The State Chronic Disease Epidemiology Assignee Program

The State Chronic Disease Epidemiology Assignee Program assists states with building chronic disease epidemiology capacity by providing state public health departments with resources to secure and support on-site CDC chronic disease epidemiologists.

 Following the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Public Health report, CDC created the State Chronic Disease Epidemiology Assignee Program in 1991.1 The Program assigns epidemiologists to state public health departments by request to help strengthen state chronic disease epidemiologic capacity. The Program’s many external partners in this effort include state public health departments, The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), and others.

What Do State Chronic Disease Epidemiologists Do?

This program helps states build chronic disease epidemiology capacity by assigning them a CDC chronic disease epidemiologist to assist in the following areas2:

Epidemiology and Data Collection
  • Provide epidemiological assistance to the state public health agency, local public health agencies, and partners.
  • Consult with chronic disease program managers about using data to target prevention efforts and develop strategies for strengthening those efforts.
  • Enhance data collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination3.
  • Develop and implement chronic disease surveillance and evaluation plans.
  • Contribute to the development of chronic disease and related state plans.
  • Provide technical assistance in writing chronic disease-related grant applications, cooperative agreements, and requests for proposals.
  • Make presentations at national and local conferences.
  • Publish state reports and articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Mentoring
  • Mentor, develop resources for, and conduct trainings for state and local chronic disease program staff to strengthen capacity and enhance data usage.
  • Serve as a mentor for student interns, fellows, and preventive medicine residents.
Partnerships
  • Ensure collaboration across chronic disease programs.
  • Build partnerships with other agencies and stakeholders across multiple sectors to increase data sharing and usage.
  • Participate in Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists subcommittees.

CDC’s State Chronic Disease Epidemiology Assignee Program History

States that have hosted an assignee through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s State Chronic Disease Epidemiology Assignee Program, 1991–2018

States that have hosted an assignee through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s State Chronic Disease Epidemiology Assignee Program, 1991–2018.

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CDC Direct Assistance for Funding a State Chronic Disease Epidemiologist

Through direct assistance from CDC, a chronic disease epidemiologist is assigned to a state for one year or longer, depending on the state’s needs and funding availability. For more information about the direct assistance mechanism, please visit CDC’s webpage on direct assistance.

Notable Accomplishments

Assignees worked to develop systematic data collection and reporting processes as well as data products and tools (e.g. chronic disease profile reportsexternal icon, infographics, etc.) to support chronic disease programs including but not limited to the following: Tobacco, Asthma, Injury Prevention and Control, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Cancer Prevention and Control, and Arthritis.

The Colorado assignee led a team of 19 stakeholders to plan and develop an innovative chronic disease and behavioral health data dashboard that significantly increased access to data and is used extensively for state and local program planning.

Assignees worked with CSTE to develop a “Chronic Disease Epidemiologist Orientation Manual,” a resource guide for understanding the roles of and technical challenges faced by chronic disease epidemiologists. These include collaborating and integrating with other programs, identifying data sources and indicators, interpreting and disseminating data, and using data as part of an evidence-based public health approach.4

Recent publications:

  • Sandoval-Rosario M; Contreras OA, Mercado C; Barbour KE, Cunningham T, Rosales CB. The Association between Depression and Diabetes and Associated Risk Factors by Racial/Ethnic Status among Adults in Arizona: Arizona Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014-2017. Diversity & Equality in Health and Care. 2019 March 3; 16(2): 22-29
  • Adakai M, Sandoval-Rosario M, Xu F, Aseret-Manygoats T, Allison M, Greenlund KJ, Barbour KE. Health Disparities Among American Indians/Alaska Natives — Arizona, 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018 Nov 30; 67(47);1314–1318
  • Calanan RM, Sandoval-Rosario M, Price JD, Samanic CM, Lu H, Barbour KE. Achieving Excellence in the Practice of Chronic Disease Epidemiology. Prev Chronic Dis. 2018 Nov 29;15:E146.
  • Sandoval-Rosario M, Nayeri BM, Rascon A, Boring M, Aseret-Manygoats T, Helmick CG, Murphy LB, Hootman JM, Imperatore G, Barbour KE. Prevalence of Arthritis Among Adults with Prediabetes and Arthritis-Specific Barriers to Important Interventions for Prediabetes – United States, 2009-2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018 Nov 9; 67(44);1238–1241
References
  1. Frey CA, Remington PL, Lengerich E. Evaluation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s chronic disease state-based epidemiology for public health program support (STEPPS) program. J Public Health Manag Pract 2003;9(4):266-74.
  2. Calanan RM, Sandoval-Rosario M, Price JD, Samanic CM, Lu H, Barbour KE. Achieving Excellence in the Practice of Chronic Disease Epidemiology. Prev Chronic Dis. 2018 Nov 29;15:E146.
  3. Duffy RE, Siegel, PZ. Increasing chronic disease epidemiology capacity without increasing workforce: a success story in Ohio. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2009 Mar-Apr;15(2):123-6.
  4. Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Chronic Disease Epidemiologist Orientation Manual: A Resource for Applied Epidemiologists. Atlanta, GA: CSTE; 2015.
Page last reviewed: June 13, 2019
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