With rapidly changing ecology, urbanization, climate change, increased travel and fragile public health systems, epidemics will become more frequent, more complex and harder to prevent and contain. Here we argue that our concept of epidemics must evolve from crisis response during discrete outbreaks to an integrated cycle of preparation, response and recovery. This is an opportunity to combine knowledge and skills from all over the world-especially at-risk and affected communities. Many disciplines need to be integrated, including not only epidemiology but also social sciences, research and development, diplomacy, logistics and crisis management. This requires a new approach to training tomorrow's leaders in epidemic prevention and response.