Using the power of epidemiology to improve the public’s health
The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists was established in the early 1950s at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop national disease reporting standards. CSTE and CDC missions expanded over the years, as did the extent of collaboration between the States and Territories and the CDC for disease surveillance, reporting, control activities and epidemiology workforce development (the current CSTE mission statement is available here).
In 1992, CSTE was designated as a 501(c)(6) organization, which allowed CDC and CSTE to share some resources as their missions expanded to strengthen the public health system nationally. In that same year, CSTE opened its national headquarters office in Atlanta, Georgia. During this time of rapid growth, CSTE also began to function as a professional association of applied epidemiologists working in state, local, and territorial government, as well as tribal health departments. CSTE currently supports work in 50 member states, the District of Columbia, and 7 territories, as well as local health departments. This includes supporting the efforts of epidemiologists in disease surveillance, outbreak and epidemiologic investigations, disease reporting, and epidemiology workforce improvement.
The applied epidemiology workforce is comprised of over 2,500 practicing epidemiologists nationally. The education background of applied epidemiologists typically involves masters or doctoral-level training, often accompanied by practical fellowship training offered by CDC and/or CSTE. The scope of work for applied epidemiologists typically involves providing technical and scientific expertise necessary for the day-to-day operation of a wide range of public health programs. Specific duties of applied epidemiologists are numerous and include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Designing, implementing, and overseeing disease surveillance activities
- Collecting and analyzing scientific data
- Performing outbreak investigations and public health research
- Preparing written and oral reports
- Designing and supporting prevention and treatment programs for diseases that comprise the everyday work in health departments around the country
- Evaluating the effectiveness of programs and program activities.