by Paul Govern
Vanderbilt University Medical Center is among 11 centers that will pilot a new federally sponsored training program, the Joint Infectious Diseases/Epidemic Intelligence Service (ID/EIS) Fellowship.
Established in 1951 and housed in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the EIS is a two-year hands-on training program with a focus on epidemiological field work. Post-doctoral trainees, called EIS officers, are dispatched around the country and around the globe to investigate potential epidemics and other emerging public health threats. There are currently 147 EIS officers in the program, including physicians and PhDs from various biomedical fields, as well as pharmacists, nurses and others. Some fellows are assigned to state public health agencies, others are based at CDC offices.
Before joining the EIS, participants in the new program will complete standard two-year adult infectious diseases fellowships. In July 2023, VUMC’s Division of Infectious Diseases (which currently includes 62 faculty members and 10 fellows) will begin accepting applications for the joint training program. With their VUMC training concluded, fellows will become EIS officers.
The CDC has contracted the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) to help administer the program.
“We’re very pleased to see the CDC reaching out in this way to welcome the next generation of infectious diseases epidemiologists and public health leaders to the Epidemic Intelligence Service,” said Christina Fiske, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Medicine and fellowship program director in the Division of Infectious Diseases.
“Many infectious diseases specialists-in-training are interested in working in public health in one capacity or another,” she said. “With this new program looking to attract more physicians to the EIS and streamline physician entry into the field of public health, we wanted VUMC’s ID fellowship to be involved from the start. Our division has a long history of collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Health and the CDC, and we’re excited to be piloting this joint program in coordination with IDSA.”
The program is expected to spread to more adult ID fellowship programs in future years, and potentially will also include pediatric ID fellowship programs.