Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from Prospective Host Sites

PHAP's host site application period is now closed.

The next host site application period will be in early 2025.

Host Site Eligibility

Who is eligible to host an associate?
Public health agencies, such as state, tribal, local, and territorial public health organizations; nongovernmental organizations; public health institutes and associations; academic institutions are eligible to apply to host an associate.

Associate Qualifications and Role

What are the basic requirements for associates?
Applicants who wish to become public health associates should have an interest in frontline, public health service careers, a commitment to public service, and an interest in developing public health program and operations skills. PHAP applicants also must fulfill the eligibility requirements.

May I request an associate with specific background experience and qualifications?
Applications must offer suitable work for a recent bachelor’s- or master’s-level graduate with little or no work or public health experience. If the assignment has specific requirements (e.g., foreign language skills, valid driver’s license, or personally owned vehicle), these should be included in the host site application.

How will I know the associate matched with my organization will be a good fit for my office/program?
PHAP is a public health generalist training program for recent graduates. Each applicant is carefully screened and interviewed. Candidates with characteristics that are predictors for success in the program are selected from a highly competitive applicant pool. Once the final candidates and host site assignments are selected, the matching process begins. Given the number of associate candidates and host site assignments, matches are determined electronically using a data management system, and are based on various factors such as regional geographic preferences of the candidates and specific requirements of the host site (e.g., foreign language skills, valid driver’s license, or personally owned vehicle).

In collaboration with PHAP, the host site assignment and work plan may be modified in complexity and scope after an associate is matched with a host site assignment. However, the primary program focus area (e.g., sexually transmitted infection prevention, tobacco control) may not be changed.

May the associate help with administrative duties?
Associates are required to achieve program competencies [PDF – 208 KB] and meet learning requirements; therefore, associates must spend the majority of their time on work activities that provide them opportunities to meet the competencies of the program. Associates may provide some administrative support to public health programs and projects; however, these types of activities should represent a very small proportion of their overall responsibilities and be comparable to those of other early-career public health professionals.

Am I allowed to apply for more than one associate?
Yes, you may submit more than one application, as long as you have the capacity to supervise, train, mentor, and provide office space and equipment to more than one associate.

On average, how much time should a host site supervisor dedicate to monitoring the work of the associate?
Host site supervisors must be full-time staff actively involved in the day-to-day program activities outlined in the host site application. The supervisor should devote 10% of his/her time per week coaching, directing, supervising, guiding, and providing on-the-job training and developmental opportunities to the associate.

May I apply for an associate to work in multiple public health program areas (e.g., environmental health and emergency response)?
No, host site assignments must focus on one public health program area for the two year training program.

Supervision of Associates

How are performance issues with associates addressed and resolved?
Host site supervisors work closely with the associate’s CDC PHAP supervisor to ensure the needs of both the associate and the host site are being met. Issues or concerns should be brought to the attention of the associate’s CDC PHAP supervisor, who will collaborate with the host site supervisor and the associate to resolve performance issues.

Am I required to identify a host site supervisor(s) and work space for the associate before submitting the application?
Yes. To be eligible for consideration, all host site applications must include the name and contact information for the primary and secondary host site supervisors. In addition, the host site applications must demonstrate that the organization is prepared to provide the associate with work space and equipment, and has the capacity to provide primary and secondary supervisors who are actively engaged in the day-to-day work activities of the associate.

May a CDC field assignee serve as a primary or secondary host site supervisor?
Yes, a CDC field assignee may serve as a primary or second host site supervisor, providing he or she is a full-time staff member actively involved in the day-to-day program activities outlined in the host site application.

Host Site Selection

If my host site application is selected, when will I be notified?
Because of the large number of host site and candidate applications received each year, the review, selection, and matching processes take about six months to complete. After the review and selection of tentative host sites, PHAP will provide status updates throughout the remainder of the process. Host site organizations should be notified in June if their application is not accepted. Final notifications, including assigned associate information, should be provided in August.

Why wasn’t my site chosen to be a host site this year?
PHAP appreciates organizations for taking the time to apply to host an associate. The number of host site applications received has steadily increased for the past few years, and PHAP expects this trend to continue. In 2017, a record number of host site applications were submitted, making the program more competitive than ever. The number of associates PHAP hires is limited; therefore, not all host site applications can be selected and matched with an associate. There will be quality host site applications not selected and matched because of the PHAP class size; in 2017, 23% of the host site applications were selected and matched with an associate.

PHAP encourages organizations that are not selected and matched with an associate to apply again. There are a number of technical assistance resources on the PHAP website to assist with the development of a quality PHAP training experience, including the PHAP 101 and 201 webinars. These webinars are updated every fall to include any program updates. The “Is Our Host Site Eligible?” page is another good resource to review when it comes time to reapply. It provides helpful information for developing and submitting a high-quality, competitive host site application.

If not selected, will I receive specific feedback on my application?
Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications received each year, PHAP does not have the capacity to provide specific feedback for every application that is not selected and matched. It is recommended that you carefully review and follow the application instructions and guidance and use the technical assistance provided on our website (e.g., PHAP 101 and 201 recorded webinars) when preparing host site applications.

Host Site Obligations

What are my agency’s financial obligations if selected to host an associate?
Although associates are funded by CDC, they should be integrated into host sites and treated as regular members of your team. Host sites are required to provide a broad range of training opportunities to support and foster ongoing professional growth, development and attainment of competencies, and increase the associate’s job-related capabilities.

The associate should attend trainings, meetings, and seminars that other agency staff members attend. If employee programs are offered to agency employees, host sites are expected to provide comparable programs to the associate. In addition to providing office space and equipment (e.g., computer, laptop, tablet), host sites must pay for local travel and training costs for the associate.

What legal or contractual agreements are required to host an associate?
Agencies and organizations selected to host a public health associate must enter into CDC’s Agreement to Detail [PDF – 103 KB]. The Agreement outlines the following:

  • Objectives of the assignment
  • Requirements for the associate’s position and supervision
  • Costs and cost responsibilities
  • Leave and hours processes
  • Applicability of rules, regulations, and policies
  • Training requirements
  • Time period of assignment

This legally binding document cannot be revised.