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:

  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 an opportunity to apply their technical skills to a work experience in the global public health sector.
  4. 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.

Interested in applying to the IETA program? Learn more about the eligibility criteria and the application process.

IETA Competencies

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