CDC Support to Health Officials: How CDC Can Help Respond to Emerging Local Health Concerns

During an emerging local public health issue or incident, there are several forms of assistance you can request from CDC as a health official—outside of a larger-scale emergency or CDC Emergency Operations Center activation, and under conditions in which your jurisdiction maintains autonomy and control.1

You do not have to be funded directly by CDC to receive technical assistance and other support, though some types of support require a formal invitation from your jurisdiction (e.g., for CDC to assist you on the ground in an epidemiologic investigation), whereas others are only a conversation away.

The following information can help you communicate, consult, and partner with CDC leaders and staff. Together we can identify and respond effectively to emerging public health issues and learn from each other’s expertise and experiences.

Contact CDC
  • In the event of an emergency, contact CDC’s Emergency Operations Center at 770.488.7100 (available 24/7).
  • For cross-cutting issues, concerns, or requests, or for assistance in reaching a specific CDC program, contact CDC’s Public Health Infrastructure Center at or 404.698.9246, available Monday–Friday, 8:30 am–4:30 pm (ET).

Assistance During Emerging Local Health Concerns

During emerging developments, CDC can assist by providing—

  • An informal sounding board and consultation; contact the relevant CDC program or the National Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Public Health Infrastructure and Workforce (Public Health Infrastructure Center) to discuss the issue
  • Information and data to help you develop plans, justifications, recommendations, and policy options for decision-making
  • Toolkits and other resources for conducting local investigations
  • Technical assistance and materials for communicating with the public and others
  • Help convening informal and formal discussions with stakeholders to raise awareness and discuss problems and solutions
  • Help identifying and connecting you with other jurisdictions that have had similar issues

Short-Term Technical Assistance

Epi⁠‑Aid Short-term epidemiologic assistance of CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officers to respond to urgent public health problems, such as unexplained illnesses, infectious disease outbreaks, and post-hurricane effects.

Printable fact sheet [PDF-229KB].

Lab‑Aid Short-term, rapid response assistance of CDC’s Laboratory Leadership Service (LLS) fellows. The LLS fellows assist in providing laboratory services during an outbreak or offer technical assistance related to quality management systems or laboratory safety. Note: A Lab-Aid is in addition to any laboratory technical assistance that might be provided during an Epi-Aid in which an LLS fellow participates.
Info‑Aid [PDF-571KB] Assistance related to information systems, meaningful use requirements, electronic health records, and other health information technology activities. Public health informatics fellows collaborate with requestors and their partners to define the problem and work extensively with CDC informatics staff to provide solutions or recommendations. Public health entities that request Info-Aids must pay for travel and per diem of responding fellows.
Econ‑Aid Assistance related to quantitative policy analysis, health economics-based inquiries, and integrative health services research. Steven M. Teutsch Prevention Effectiveness Fellowship fellows participate in the response as a part of their experiential training. Public health entities that request Econ-Aids must pay for travel and per diem of responding fellows.

Health officials can also request short-term technical assistance from CDC through the following mechanisms:

Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE): This program provides services to assess potential health hazards in workplaces. The HHE Program can 1) provide consultation for local health departments doing their own evaluations, 2) do its own investigation and report the findings to you, or 3) collaborate with you on an investigation. To discuss a particular situation, contact James Gooch at or 770.488.3961.

Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER): Health officials can request assistance from CDC’s Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, Health Studies Branch (HSB), in conducting a rapid needs assessment to determine the health status, basic needs, or knowledge, attitudes, and practices of a community in a quick and low-cost manner. CASPER can be used in both a disaster and non-disaster setting. To request assistance from HSB, contact Tegan Boehmer at or 770.488.3714 and Tesfaye Bayleyegn at or 770.488.3476.

Assessment of Chemical Exposures (ACE): Health officials can use ACE tools or request assistance from the ACE program to conduct an epidemiologic assessment after a chemical incident. The ACE Toolkit contains materials that can quickly be modified to meet the needs of a local team performing an epidemiologic assessment. When an incident occurs, the ACE program (located within the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) can provide technical assistance by forming a multidisciplinary, often multiagency, team to assist the state or local health department.

Public Health Law Technical Assistance: CDC’s Public Health Law Program (PHLP) performs research and creates tools for understanding law and making law and policy decisions. PHLP also hosts state and local public health counsel listservs and quarterly conference calls so that state and local public health attorneys can discuss and collaborate on public health law issues. PHLP provides guidance or information about legal matters pertaining to certain aspects of public health. Technical assistance may include services such as consulting, editing, and planning, but it does not involve an attorney-client relationship. Request PHLP technical assistance.

Public Health Infrastructure Center: Public Health Infrastructure Center provides customized support for health officials, collaborating to identify CDC and partner resources, to help address public health issues in their agencies and jurisdictions, and to improve population health in their communities. Public Health Infrastructure Center helps health officials address key public health challenges by connecting them with world-class subject matter experts, developing customized data and resource packages, and coordinating peer-to-peer networking opportunities. Request assistance from Public Health Infrastructure Center.


Examples of Resources Available to State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Health Agencies [PDF–271KB]
Access CDC resources for public health agency and other partner organization staff, including educational materials and information about fellowships, workforce development, technical assistance, and direct assistance

Resources for New Health Officials
Visit CDC’s page for new health officials

1 Pursuant to the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution, states have “police powers”; any powers not specifically delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or the people. Police powers are defined as powers exercised by the states to enact legislation and promulgate regulations to protect the public health, welfare, and morals, and to promote the common good; many state public health actions fall under police powers. Some federal public health-related activities are carried out under power to regulate interstate commerce and tax and spend. Source: CDC Public Health Law Program.