IETA Program Overview

The International Experience & Technical Assistance (IETA) Program was established in 1997 as CDC continued to increase its role in global health and the first cohort began in 1998 with 7 participants. The program was designed to offer HHS employees the opportunity to gain global public health experience, while providing technical assistance to CDC country offices and partners. Today, the program is managed by the Overseas Operations Office within CDC’s Center for Global Health in Atlanta, Georgia and follows the same objectives upon which it was founded.

Program Objectives

The competency-based developmental training program has four main objectives:

1. Build a pool of HHS staff qualified for, and interested in, long-term assignments with HHS global programs.

2. Create a cadre of staff capable of responding to increasing requests for short-term global technical assistance.

3. Provide IETA participants with a supervised work experience in the global public health sector.

4. Support personnel needs of CDC programs and organizations benefiting from IETA technical skills and abilities.

Format and Expenses

Over a 12-month period, IETA participants complete four training workshops as well as a supervised international assignment of at least 12 weeks with an established CDC program or international organization. Participants continue to work in their current positions with time away to attend the workshops and complete their international assignment. The participant’s home office covers salary and any travel costs associated with IETA program training. The host program office covers all costs associated with the international assignment including travel costs and U.S. Department of State security trainings (if needed).

Training Workshops

IETA training workshops align with the IETA Competency Model and are designed to enhance each participant’s skillsets in the following four domains: Leadership, Cross-Cultural Humility, Diplomacy, and Technical Expertise. The workshops will introduce participants to CDC global health programs and will cover practical issues related to international travel and overseas work.

The first workshop, Orientation to International Work, is a 3-day workshop that takes place in early November.

  • Introduction to CDC’s overseas programs, international public health organizations, Ministries of Health, and American Embassies
  • IETA Program Overview
  • Preparation for overseas assignments: the travel process, obtaining medical clearance, available resources and benefits
  • Perspectives from IETA Alumni & field assignment supervisors

The second workshop, Realities of the Field, takes place in December. It consists of the 3-day Overseas Security Awareness Training (OSAT) course required by the U.S. Department of State, along with several IETA-specific sessions on the fourth day. Together, this workshop covers various topics including preparing for the international field assignment (resources, staying healthy, security). Participants who have already taken OSAT are not required to take it again but are asked to attend the IETA-specific sessions held the day after OSAT ends.

The third workshop is the Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) training, a five-day security training required for long-term overseas assignments as detailed by the U.S. Department of State. For the 2022-2023 IETA cohort, the program is intending for all IETA participants to complete this training in the Fall. As this training is associated with the international field assignment, the participant’s home office does not pay for this training.

The fourth and final workshop takes place each September after all participants have completed their assignments. It is generally three days in duration. The focus is on best supporting the participants to continue to build on their international experience after the IETA program concludes. As part of this final workshop, each participant reports out on their field assignment experience.

International Assignments

IETA participants are required to complete a supervised international field assignment of at least 12 weeks. It is not uncommon for participants to serve for longer periods of time based on program need and participant availability. Click here to learn more about IETA International Assignments.

Page last reviewed: August 30, 2022
Content source: Global Health