CDC’s Impact

Public Health Brings STEM Education to Life
  • CDC’s Museum Disease Detective Camp launched in 2005. More than 1,950 rising high school juniors and seniors from across the world have been immersed in this one-week CDC experience.
  • In 2020, the CDC Museum initiated the Public Health Academy, which includes digital programs and online courses, in addition to the onsite camp experience, has expanded the reach to 2,200 more students to date.
  • Teaching public health in grades K–12 can support lifelong health literacy in students and help them build essential skills for the future.
  • CDC resources, such as the educational activities provided by the CDC Science Ambassador Program, help K–12 teachers and educators design a complex but manageable science curriculum that teaches students to think critically about the world around them, and design realistic solutions to large-scale problems that exist today.  It better prepares them to respond to future problems.
  • Interdisciplinary educational programs, such as those organized by the CDC Museum, offer immersive experiences where students become disease detectives and gain insights into the field of public health, including careers, history, science, epidemiology, prevention-based public health, and communication.
Training Teachers Provides Exponential Reach to Students
  • Since 2004, CDC has trained more than 500 STEM teachers in epidemiology and public health, reaching an estimated 1 million students across 40 U.S. states.

    Preparing K–12 teachers and other educators to deliver a variety of STEM curricula provides opportunities to reach more students, in more communities, across the country.

  • CDC’s reach extends to both teachers and students from communities underrepresented in STEM.

A core teacher training program is CDC’s Science Ambassador Fellowship. Fellows share many inspiring stories. One fellow had students who partnered with community organizations to train a high school in teen mental health first aid, leading to six additional area schools hosting the training. Others have been featured in national media, such as Good Morning America and The New York Times. Read our Science Ambassador stories and learn about their innovative strategies for teaching public health.

Sumi Jayaraman, MA

“Integrating public health into the classroom brings us to the forefront of where STEM education should be. ”

Sumi Jayaraman, MA, Atlanta, GA │2014 CDC Science Ambassador

CDC Prepares the Next Generation of STEM Professionals
  • Teaching STEM through a public health lens fosters ingenuity and creativity, builds resilience, promotes problem-solving skills, and encourages experimentation, teamwork, knowledge application, and technology use.
  • Teaching public health as part of a STEM curriculum also contributes to equity in education, as public health benefits from a variety of perspectives and diverse skill sets.
  • CDC helps teachers integrate public health STEM activities that cover core content into their science, math, social studies, English/language arts, and other classes.
  • Creating critical thinkers, increasing science and health literacy, and enabling the next generation of innovators are key to the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy.
Tessa Spraetz, MEd, Rosemount, MN

“Working with subject matter experts who had current data and information that could be used immediately in my classroom was a highlight of the CDC Science Ambassador Fellowship. Being able to implement this information into my classroom will make current issues in epidemiology more relevant to my students’ lives, and hopefully inspire them to look into careers in public health.”

Tessa Spraetz, MEd, Rosemount, MN │2019 CDC Science Ambassador

We are Committed to Building an Inclusive STEM Workforce for Public Health
  • CDC provides public health resources for education and training that reach individuals from all corners of the United States, particularly from groups that historically have been economically or socially marginalized, are from under-resourced communities, or are underrepresented populations in the STEM workforce, including Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and American Indian or Alaska Native persons; women; and persons with disabilities.
  • Research shows the best way to prepare students from underrepresented communities for STEM careers is to reach them early—long before they enroll in college. By supporting STEM education in the K–12 years and continuing through post-secondary and advanced education and training, CDC helps to reach and build the STEM community across the nation.
CDC Partnerships Help Secure and Sustain the Public Health Workforce
four people sitting at a table, two women are shaking hands

CDC’s partnerships with the STEM community play a vital role in cultivating the next-generation public health workforce, as most fellows and trainees stay in public health, and many become leaders in the field and beyond.

  • Partnerships with CDC increase awareness about STEM opportunities in public health and help engage learners and their families, educators, community leaders, public and private organizations, and other federal agencies in the public health and STEM community.
  • CDC provides leadership and technical assistance and collaborates with STEM partners across the country to strengthen shared priorities in addressing public health issues.
Page last reviewed: July 27, 2021