CDC and CSTE Partner to Strengthen the Applied Epidemiology Workforce


The CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship was established in 2003 to strengthen the public health workforce.

CSTE expanded the fellowship in 2008 to include a focus on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), a CDC and national priority area.

24 HAI Fellows
CDC and CSTE have since placed 24 HAI fellows in state and local health departments across the nation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Applied Epidemiology Fellowship was created in 2003 to strengthen the applied epidemiology workforce at state and local health agencies. The fellowship program addresses critical workforce shortages by placing epidemiology trainees in state or local health departments under the mentorship of experienced senior epidemiologists for two years. An individualized training plan is established according to the needs of each fellow and local workforce gaps. The program fills a unique training niche with an emphasis on the following:

  • High-quality, on-the-job training in epidemiology and related topics at a state or local health department through a mentorship model
  • Recruitment of fellows interested in practicing public health at the state or local level
  • Activity- and competency-based training (i.e., fellows will be expected to develop a core set of skills during the fellowship by completing specified training activities)
  • Flexibility in meeting the needs of individual fellows and priority objectives for workforce development within certain program areas

More than 200 fellows have entered the program since its inception. With more states beginning HAI prevention programs and an increase in mandated reporting of these infections, there was a growing need to address HAI control and prevention. CDC and CSTE sought to help meet this need by encouraging applied epidemiology fellows to focus on HAIs.


What We Did

In 2008, CSTE and CDC began working together to expand the fellowship program to include placements in a growing area of public health concern—healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). CSTE was awarded funding from CDC to use CDC/CSTE applied epidemiology fellows as a resource in state and local health departments working on HAI issues. CSTE sent a call for host site applications from state and large urban health departments for this new subject area and had interest from 11 agencies in the first year alone. The first nine HAI fellows started the program in 2009. Since then, CSTE has offered HAIs as a subject area for the program and placed 24 HAI fellows in state and local health departments.

What We Accomplished

As of January 2013, there are 57 CSTE fellows in the field, 11 of whom focus on HAIs, a critical public health problem in need of additional applied epidemiologists. These fellows are working on diverse projects, including

  • Evaluation of South Carolina’s CHESS (Carolina’s Health Electronic Surveillance System) for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infection
  • Analysis of New Hampshire’s surgical site infection data reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network in 2009
  • Cost analysis and comparison for Michigan hospitals for HAIs from 2002 through 2008 using discharge data related to MRSA and Clostridium difficile infections
  • Design of a carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae surveillance system for Minnesota
  • Evaluation of the identification and management of influenza-like illnesses among hospitalized patients in Chicago
  • Implementation of a descriptive study of activity and distribution of HAIs in Pennsylvania nursing homes
  • Evaluation of MRSA screening practices and comparison of MRSA incidence data at Pennsylvania acute care facilities
  • Description of the financial burden of HAIs in New York state
  • Evaluation of Group Aβ-hemolytic streptococcus outbreaks in long-term care facilities in New York state
  • Assessment of surgical site infection reporting readiness in Washington state
  • Surveillance of post-discharge surgical site infections in Washington state

Fellows have gained invaluable experience in applied epidemiology, and the fellowship continues to fill critical public health workforce needs, particularly for well-trained epidemiologists with state and local public health experience.

Publication date: 04/02/2013

More Information
For story information, contact

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
Amanda Masters
Workforce and Fellowship Coordinator
Telephone: 770-458-3811

For product information, contact
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30333

The information in Public Health Practice Stories from the Field was provided by organizations external to CDC. Provision of this information by CDC is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the US government or CDC.

Page last reviewed: October 5, 2018