ATLANTA, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released a report showingthat the number of state-level epidemiologists has decreased steadily since 2004, with a marked decline of over 10% since 2006. There was also a substantial decrease in core epidemiology capacity over this same period, including epidemiology capacity
CSTE's 2009 Epidemiology Capacity Assessment (ECA) is the most recent in a series of epidemiology capacity assessments that enumerate and characterize epidemiologists, measure core epidemiology capacity, and assess competency-specific training. The 2009 ECA also conducted initial assessments of surveillance system technologic capacity and substance abuse program capacity. The 2009 ECA builds on the previous ECAs of 2004 and 2006. This year's assessment indicates a substantial decline in overall epidemiology capacity across the nation.
Epidemiologists are best known for their "disease detective" work with infectious diseases that are naturally occurring or intentionally released, but they are mainly involved in everyday surveillance/monitoring and study of many diseases and conditions that affect the health of the their state's population. These activities can range from food and waterborne disease investigations to disease monitoring for environmental health conditions, chronic diseases, maternal and child health, injury, occupational and oral health and substance abuse.
"State, federal and local agencies need to work together to address the understaffed epidemiology workforce, the downward trends in capacity and the looming epidemiology workforce shortage. Public health needs to achieve a full, well-trained and competent workforce prepared with the appropriate tools and skills for the 21st century," says co-author Matthew Boulton from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Center of Excellence in Public Health Workforce Studies. Access to the full report, 2009 Epidemiology Capacity Assessment: Findings and Recommendations, can be found at www.cste.org.
SOURCE Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
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