History, Impact, and Funding
History of ELC
In 1995, the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) Cooperative Agreement was established to distribute resources to domestic public health departments to strengthen the nation’s infectious disease infrastructure. In response to the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, Emerging Infections: Microbial Threats to Health in the United States, CDC created ELC as a key component of its national prevention strategy. In ELC’s early years, the focus was on helping to build general infectious disease surveillance capacity.
As ELC became more established, it expanded to include specific pathogens. In 2010, the program reached an important milestone with the passage of the Affordable Care Act that established the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). This provided the first mandatory funding dedicated to improving the nation’s public health system. The PPHF expanded national investment in prevention and public health programs to improve health and help restrain increasing private and public sector health care costs.
Since ELC’s inception, CDC’s national funding strategy has grown from assisting eight recipients with $2 million dollars to approximately $200 million annually (2011–2019) to all 50 states, 8 U.S. territories, and 6 cities with the largest local health departments.
Public Health Impact
As Americans are increasingly affected by infections emerging anywhere in the world, finding and stopping infectious disease health threats is essential to protecting public health and saving lives. Communities across the nation benefit from the actions taken by state, local, and territorial public health departments to detect, respond, prevent, and control known and emerging (or re-emerging) infectious diseases. Examples of other benefits:
- Preventing future outbreaks
- Responding more quickly to occurrences of infectious diseases
- Executing science-based prevention and control strategies leading to decreased infectious diseases deaths and illnesses
- Improving health outcomes, health care quality, and health equity