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What LLS Fellows Learn

LLS fellow presents at EIS Conference.
LLS fellow examines a giant African land snail in the lab.
LLS fellow presents at EIS Conference.
LLS fellow draws model of rat brain.
LLS fellow serves on Ebola response.

LLS fellows gain invaluable public health expertise and leadership skills through rigorous training, mentorship, and hands-on experiences in the field, at CDC, or in state or local public health laboratories.

During this 2-year experiential service-based fellowship, LLS fellows work on projects for their assigned lab, respond to emerging public health needs, and receive mentorship from CDC and other public health experts. A fellow’s training is aligned with competencies that will prepare them for leadership roles in public health laboratory science careers. Fellows gain and apply skills in leadership, laboratory quality management, the science of biosafety, bioinformatics, applied research, communications, emergency response, and program management. As CDC Disease Detectives they also train alongside Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officers and other disciplines learning to function as leaders or integral members of interdisciplinary teams. LLS’s training competencies provide fellows with perspectives and experiences in laboratory leadership as it relates to diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and health equity in applied public health practice.

About 90% of fellows’ curriculum is provided through hands-on assignments under the guidance of seasoned mentors and supervisors, and about 10% occurs through rigorous, didactic course work, case studies, exercises, and e-learning.

Examples of fellowship training activities include, but are not limited to:

  • A rigorous, one-month summer orientation in Atlanta, Georgia at the beginning of the fellowship
  • Two-week onsite immersive training experience at a state, tribal, local, or territorial public health lab for enhanced perspective of public health laboratory services and to prepare for potential emergency response deployment
  • One-week workshop during the fall of the fellowship’s first year that provides interactive training on safety risk assessments, scientific writing, and risk communications
  • Additional one-week workshop during the summer of the fellowship’s second year that provides essential training in leadership, effective communications, and career-planning
  • Engaging in practical, applied field investigations and conducting applied laboratory research to help address urgent public health problems
  • Conducting comprehensive laboratory safety risk assessments to help improve the safety culture in CDC or other public health laboratories
  • Evaluating laboratory quality management systems to ensure that labs provide consistent and reliable data
  • Using innovative technologies to conduct and analyze bioinformatics, surveillance, laboratory and other data that help inform public health practice
  • Presenting findings from investigations and studies during agency seminars and at national and international conferences
  • Applying effective communication principles when presenting findings or preparing written materials or during news media interviews
  • Networking and collaborating with Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officers and other CDC fellows during didactic training, public health investigations and events

LLS fellows complete the program’s Core Activities of Learning (CALs), based on competencies published by CDC and Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL):

  1. Conduct applied laboratory research to address a public health or safety-related issue.
  2. Conduct a safety risk assessment to evaluate the probability and potential consequences of exposure to a given hazard.
  3. Evaluate a laboratory quality management system.
  4. Incorporate bioinformatics principles into applied public health laboratory science.
  5. Give a 10–20 minute oral presentation to a scientific audience.
  6. Give an in-depth public health talk on the fellow’s original LLS work or field of study.
  7. Write a first author scientific manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal.
  8. Participate in laboratory operations management.
  9. Communicate complex scientific concepts to an external lay audience.
  10. Provide service to public health laboratories.