NEW YORK, NY (July 19, 2021) – CAI has been selected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to design curricula and coordinate training for key public-health workers on managing infectious diseases. CAI will serve as the Coordinating and Curricula Development Center for the National Network of Disease Intervention Training Centers (NNIDTC) under the new funding stream “Improving Clinical and Public Health Outcomes through National Partnerships to Prevent and Control Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Disease Threats.”
CAI’s program will focus on Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) – a critical workforce within public health working in STI, HIV, TB, and other contagious disease programs, as well as emergency preparedness and contagious disease outbreak response. COVID-19 brought to light the lack of a formal educational pathway for DIS workers, and gaps in the pandemic response have highlighted the need to develop a training program to support a standardized DIS skill set. Activities carried out through this initiative will support core competencies, knowledge, skills and abilities, proficiency with emerging interventions, and the facilitation of cross-jurisdictional outbreak response.
CAI will work closely with the CDC, NNDITC Regional Training Centers, and John Snow International to expand, train, and sustain the DIS workforce to support jurisdictional prevention and response strategies for COVID-19 and other infections. CAI will do this through two primary areas of focus: curriculum development and coordination of the DIS training program. Over the course of this two-year initiative, CAI will develop three or four new training programs (curricula) annually. CAI and the CDC will continuously collate and analyze all relevant surveillance data and data on the needs and skills of the DIS workforce and identify gaps in available training programs to inform future course content.
The CDC has provided CAI with four training program priorities:
- Cluster Response Development and Outbreak Response
- Working with At-risk Populations
- Enhancing Community Engagement/Community Provider Alliance Development
- DIS Role in Mass Vaccination Campaigns
CAI President and Founder Barbara Cicatelli said: “COVID-19 has revealed gaps in our healthcare systems that will have dire consequences if not addressed. The CDC is being proactive and responding with requisite urgency, and we are honored to be chosen to lead the training of DIS workers to empower them to be more involved in disease response. This training program will help ensure rapid, targeted, and equitable response to disease threats in the future.”