National Network of STD Clinical Prevention Training Centers (NNPTC)
The National Network of STD Clinical Prevention Training Centers (NNPTC)external icon is a CDC-funded group of regional centers created in partnership with health departments and universities. NNPTC is dedicated to increasing the knowledge and skills of health professionals in the areas of sexual and reproductive health. Awarded April 1, 2020 for a five-year project period, the NNPTC provides health professionals with a spectrum of state-of-the-art educational opportunities, including experiential learning, with an emphasis on prevention. The prevention training centers will develop, disseminate and evaluate training and training assistance to improve STD care at the clinical provider, healthcare organization, and system levels.
The three components of the project (award recipients for CDC-RFA-PS20-2004external icon) are:
- Component A Regional Centers
Columbia University, Denver Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, University of Alabama (Southeastern Prevention Training Center), University of California, San Francisco, University of Washington, and Washington University, St. Louis
- Component B National STD Prevention Training Centers Coordination Center (NPTC3)
Denver Public Health
- Component C National STD Curriculum Center (NSTDC)
University of Washington
|Columbia University||Denver Public Health||Johns Hopkins University||Massachusetts Department of Public Health|
|University of Alabama||University of California, San Francisco||University of Washington||Washington University, St. Louis|
Prevention Training Centers Face, Overcome Obstacles During the COVID-19 Pandemic
For over 40 years, the National Network of STD Clinical Prevention Training Centers (NNPTC) have been at the forefront of the U.S.’s public health strategy to counter the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—providing reliable resources and solutions for clinicians and researchers, from direct physician guidance and advice offered through the STD Clinical Consultation Network, to comprehensive educational support delivered by the National STD Curriculum Center. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread in 2020, it ushered in new complications for these efforts, but the NNPTC proved the public’s trust was well-placed as they pivoted in new ways to continue to address crucial STD prevention and treatment needs around the country.
The National STD Curriculum Podcast, launched in fall 2020, explores innovative and significant STD issues in brief monthly episodes. Each episode reviews influential oral abstracts from conferences and key literature, and all are available on most podcast apps or on the website (www.std.uw.edu/podcastexternal icon), which also features transcripts and references.
The regional Prevention Training Centers (PTCs) serve as reliable learning hubs for STD clinicians, providing a variety of treatment options and training resources. These trusted institutions have traditionally offered many learning opportunities in person, but in a post-COVID-19 world, they have entered a new era, one that includes revamped online training programs delivered on strengthened virtual platforms —innovations that have inspired increased participant engagement and satisfaction. Each of the PTCs has pivoted to meet the demands of the new normal in public health and clinical guidance, and have successfully incorporated virtual training methods into their instructional toolkits.
When the pandemic struck, the Denver PTC redesigned and transitioned all classes to virtual delivery, offering clinical trainings crafted to maximize participant engagement. With this transition, the Denver PTC has reached more people in the region, increased the number of enrollees in skills-based trainings, and helped foster a virtual regional learning community that is still going strong.
Since June 2020, the STD/HIV PTC at Johns Hopkins has successfully hosted a wide variety of virtual trainings ranging in length from one hour to three days, including a three-day, region-wide “STI Overview.” With virtual trainings not limited by location, the STD/HIV PTC at Johns Hopkins has expanded its reach, and now offers additional new trainings that include enhanced content material – most at low or no cost.
In fall 2020, the California PTC pivoted during the pandemic to conduct an online Learning Community (LC) – a collaborative approach supporting cross dialogue among varied healthcare settings and clinical provider specialties – that focused on congenital syphilis (CS) and syphilis in pregnancy in response to a rapid rise in CS cases on Oahu, HI among ethnic minority populations in at-risk communities. California PTC also provided technical assistance to local Oahu providers, and collaborated with the Hawaii Department of Health to deliver an LC and additional one-hour sessions.
When the pandemic struck, the New York City PTC shifted to virtual trainings throughout the region, offering discussions focused on first-hand accounts of adaptations used at clinics to provide effective STD care and prevention and the expanded use of Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) during the pandemic, as well as providing guidance on possible modifications that could be incorporated in the provision of clinical STD care. NYC PTC trainings are still in high demand, and the PTC has expanded existing partnerships by offering co-sponsored trainings, delivering faster instruction to a wider audience in a shorter amount of time.
With roots in trauma-informed care principles and sex-positive ideologies, the St. Louis PTC has created a curriculum that focuses on addressing bias, updating language, and eliminating stigma through practical, incremental changes. St. Louis PTC’s virtual STI-intensive courses, eLearning community, and trainings with community-based organizations have all continued to thrive and receive positive feedback throughout the course of the pandemic.
Since the emergence of the pandemic, the UW PTC has trained 291 healthcare personnel through four “STD Updates” (two consecutive virtual half-days.) The PTC is proud to have offered a web training session on the new gonorrhea treatment guidance, delivered by Dr. Lindley Barbee, one of the authors. Overall, the virtual process has been highly successful, leading to lower costs and scheduling flexibility for students and faculty.
In December 2020, the Sylvie Ratelle PTC shifted its annual “Advanced STD Intensive Course for Fellows” to a fully virtual, online experience. The course was converted to a five-day, half-day online format, and included virtual break-out rooms to allow for smaller, interactive case-based discussions – a process that proved to be highly effective, with smooth pacing and high engagement.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Southeast PTC has successfully hosted three state-wide annual updates, four clinical intensive instruction sessions, and various on-demand trainings using a virtual format. With virtual learning, the Southeast PTC has expanded audience capacity and opened doors to new partnerships that deliver access to providers serving under-resourced, difficult-to-reach populations, including Hispanic and Native American communities.