Continuing Contributions of Field Epidemiology Training Programs to Global COVID-19 Response

Emerg Infect Dis. 2022 Dec;28(13):S129-S137. doi: 10.3201/eid2813.220990.


We documented the contributions of Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) trainees and graduates to global COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts. During February-July 2021, we conducted surveys designed in accordance with the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. We quantified trainee and graduate engagement in responses and identified themes through qualitative analysis of activity descriptions. Thirty-two programs with 2,300 trainees and 7,372 graduates reported near-universal engagement across response activities, particularly those aligned with the FETP curriculum. Graduates were more frequently engaged than were trainees in pandemic response activities. Common themes in the activity descriptions were epidemiology and surveillance, leading risk communication, monitoring and assessment, managing logistics and operations, training and capacity building, and developing guidelines and protocols. We describe continued FETP contributions to the response. Findings indicate the wide-ranging utility of FETPs to strengthen countries' emergency response capacity, furthering global health security.

Keywords: COVID-19; COVID-19 response; FETP; Field Epidemiology Training Programs; International Health Regulations; SARS-CoV-2; WHO COVID-19 Response Strategy; WHO Response Pillars; coronavirus; field epidemiology; global health security; pandemic; pandemic response; preparedness; workforce capacity building; workforce development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Public Health* / methods