North Carolina Epi Teams
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Epi Teams Training Curriculum?
The Epi Teams Training Curriculum is a set of training materials designed to improve the functioning of local health department epidemiology teams. The curriculum includes individual and group activities addressing applied epidemiology competencies.
This Web site has several sections, always listed on the left-hand side of the screen. The How to Use This Training Curriculum section provides basic information about the training curriculum, including a description of the three primary curriculum components. This section also includes a recommended year-long schedule for using the training materials. Although we suggest working through the materials in the order provided in the schedule, it is possible to use the materials in any order.
The Getting Started, Case Studies, and Exercises sections contain the training materials. Getting Started includes a baseline assessment, information about registering for continuing education credits, and links to the introductory module and team building exercise. The Case Studies section includes facilitator and participant versions of all case study scenarios, which are designed to be used by the Epi Team as a group. The Activities section has links to stand-alone activities designed for individuals. Each case study and activity also has a list of recommended trainings that can be completed by individuals prior to working through the case study as a team.
The remaining sections include additional information and resources for local Epi Teams. Competencies and Learning Objectives contains the list of applied epidemiology competencies and learning objectives addressed in the training materials. Additional Resources provides links to other useful Web sites, such as the NC Communicable Disease Control Branch, and a list of recommended trainings available online from the UNC Center for Public Health Preparedness.
The intended audience is local Epidemiology Teams (Epi Teams) in North Carolina. Members of Epi Teams vary, but may include health directors, epidemiologists, nurses, environmental health specialists, public information officers or health educators, laboratorians, administrators, and information technology specialists. Epi Teams from other states may use these materials, but all examples are specific to North Carolina and the way its Epi Teams function.
Some training materials (e.g. Introductory Module, Activities) are designed for individual team members to complete on their own. Other materials (e.g. Team Building Exercises, Case Studies) are designed for the Epi Team as a group.
This Web site includes several types of training materials. “Introduction to NC Epi Teams” is a recorded presentation that should be viewed on an individual basis before beginning the training curriculum. Team Building Exercises are designed to improve communication among Epi Team members. Case Studies are scenarios based on actual disease outbreaks or other public health emergencies designed to guide the Epi Team through the actions necessary to respond to an emergency. Activities are short, interactive online modules designed to teach a specific skill, such as creating a line listing, that members should complete on an individual basis.
The purpose of the training curriculum is to improve the functioning of local Epi Teams. We suggest using the trainings as outlined in the Recommended Training Schedule. The schedule alternates between individual and group activities.
In the coming year, we plan to add case studies and exercises based on interest from local Epi Teams. Please tell us how you have used the training materials with your Epi Team and what additional materials your Epi Team would like to see.
The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists published a list of applied epidemiology competencies for practicing epidemiologists in local and state government. The UNC Center for Public Health Preparedness (UNC CPHP) focused on a subset of these competencies when developing case studies and exercises. UNC CPHP worked with an advisory committee that provided feedback about the content and format of training materials, suggested pilot testing sites, reviewed this website, and provided overall guidance about the curriculum. In addition to review by the advisory committee, each case study was pilot tested by two local Epi Teams and revised based on local feedback.
The advisory committee included local Epi Team members, a Public Health Regional Surveillance Team representative, and an advisor from the NC Division of Public Health. Thanks to each of the following individuals for their valuable contributions to the project.
One option is to choose a member of the Epi Team to serve as a facilitator. Team members who serve as facilitators will gain additional experience in guiding a small group discussion. A second option is to ask a colleague from a neighboring Epi Team or a member of the Public Health Regional Surveillance Team (PHRST) to facilitate the case study.
Whoever is planning to facilitate should review the case study in advance using the facilitator’s version, which includes tips for small group facilitation and suggested answers to discussion questions and activities. During the Epi Team meeting, the facilitator will guide the group through the case study using the facilitator’s version and other Epi Team members will follow the participant version.