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

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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

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 Public Health Infrastructure Center at 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.
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 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.
Opioid Rapid Response Program (ORRP) A program designed to support states’ public health and behavioral health preparedness and response efforts to mitigate risks among patients when legal or regulatory actions disrupt a clinician’s ability to prescribe opioids and other controlled substances.
  • To request ORRP assistance, call CDC Emergency Response Operations Center at 770-488-7100 and ask for the ORRP point of contact. The ORRP program will set-up a brief call to discuss the state’s or jurisdiction’s needs.
  • For general questions, email
Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Services to assess potential health hazards in workplaces. The HHE Program can provide consultation for local health departments doing their own evaluations, do its own investigation and report the findings to you, or collaborate with you on an investigation.
Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) Assistance from CDC’s Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, Health Studies Branch, 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.
Assessment of Chemical Exposures (ACE) Assistance from the ACE program in the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to conduct an epidemiologic assessment after a chemical incident. When an incident occurs, the ACE program can provide technical assistance by forming a multidisciplinary, often multiagency, team to assist the state or local health department. The ACE Toolkit contains materials that can quickly be modified to meet the needs of a local team performing an epidemiologic assessment.
  • To request information or assistance, call the ACE program at 404-567-3256 or email
  • You can also contact the CDC Emergency Operations Center 24/7 at 770-488-7100 and ask to speak with someone from the ACE team.
Public Health Law Technical Assistance CDC’s Public Health Law Program (PHLP) performs research, creates tools, and provides training to help practitioners understand and make 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 and 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. CDC cannot provide legal advice on any issues and cannot represent any individual or entity in any matter, including administrative or court proceedings.
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 improve population health in their communities. The 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.

Host a Fellow or Trainee

Apply to host a CDC-sponsored fellow or trainee. CDC offers career training fellowships through which CDC pays for the assignees to work in and serve health organizations in the field. The following is a list of the specific fellowships in which staff are assigned to work in state, tribal, local, and territorial public health agencies:

Data for Action

Use data provided through CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to inform program development, implementation, and evaluation, and to make the case for programmatic and funding needs. NCHS is the nation’s principal health statistics agency, providing data to identify and address health issues. NCHS compiles statistical information to help guide public health and health policy decisions. Collaborating with other public and private health partners, NCHS employs a variety of data collection mechanisms to obtain accurate information from multiple sources. NCHS’s data provide a broad perspective to help us understand the population’s health, influences on health, and health outcomes. See the NCHS Surveys and Data Collection Systems summary fact sheets for more information. Other sources include CDC’s FastStats and the Data & Statistics portal.

Workforce Development Resources

  • CDC’s Learning Connection: CDC’s Learning Connection can help you locate learning products and resources from across the public health community, including learning opportunities from CDC, other federal agencies, and federally funded partners, including many that offered free continuing education credits.
  • CDC TRAIN: To support workforce development, CDC offers free, 24/7 access to this premier learning resource for public health training. CDC partnered with the Public Health Foundation to develop CDC TRAIN, expanding access to education and training resources for professionals who protect the public’s health. Anyone can register for a free CDC TRAIN account. Once registered, users can explore a wide variety of training opportunities—including those related to HIV/AIDS, public health surveillance, developing program plans, and more.

Find more opportunities: Workforce Development Resources for the Public Health Community

Direct Assistance

At CDC, direct assistance is a financial assistance mechanism used primarily to support payroll and travel expenses of CDC employees assigned to state, tribal, local, and territorial health agencies that receive grants and cooperative agreements.

On-TRAC: Online Technical Resource and Assistance Center: CDC developed On-TRAC to provide health departments with a secure, user-friendly platform for requesting technical assistance from CDC subject matter experts on public health preparedness. In addition to tools and resources to support CDC’s 15 public health preparedness capabilities, On-TRAC offers answers to frequently asked questions, enhanced search engine capacity, expanded peer-to-peer exchanges (with regional workspaces), and many varied resources. State, tribal, local, and territorial public health professionals must be registered to access On-TRAC.

Opioid Rapid Response Teams (ORRTs): Specialized teams of public health professionals who provide rapid, short-term (28-day) support to jurisdictions experiencing spikes in opioid-related overdoses or closures of clinics where patients are prescribed opioid therapy. Rapid response teams offer technical expertise in epidemiology, clinical provider outreach, communications, policy and partnerships, community outreach, and capacity-building from CDC and the Commissioned Corps. The teams provide support to public health partners while also working to build the jurisdiction’s long-term response capacity.

Communication Resources
  • CDC-INFO on Demand
    Order or download books, fact sheets, pamphlets, educational materials, and more.
  • CDC Newsroom
    Get the latest breaking news and media updates from CDC. Users can access archives of CDC news releases, media advisories, and press telebriefings.
  • Epi-X (The Epidemic Information Exchange)
    Epi-X is CDC’s web-based communications solution for public health professionals. Through Epi-X, CDC officials, state and local health departments, poison control centers, and other public health professionals can access and share preliminary health surveillance information—quickly and securely. Users can be notified of breaking health events as they happen. Key features of Epi-X include scientific and editorial support, controlled user access, digital credentials and authentication, rapid outbreak 4 reporting, and peer-to-peer consultation. Participation in Epi-X is limited to public health officials designated by each health agency.
  • HAN (Health Alert Network)
    HAN is CDC’s primary method of sharing cleared information about urgent public health incidents with federal, state, local, and territorial public health practitioners; clinicians; public health laboratories; and public information officers. HAN collaborates with federal, state, territorial, and city and county partners to develop protocols and stakeholder relationships that will ensure an interoperable platform for the rapid distribution of public health information. Sign up for HAN email updates.
Additional Resources

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

Stay Current on Health Alerts & Emergencies
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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.