SMART Methodology and advises in the development and refinement of training materials. In addition, he is a member of the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Famine Review Committee and has served as a consultant and temporary advisor to organizations including the WHO, UNHCR, WFP, and UNICEF.
Dr. Bilukha serves as the Associate Director for Science in CDC’s Emergency Response and Recovery Branch (ERRB). “Oleg has had a significant impact on the work of our branch and the humanitarian sector in general. His work developing the SMART methodology has been adopted widely and has brought greater rigor to assessing childhood nutrition and mortality rates in humanitarian settings,” said Mark Anderson, MD, MPH, ERRB chief. Dr. Bilukha has dedicated his career to global humanitarian health, and his expertise continues to enhance and strengthen the work of CDC and the global nutrition community.
Erin Sauber-Schatz, EIS ’09: The Seed of Leadership
Erin Sauber-Schatz, PhD, MPH (CDR, USPHS), EIS Class of 2009, was recently featured in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s “After the Game” series highlighting former NCAA athletes. Sauber-Schatz, who was a diver for Texas A&M, mentions how lessons learned as a student athlete—discipline, perseverance, and more—helped prepare her for leadership roles at CDC.
Sauber-Schatz currently serves as lead of the Community Interventions & Critical Populations Task Force in CDC’s COVID-19 response. In her “day job” outside of the response, she leads the Transportation Safety Team in the Division of Injury Prevention at CDC’s Injury Center. She began her CDC career as an EIS officer working at the Florida Department of Health (2009-2011) with a focus in maternal and child health. She has been on special assignment/deployed for several public health emergencies including the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, the 2014 Ebola Epidemic, the Opioid Epidemic, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.
Vikram Krishnasamy, EIS ’16: Emerging Leader Winner, 2020 Service to America Awards
Vikram Krishnasamy, MD, MPH, EIS Class of 2016, and current medical officer in CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, has won the Emerging Leader award in the 2020 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal awards. The Sammies recognize federal employees whose professional contributions exemplify the highest attributes of public service. Krishnasamy is recognized for his work in establishing a training program and communications network to help local public health officials deal with the opioid epidemic, including coordinating outreach to patients when law enforcement arrested medical professionals for illegal conduct. Released in conjunction with the Emerging Leader award, this new video chronicles Krishnasamy’s valuable accomplishments.
“Dr. Krishnasamy’s work embodies CDC’s mission of saving lives and protecting people from public health threats,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “This recognition is well deserved, and it symbolizes his commitment to addressing our Nation’s most pressing public health issues with determination and innovation.”
Hear Krishnasamy discuss his work on opioids and COVID-19, his career, and importance of the public health workforce in the Partnership for Public Service’s audio clip and recorded video broadcast (timestamp 13:30-22:00). Hear more of his personal story in this EIS video.
“There are hundreds of CDC employees and U.S. Public Health Service officers from other agencies who have now been trained in both basic knowledge about the opioid epidemic and skill sets needed to support local state health departments because of Vikram’s work,” said Anne Schuchat, MD (RADM, USPHS), Principal Deputy Director of CDC and EIS alum (’88).
Cynthia Ogden, EIS ’94: Changing Paths During the Pandemic
As the analysis branch chief for CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and former EIS officer, Cynthia Ogden saw an opportunity and quickly leveraged her network to expand access to COVID-19 testing sites. In March 2020, as COVID-19 quickly became an agency priority, NHANES halted routine activities which left their fully equipped mobile laboratories unused. Ogden tapped into a broad network of fellow EIS graduates, many of whom hold positions in public health offices across the country. Her timely outreach helped identify areas in need and allocate NHANES’ mobile exam trailers for COVID-19 testing. So far, trailers have gone to the Washington DC Department of Forensic Sciences for antibody testing and to the Montgomery County Department of Public Health in Maryland. This effort also sparked the idea to revive, equip, and certify other unused trailers that were in storage for COVID-19 testing. Ogden and others on the NHANES team continue their outreach to identify states in need of remaining trailers for testing sites. Read the full story on CDC’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.
Daniel B. Jernigan, EIS ’94: Service to America Medalist
Daniel B. Jernigan, MD, MPH (CAPT, USPHS), EIS Class of 1994 and current director of CDC’s Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), is a winner of the 2019 Service to America Medal. The award recognizes Jernigan’s leadership in coordinating response efforts for dozens of disease crises, including Ebola, SARS and West Nile virus, while also greatly improving the nation’s ability to identify, prepare for and respond to inevitable flu pandemics. Learn more about Jernigan’s leadership, service, and contributions on his CDC Spokesperson Portfolio web page and the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal web page.
Photo caption: HHS Secretary Alex Azar presents CDC Influenza Division Director Dan Jernigan with the 2019 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for Science and Environment. Photo courtesy of Service to America Awards.
- Hear from EIS alumni who have since joined CDC’s workforce. “I Am CDC” videos focus on employees whose day-to-day dedication and hard work make CDC a better organization and improve the public’s health.
- Alexis Peterson is a health scientist working in the area of traumatic brain injury in CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Learn more in her CDC expert bio.
- Alaine Knipes is an epidemiologist working in CDC’s Center for Global Health and supporting the President’s malaria initiative.
- Alice Wang began her EIS assignment in CDC’s National Center for Environmental health and is an epidemiologist currently working in CDC’s Center for Global Health.
- Neil Vora is a physician and epidemiologist stationed in a New York City health department as part of his work for CDC’s Center for Preparedness and Response.
EIS Graduates May Qualify for 3-Year Leadership Program
Future Leaders in Infections and Global Health Threats (FLIGHT) is a CDC leadership program that prepares participants, known as FLIGHT officers, to address global public health threats. FLIGHT officers are selected from physicians and veterinarians in the most recent graduating class of CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. Eligible candidates must have an unrestricted license to practice their clinical specialty in the U.S. and be a U.S. citizen. The FLIGHT application period opens in September of each year. Learn more at the Future Leaders in Infections and Global Health Threats (FLIGHT) website.