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CDC epidemiology training program seeks OD applicants

June 19, 2012

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now accepting applications from health care practitioners for its Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Program.

The EIS is a unique two-year, post-graduate training program of service and on-the-job learning for health professionals interested in the practice of applied epidemiology, according to the CDC.

Each year, 70 to 80 people are selected as EIS officers and assigned to the CDC, or to state or local health departments, where they conduct epidemiologic investigations, research, and public health surveillance.

“EIS officers are on the public health frontlines, conducting epidemiologic investigations, research, and public health surveillance both nationally and internationally,” CDC officials said in a statement on the program last month.

Since the service was established in 1951, more than 3,000 EIS officers have responded to requests for epidemiologic assistance from within the United States and from around the world, according to the CDC.

Over the past decade, EIS officers have conducted studies or investigations related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the health status of Haitian orphans entering the United States after the Haiti earthquake, and reported cases of a new strain of influenza A (H1N1).

Optometrists are eligible for the EIS program, CDC officials emphasized in discussions with Michael Duenas, O.D., AOA’s associate director for health sciences and policy, and a past CDC health scientist.

“Optometrists serving as EIS Officers might be called on to investigate disease outbreaks, such as acanthamoeba keratitis and other zoogenic, waterborne or environmental diseases and/or exposures, Additionally, they may assist in surveillance activities and in providing accurate and timely health information on infectious and chronic diseases, with links to vision and eye health, to the public, health care professionals, and state, local and tribal officials,” said Dr. Duenas.

The program is open to physicians, other health care professionals, doctoral level scientists, and veterinarians, according to the CDC.

Applications for the program must be filed online before midnight EST on Sept. 1, 2012.

For additional information, including a downloadable brochure on the program, see the EIS webpage (www.cdc.gov/eis). Questions can be emailed to eis@cdc.gov. Optometrists with questions about the program can contact Dr. Duenas at mrduenas@aoa.org.

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