Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Public Health Career for a Lifetime

>> Are you looking for an exciting, public health career? Become a CDC Disease Detective. CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service, better known as EIS is a two year, post-graduate program of service. It offers on the job training for health professionals who are interested in the practice of epidemiology. EIS attracts candidates from diverse backgrounds. Physicians, nurses, veterinarians, and Ph.D. trained scientists. EIS officers often called CDC's Disease Detectives are on the public health front lines. They conduct epidemiologic investigations, research, and public health surveillance both nationally and internationally. EIS alum, Acting Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, Class of 1988 shares why he joined EIS. 

>> Well certainly EIS program has an incredible legend associated with it. It always was one of those premier programs to get that person such as myself, who was clinically oriented, to get them into field settings. To really deal with the issue of on the job training regarding epidemiology but also on the job training regarding the analysis of data, the looking at public health and population based problems. To be able to come up with recommendations to solve those problems and ultimately to make a bigger impact on the world. You know when I was looking at the program, I in fact, fell in love with the program as a medical student. At that time, I remember, there was a magazine that had come out that was profiling different specialties and one of the specialties profiled one of those months was the Epidemic Intelligence Service. I remember still as a first or second year medical student saying that's what I want to do. First of all, I wanted to see the world. I wanted to get involved in population issues. So even though I realized I needed to have a basis in clinical medicine, I knew at some point I would dedicate the two years of my life to doing the Epidemic Intelligence Service. If nothing else, for the variety that it offered but also for the training that it offered. 

>> Being a part of EIS allows you to learn public health epidemiology and gain skills in disease surveillance, epidemiologic investigation and research, scientific writing and responding to urgent public health threats. EIS officers have the opportunity to work at state and local health departments throughout the United States or at CDC on various topics such as infectious diseases, chronic diseases, occupational and environmental health issues and many others. Rear Admiral Lushniak describes his EIS work assignment. 

>> There were so many different options. There were the option to stay at CDC, Atlanta and certainly the diversity of programs there. I was very interested at the state program but also I had an interest in the area of occupational and environmental medicine and environmental issues in particular. And so I decided to go for the placement at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and I was initially stationed in Cincinnati, Ohio as part of their Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance program at CDC NIOSH. 

>> Since 1951, thousands of EIS officers have responded to urgent outbreaks and public health challenges by identifying the cause, implementing control measures and recommending how to prevent similar outbreaks in the future. EIS wants the best of the best to apply for this two-year program. 

>> Individuals who are out there looking at it from whatever base they come from. Whether it's from the medical, the nursing, from the scientific base, they need to look at this as an opportunity to grow, as an opportunity to look at the world, right? This is exciting stuff to be working on. And ultimately an opportunity to think about the service part of their career path. Ultimately government service is a bold and noble undertaking. Yeah, I'm a big fan of it. I've been doing it all of my adult life but it started with EIS. 

>> EIS offers a unique opportunity for health professionals to learn and practice applied epidemiology while serving as members of the CDC team. EIS is a good fit if you're interested in applied epidemiology and using new technology to solve problems to improve public health. As an EIS officer, you will be in the vanguard of public health professionals working on global health security, anti-microbial resistance, prescription drug overdose and other priorities. Physicians and other health care professionals, doctoral level scientists and veterinarians may apply. 

>> For people who are you know, thinking about the program, first and foremost, realize yes it's 24 months, okay? It may lead you down a pathway as it did for me and for many other leaders in public health. That, that was the entry point. If that's what you're looking for great. Even if you're looking for just something unique for those 24 months, something that will add even to your clinical acumen, alright? Then just do it. The reality of the situation is 24 months nowadays it seems like a long time. It goes by just like that. It does take you a little off the traditional pathway. For example, for physicians, right? The traditional pathway is you get your M.D. or your D.O. degree, you go into residency, you go into clinical practice. This is a diversion, perhaps for two years, or for a whole career. It is well worth it. It allows you to look at various aspects of yourself. Alright? The concept of leadership. The concept of integrity, of excellence and ultimately of service.

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