Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC)

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Strengthening the Nation’s Capacity to Respond to Domestic Infectious Diseases

The Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) works to reduce illness and related deaths caused by a wide range of infectious diseases. The ELC  accomplishes this by administering one of CDC’s key nationwide cooperative agreements, awarding approximately $200 million dollars annually to health departments for surveillance, detection, response, and prevention, plus strategic direction and technical assistance. For nearly a quarter-century, the ELC has provided direct financial support to all 50 states, several cities, and U.S. territories and affiliates to detect, respond to, control, and prevent infectious diseases.

Next Generation ELC Cooperative Agreement: Changes in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, 2019 – 2023

On March 1, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the ELC Cooperative Agreement. The new NOFO is a competitive 5 year cooperative agreement opportunity open to the 64 jurisdictions currently funded through the ELC.

The 2019-23 NOFO gives ELC the opportunity to emphasize a stronger focus on public health “programs” (e.g., cross-cutting epidemiology and laboratory, food, HAI/AR, and vector-borne), while retaining the ability for recipients to work on discrete “projects” important to the health and wellness of their populations (e.g., mycotics, Legionella, parasitic disease, rabies, etc.). The new framework incorporates feedback from recipients and CDC partners that will:

  • Improve coordination of the cooperative agreement and better support growth, while maintaining valued flexibility.
  • Establish a stronger focus on public health programs while retaining the ability for recipients to work on discrete projects important to the health and wellness of their populations. Compatible cross-cutting activities from the prior NOFO project areas have been merged into four robust public health programs:
    • Cross-cutting Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Program
    • Foodborne, Waterborne, Enteric, and Environmentally Transmitted Diseases Program
    • Healthcare-associated Infections and Antibiotic Resistance Program
    • Vector-borne Diseases Program
  • Offer opportunities to implement four cross-cutting prevention and intervention projects within the public health programs, with an increased focus on integration, leadership and flexibility:
    • ELC Leadership, Management and Administration Project – New in 2019
    • Health Information Systems Capacity Project
    • Impact and Evaluation Project
    • Cross-Cutting Emerging Issues Project: Enhanced Surveillance, Outbreak Investigation Response and Reporting, Surge Efforts and Interventions
  • Maintain opportunities for disease-specific or categorical funding (i.e., projects) that target specific infectious diseases and other public health threats of importance.
  • Utilize a tiered funding approach that will allow for varying levels of activity and regional approaches.
    • “Base” capacity building level of activities
    • Enhanced activities
    • Advanced activities, Center of Excellence (or similar)

These changes will help facilitate programmatic growth in emerging areas and improve efficiencies, while also easing administrative burden for ELC’s recipients.

What’s next?

In August 2019, CDC expects to award funding to 64 jurisdictions to detect, prevent, and respond to the growing threats posed by infectious diseases through three core areas:

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  • Surveillance, Detection, and Response:
    • Enhance investigation and outbreak response
    • Improve surveillance and reporting
    • Strengthen laboratory testing for response
    • Improve laboratory coordination and outreach to improve efficiency
    • Enhance workforce capacity
    • Enhance coordination between epi-lab
    • Advance electronic information exchange implementation
    • Sustain and/or enhance information systems
    • Enhance laboratory testing for surveillance and reporting

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  • Prevention and Intervention:
    • Implement public health interventions and tools
    • Implement health promotion strategies
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  • Communications, Coordination, and Partnerships:
    • Coordinate and engage with partners
    • Information dissemination