Emergency Management and Global Health Security
Public Health Emergency Management Fellowship
CDC has trained 223 Fellows from 49 countries as of mid-2023. CDC’s Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) Fellowship program builds PHEM capacity within partner nations’ public health authorities. This program provides training, mentorship, and technical assistance to help other countries learn and implement emergency management principles for countering public health threats and responding when emergencies arise. Applications are sent through CDC Regional and Country offices for processing by CDC Atlanta for each cohort.
The PHEM Fellowship targets mid-career professionals who work in public health preparedness and response. PHEM fellows come from diverse cultural and career backgrounds, including various positions within ministries of health.
PHEM fellows usually:
- Hold a Master’s degree, doctorate or equivalent in public health, epidemiology or a related field
- Have a level of responsibility within their Ministry of Health that reflects leadership of a public health emergency management function and requires coordination with other emergency management functions
- Have a position, or are expected to have a position, that will support their training or influence others upon return to the home country
Past fellows have held positions in:
- Emergency Preparedness and Response
- Medicine/Community Health
- Infectious Disease Preparedness
- Zoonotic and Veterinary
Interested applicants must commit to a 12-week program, demonstrate English proficiency, and attain the necessary CDC security clearance.
Strengthening Emergency Management Capacity around the Globe
CDC also helps countries and regional partners develop emergency management programs through direct technical assistance. CDC’s experts help countries establish their own public health emergency operations so that countries can lead and manage fast, coordinated responses when outbreaks or disasters happen.
In-country trainings are provided by CDC to help build resilient public health preparedness and response systems globally.
Below are a few recent examples of how the agency conducts training and the results of Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) education in several countries.
Participants engaged in CDC
PHEM training in Thailand
Members of the CDC emergency management team traveled to Hua Hin Province, Thailand, in late March 2022 to facilitate the Ministry of Public Health’s (MOPH) Threat Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) workshop. As the Thai MOPH began developing capacity at the sub-national level, which includes 13 regional health offices, they wanted to conduct a formal risk assessment to ensure their preparedness for threats impacting the provinces in their regions.
Sixty participants from 13 regions completed the THIRA workshop. Participants identified and prioritized threats affecting human health in their provinces and identified unique threats. Common threats included COVID-19, Dengue fever, chemical spills, road traffic accidents, air pollution, and flooding.
CDC met with leaders to discuss the implementation of a regional Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) Fellowship for Southeast Asian countries.
CDC provided technical
assistance to the DRC virtually
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to face multiple public health emergencies. CDC coordinated sessions of the PHEM executive level training for the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) 43 national and provincial decision-makers.
Building on the established relationship between Cameroon and DRC’s MoH, CDC coordinated the facilitation of in-person training with Cameroon’s PHEM Fellow alumni and the Director of Disease Control. The training was organized into three modules and included a session on Cameroon’s experience with adapting the PHEM model. After the training, DRC MoH focused on the following points:
- Expand the number of people trained in PHEM.
- Continue the technical support of Cameroon’s experts.
- Involve DRC PHEM Fellow alumni in the implementation of DRC’s PHEM program.
- Integrate other sectors in the development of the PHEM program.
- Use Incident Management System (IMS) even if the public health emergency operations center PHEOC is not functional.
- Develop an action plan immediately.
Uganda emergency response
professionals during the
The CDC Office in Kampala, Uganda, asked CDC technical advisors to provide IMS training to two groups of Ministry of Health staff that support the Uganda COVID-19 response. During the first week of training, the senior members of the Uganda COVID-19 Response discussed how they utilized IMS to coordinate and communicate. They also identified ways to better implement the principles into their activities.
During week two, members from regional and district level PHEOCs participated in basic IMS training. It emphasized the value of objective-based response activities and how their actions support those at the national level during response operations.
During both sessions, participants shared how the training helped them better understand their roles, responsibilities, and methods for applying IMS to support the COVID-19 Response.
A technical assistance training
Zoom call conducted during
In August 2021, CDC Zimbabwe requested CDC’s help in strengthening its capacity to detect and respond to outbreaks through the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) platform. The idea was to teach in-country FETP instructors basic PHEM information so that they could incorporate it into their curriculum.
CDC assembled a team to assist in a virtual train-the-trainer session that was held in March 2022. The session focused on PHEOC and PHEM information and coordination, IMS, and response operations.
The CDC team utilized a case study based on a real-life typhoid outbreak in Tajikistan to create a group activity that incorporated PHEM-related questions. At the end of the training, FETP instructors were asked to think of ways they could incorporate the information into their FETP lesson plans. Zimbabwe FETP instructors are excited and looking forward to adding PHEM into their training.
CDC emergency management
trainers with a group from
The Ministry of Health and CDC Regional Office in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, invited CDC to conduct a one-week PHEM training for PHEOC staff.
CDC met with the country’s vice minister of health; director of state sanitary epidemiology service (SSES–MoH-led Public Health response authority); World Health Organization representative; and emergency preparedness lead. We discussed the alignment of the PHEOC with the SSES to provide a streamlined approach to public health response for Tajikistan.
MoH has committed 10 full-time (core) staff for the PHEOC. As in many countries, their challenges include the legal authorities empowering a PHEOC, the alignment with the SSES, and a consistent source of funding. Going forward, CDC plans to partner with the WHO and provide training and assistance. The goal is to help Tajikistan build a more resilient public health preparedness and response system.