IETA Program Overview
CDC’s International Experience and Technical Assistance (IETA) fellowship program is a 12-month program that aims to cultivate HHS’s global health workforce pipeline. Established in 1997, the IETA program has provided over 480 HHS employees, including 43 U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers, with the opportunity to gain overseas experience while providing technical assistance to CDC country and regional offices.
The IETA program has four main objectives:
- Build a pool of HHS staff qualified for, and interested in, long-term assignments with HHS global programs.
- Create a cadre of staff capable of responding to increasing requests for short-term global technical assistance.
- Provide IETA participants with an opportunity to apply their technical skills to a work experience in the global public health sector.
- Facilitate IETA participants to take the experiences gained through the IETA program and apply them to their daily work.
The International Experience & Technical Assistance (IETA) Program was established in 1997, as the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) continued to increase its role in the direct provision of global prevention and prevention research programs. The program was designed to offer Federal Public Health Service employees the opportunity to gain experience overseas, while at the same time providing technical assistance to countries. Today, the program is managed by CDC’s Global Health Center in Atlanta, Georgia and follows the same principles upon which it was founded.
Over the 12-month period, IETA participants continue to work in their current position with time away to attend the orientation (4-5 days), closing meeting (3 days), to complete U.S. Government international Tour of Duty (TDY) requirements including security trainings (if needed)*, and to complete their international assignment (minimum 12 weeks).
The participant’s home office covers salary and benefits throughout the 12-month program as well as any travel costs associated with the IETA program orientation and closing meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The host program covers all costs associated with the international assignment including travel costs to/from the country and per diem (including lodging) and U.S. Department of State security trainings (if needed)*.
* Includes the 2-day virtual Overseas Security and Awareness Training course required by the U.S. Department of State and the 2-hour virtual Foreign Travel Safety Brief required by CDC for all IETA participants. IETA participants who will be conducting their TDY in a high-threat country and/or will be overseas for more than 90 cumulative days are required to take the 5-day Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) course. The host program covers all costs associated with required U.S. Department of State trainings.
The Orientation to Global Work is a 5-day meeting that takes place in October or November each year. It covers several topics, including, but not limited to:
- IETA Program Overview
- Introduction to CDC overseas programs, Ministries of Health, and U.S. Embassies
- Preparation for Overseas Assignments: Resources, Available Benefits, Staying Healthy
- International safety & security concerns
- Preparing for the cross-cultural aspects of working internationally
- Perspectives from IETA alumni and supervisors
The Closing Meeting takes place in September each year, after all participants have completed their assignments. It is generally 3 days in duration. Participants present individually on their international experience, sharing information about their technical work as well as lessons learned, challenges, and surprises. There is also a focus on making further short- and long-term overseas assignments a reality.
IETA competencies provide a framework for the international field assignments, and practical program activities and describe capabilities each IETA participant should be able to demonstrate that they have enhanced following program completion. Competencies are also core to IETA’s applicant screening, program planning, and evaluation processes and will continue to evolve to meet CDC’s expanding mission. The IETA competencies are divided into four domains (skillsets) and reflect input from the program’s key stakeholders including IETA alumni and supervisors of IETA participants. They were informed by a combination of CDC leadership competencies, the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice, and the peer-reviewed literature. i-vi
Develops and maintains effective working relationships by practicing self-awareness, emotional intelligence, flexibility, and resiliency; being growth-minded; and demonstrating respect for alternative approaches and perspectives.
1.1 Self-awareness and continuous development
Actively and consistently cultivates professional development.
1.2 Emotional intelligence
Is aware of, controls, and expresses one’s emotions effectively, and handles interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Deals effectively with pressure and can perform effectively, even under adverse conditions.
1.4 Mental models
Challenges one’s own mental model, accepts one’s own role in problems and is open and flexible to different ways of seeing and doing.
Actively uses cultural humility to build understanding with colleagues and partners and promote equity of individual perspectives, experiences, and identities. Demonstrates the ability to live, work, and interact with people across a wide variety of cultural and social backgrounds.
2.1 Embracing diversity
Interacts sensitively and professionally with persons from diverse cultural, educational, socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and professional backgrounds.
2.2 Cultural feedback
Maintains an awareness of one’s own behavior and considers the perspectives of others to resolve or avoid cultural issues or misinterpretations.
2.3 Cultural insight
Recognizes and actively considers other worldviews or perspectives in work products, interpersonal communications, and any other interactions with colleagues and external collaborators including arranging for interpreters to be present when necessary.
Makes oneself familiar with the U.S. mission environment, maintains situational awareness (including sensitive cultural, political, and policy nuances), and uses tact and diplomacy in establishing and building work relationships.
3.1 Political savvy and situational awareness
Maintains awareness of international current events and understands the sensitive nature of cultural (e.g., regional, national, organizational), political, and policy nuances and their impact on the design and implementation of public health programs.
3.2 U.S. mission environment
Recognizes the role of the U.S. Department of State overseas; understands the structure and operations of U.S. embassies and overseas programs; and is familiar with the processes for in-country travel, voucher submission, and reimbursement.
3.3 Interpersonal relationship building
Exercises tact, flexibility, courtesy, diplomacy, and resourcefulness in establishing and continuing work relationships with co-workers and external parties.
Within the complex country context, uses project management, communication, and problem-solving skills to foster optimal levels of work performance.
4.1 Project management
Seeks information, continuously monitors changes, identifies opportunities, shares information, and searches for new or innovative ways to solve problems and appropriately manage projects within the country context.
4.2 Communication skills
Prepares written and oral reports and presentations that communicate necessary information to professional audiences, policy makers, and/or the general public.
4.3 Complex problem-solving and decision-making
Understands the complexities associated with solving problems and making decisions in an often ambiguous global, multicultural context.