Core Activities & competencies

Core Activities

The Applied Epidemiology Fellowship provides core activities that fellows complete during their fellowship. All fellows must complete the core activites below in order to be a graduate of the program and receive a certification. 

Orientation

All incoming fellows participate in orientation sessions. The orientation covers various topics related to developing the Applied Epidemiology Core Competencies. The curriculum is taught by CSTE and CDC epidemiologists as well as faculty from Schools of Public Health.

Plan of Action

After starting at the fellow’s host site, the fellow and mentors develop a mutually agreed upon plan for fulfilling the Applied Epidemiology Core Competencies. By the end of the third month of the fellowship, the fellow and mentors submit a virtual formal “Plan of Action” that outlines how the fellow will complete the required core activities and address the competencies during the fellowship. Once submitted, fellows submit a quarterly Plan of Action which provides updates to the activities from the original Plan of Action. Reports describe completed activities, accomplishments to date, and any new activities.  

Evaluations

Each fellow works with their mentors to complete biannual evaluations. These evaluations assess the fellow’s performance and outline progress toward meeting the required core activities. 

CSTE Annual Conference

Fellows are required to attend the CSTE Annual conference each year of their fellowship. Fellows are required to submit abstracts for the conference. Fellows are not expected to use their professional development allowance to attend the conference. To learn more about how fellows participate in the CSTE Annual Conference, visit CSTE Annual Conference

Certification

A certificate from CSTE is awarded to each fellow at the end of the two-year fellowship, provided they demonstrate completion of all required core activities, submit a final report to CSTE, and perform satisfactorily during the fellowship according to their mentors. 

Fellowship Competencies

The Applied Epidemiology Fellowship is a competency based program where fellows complete competencies during their fellowship. The CSTE AEF Competencies have been updated to align with the revised 2023 Applied Epidemiology Competencies (AECs) to ensure fellows are developing measurable skills in applied epidemiology that will support their training development and apply to future epidemiology job opportunities. All fellows must complete the competencies below in order to be a graduate of the program.

Data Analytics and Assessment Skills

 

  • Recognizes the diversity of individuals and populations (e.g., diverse populations, biases, systemic and structural factors affecting health equity) 
  • *Explains cultural, environmental, historical, social, and structural frameworks that affect the health of a community 
  • Collects data from populations of interest to assess factors affecting the health of a community and health disparities using the principles of ethics, DEIA, and justice and mitigating potential negative impacts of data collection on the population 
  • Designs data collection tools to capture information needed to assess factors affecting the health of a community and health disparities using the principles of ethics, DEIA, and justice and mitigating potential negative impacts of data collection on the population 
  • Evaluates surveillance systems (e.g., system features, data elements, connectivity, cost-benefit analysis, burden to public health system, agency, and reporting entity) 
  • Evaluates surveillance systems for validity (e.g., identification of population categories, social determinants of health, DEIA principles, factors affecting the health of a community, and privacy considerations) 
  • **Describes methods used to investigate factors affecting the health of the community (e.g., community health status assessments) 
  • Designs epidemiologic investigation that consider DEIA (e.g., identifies data sources, designs data collection tools, coordinates sampling and investigation) 
  • **Participates in epidemiologic investigation (e.g., identifies population of interest, identifies investigation timeframe, considers and accounts for sources of bias and confounders)
  • Selects epidemiologic study design most applicable to investigation of specific factor that affects the health of a community 
  • Manages data and databases (e.g., including data transformation, creating datasets and variables, merging and splitting databases, formatting data, documenting data transformation) 
  • *Conducts analysis of data using software for data analysis and management (e.g., frequencies and descriptive statistics, adjustments, epidemiologic measures, trend analysis, measures of association, confidence intervals, statistics, multivariate analyses, regression analyses, geospatial and other graphical representations, questionnaire results, interview responses, indexing, coding, labeling, triangulation, and member checking) 
  • *Applies knowledge of epidemiologic principles and methods to make recommendations regarding the validity of epidemiologic data (e.g., including likely sources of bias, validity and reliability of data collection instruments and methods, limitations in study design, sample selection, data collection, analysis, significance testing, and other features, influence of power and confidence limits) 
  • *Creates data presentation or visualization of data analysis to convey key findings in the context of current knowledge, public health programs, DEIA, and community priorities and needs (e.g., dashboards, tables, charts, graphs) 
  • *Synthesizes key findings from the data analysis based on current knowledge and public health programs to influence behavior, improve health, and reduce health disparities 
  • Proposes new recommendations or modifications to existing interventions based on evidence (e.g., key findings, community input, risk communication and risk reduction methods, and shared risk and protective factors)

 

* Indicates Core Competencies addressed in the fellowship orientation curriculum or in webinar format hosted by CSTE. 

**Indicates an Optional Competency  

Public Health Sciences Skills

 

  • Explains factors impacting the delivery of the 10 essential public health services 
  • *Collaborates with other public health professionals to provide assistance in epidemiologic investigations, studies, surveillance, and programs 
  • **Collaborates with other public health professionals to provide assistance in epidemiologic investigations, studies, surveillance, and programs 
  • Describes the need for new or enhancement of existing systems to support epidemiologic activities 
  • Describes public health information systems and epidemiologic needs 

 

* Indicates Core Competencies addressed in the fellowship orientation curriculum or in webinar format hosted by CSTE. 

**Indicates an Optional Competency  

Communication Skills

 

  • Tailors information based on audience, content, and methods for dissemination (e.g., preparation of abstracts, manuscripts, written or oral reports, press releases, dynamic dashboards, maps, social media, blogs, podcasts, websites, television, radio) 
  • Applies risk communication principles to communicate epidemiologic messages (e.g., tailoring risk communication to diverse audiences, following agency risk communication strategy and policy for media inquiries) using principles of ethics, DEIA, and justice 
  • Develops and designs content needed for communication in line with best practices (e.g., promoting diverse opinions and DEIA, evaluating community reach, audience literacy and language needs, access and functional needs, community priorities, data visualization) 
  • Communicates epidemiologic findings, methodology, and principles to affected individuals, communities, organizations, the public or professional audiences (e.g., using mechanisms tailored to that audience, using age-appropriate materials, using plain language, implementing CLAS Standards, ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities, engaging interpreters and translators, and acknowledging the changing communication ecosystem) 
  • Identifies cultural, environmental, historical, social, structural, educational, and accessibility factors impacting the population 
Community Partnership Skills

 

  • Describes cultural, environmental, historical, social, structural, educational, and accessibility factors that affect the community’s health and resilience 
  • **Engages communities in bidirectional dialogue on health issues impacting their community at all stages of epidemiologic activities (e.g., engages with the community in a way that is accessible) 
  • * Explains the different levels of governmental public health (tribal, territorial, local, state, and federal), their legal authority, and their roles and responsibilities in the community and public health programs 
  • **Provides assistance to communities, partners, and local public health systems relating to surveillance, epidemiologic data, evaluation, and planning (e.g., combating misinformation and disinformation, practices active listening) 
  • *Describes partners and collaborators necessary to support epidemiologic activities and community capacity building 
  • Participates in scheduled emergency management exercises and/or drills 
  • Describes data analysis during an emergency (e.g., available data sources, surveillance needs and tools, data availability and quality limitations, reporting needs, stakeholder involvement) 

 

* Indicates Core Competencies addressed in the fellowship orientation curriculum or in webinar format hosted by CSTE. 

**Indicates an Optional Competency  

Management and Finance Skills

 

  • Maintains accurate records related to financial and operational health (e.g., time records, invoices, travel expenses) 
  • Describes epidemiology program function on the public health agency management team 
  • **Identifies funding sources and opportunities to support epidemiologic activities 

 

**Indicates an Optional Competency  

 

Leadership and Systems Thinking Skills

 

  • *Describes the organization’s vision and program goals 
  • *Describes a shared vision of change 
  • *Applies project and time management skills needed for epidemiologic activities 
  • *Participates in collaborative relationship activities for workforce development (e.g., coaching, mentoring, sharing experiences at workforce events, networking, professional society membership) 

 

* Indicates Core Competencies addressed in the fellowship orientation curriculum or in webinar format hosted by CSTE. 

Policy Development and Program Planning Skills

 

  • *Describes the scope of regulations and laws affecting epidemiologic activities 
  • **Provides epidemiologic and surveillance data to inform the development and improvement of policies, programs, services, and laws (e.g., providing input, evidence, or data, following organizational procedures, creating decision memos, identifying policy alternatives) 
  • Creates SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bounded) program-relevant goals, objectives, and performance measures 
  • *Applies ethics guidelines, principles, and laws when planning studies; conducting research; and collecting, managing, disseminating, and using data (e.g., considering data sovereignty, data governance, public health authority, confidentiality, Belmont principles, IRB processes, HIPAA, other privacy laws) 
  • *Assists in designing public health actions that reduce systematic and structural barriers that perpetuate health inequities (e.g., racism, sexism, bigotry, poverty, gender discrimination) 

 

* Indicates Core Competencies addressed in the fellowship orientation curriculum or in webinar format hosted by CSTE. 

**Indicates an Optional Competency