PFA Host Site Application Process

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Opportunity to Host Public Health Preparedness Field Assignee (PFA) Limited Eligibility: Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Cooperative Agreement Recipients


Division of State and Local Readiness (DSLR)
Office of Readiness and Response (ORR)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC


Letter of Intent Deadline:  March 5, 2021


CDC is seeking a limited number of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) jurisdictions to host Division of State and Local Readiness (DSLR) employees to continue their public health developmental experience through a field assignment in public health emergency preparedness. DSLR is placing entry-level public health Preparedness Field Assignees (PFA) with PHEP recipients to provide additional opportunities for CDC employees to gain valuable field experience. The public health preparedness assignee’s salary is paid by CDC, not by the recipient or from the recipient’s cooperative agreement award. This three-year program is aimed at developing skills and experience in emergency preparedness and response. This program provides the PFAs with experience in preparedness program operations through training and mentorship at CDC and with experience working to support state and local health public health agencies.

The intent of the placement is to provide employees with hands-on preparedness training in the field while providing a significant contribution to PHEP recipients. Having well-trained DSLR staff gain direct field experience by working side by side with state and local public health preparedness professionals will provide lasting benefits to the PHEP program and enhance the technical assistance DSLR provides to PHEP recipients.

PFAs are entry-level CDC employees with at least a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of two years of experience in public health. PFAs should participate in a variety of activities, such as planning, training, exercises, evaluation, response activities, temporary duty assignments, and conferences that are designed to provide public health emergency preparedness and response experience.

Eligibility to receive a PFA is limited to the current 62 PHEP cooperative agreement recipients.  PHEP recipients are uniquely qualified to maximize the effectiveness of this placement opportunity and provide a unique training environment for field assignees while also achieving the objectives of the PHEP program. Additionally, the projects in which they would engage build upon the national goal of an improved public health infrastructure and the activities completed as a result of Congress’ previous investment in the PHEP cooperative agreement since 1999.


Process for Requesting a PFA (Advanced Practicum Developmental Activity) – Qualifying Requirements


PFA host sites must meet all of the following requirements.

  • Be one of the 62 direct recipients of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement;
  • Develop a work plan that allows the PFA to gain experience in public health emergency preparedness and response;
  • Provide training and on-the-job work experiences suitable for entry-level public health assignees with at least two years of public health experience but who come to the assignment with potentially limited experience in public health emergency preparedness and response;
  • Support and encourage PFA professional development;
  • Provide the PFA with a supervisor who has prior supervisory experience; and
  • Demonstrate the capacity to provide field staff with valuable work experience and specific emergency preparedness and response training.

In addition, selected host sites must sign CDC’s current “Agreement to Detail” with DSLR. This agreement covers the terms and conditions of the placement of CDC field staff.


Application for Placement Site


Step 1: Submit a Letter of Intent (LOI)

Interested host sites must submit a LOI for review by the PFA Program by close of business on March 5,  2021.  Submit LOIs to For any questions regarding the LOI submission, contact Scott Tulloch, PFA team lead, at

Letter of Intent (LOI) Requirements

The purpose of the LOI is to provide a brief description of the proposed assignment and the

activities the PFA will perform. The LOI must be three pages or less and must include the following information.

Part I: Organization Information

  1. Primary and secondary supervisor.
  2. Primary work site location.
  3. Organization and program office.
  4. Mailing address, overnight mailing address (if different).
  5. Phone, fax number, and e-mail address.

Part II: Organizational Structure and Supervision

  1. Describe the organizational location of the assignment within the health organization.
  2. Explain the professional development opportunities available to the PFA (e.g., supported training, site visits, job shadowing, and participation in meetings).
  3. Describe the organizational commitment to workplace support (e.g., office setting, computer equipment, clerical and administrative support, and dedicated resources).
  4. Summarize the supervisory and mentoring experience of the primary and secondary supervisors and describe how they will be involved with the activities of the PFA. Please do not include resumes with the LOI.

Part III: Assignment Description

  1. Identify (list) and describe the public health preparedness and response program priorities to be addressed by the PFA.
  2. In addition to all-hazards public health preparedness, please identify any specific types or scenarios of public health emergencies in which the PFA would gain experience.
  3. Summarize the scope of the assignment, including the general program areas and activities the PFA is anticipated to engage in over the course of the three-year assignment.
  4. List, if applicable, any potential training experiences or circumstances that afford a unique and strong learning environment for the PFA.
  5. Describe professional development opportunities that will support the accomplishments of the PFA and enhance the learning experience.
  6. Describe the PFA’s level of responsibility (i.e., coordinator, planner, analyst, team member, or facilitator). Note: PFAs cannot provide direct supervision.
  7. List anticipated end products, including any major projects that might be a particular focus of the performance plan for the PFA.
Evaluation of Letters of Intent

The proposed assignment outlined in the LOI will be evaluated by the PFA Program to determine if the assignment:

  • provides a challenging and meaningful emergency preparedness and response experience while making a significant contribution to the awardee program;
  • allows the public health preparedness field assignee to develop and apply skills,
  • provides for ongoing mentoring and appropriate supervision;
  • increases program competency of DSLR staff in emergency preparedness and response; and
  • meets the overall objectives of the PFA program.
Final Selection Process

Those recipients with an accepted LOI will be notified of their acceptance by March 19, 2021. Final matches are based on the recipient organization and DSLR preferences, as well as programmatic considerations. PFA assignments will begin in October 2021.