At the EPIET/EUPHEM Training Site Forum (TSF) in April, the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the TSF were discussed and TSF members agreed that the revised ToR should formally state representation of the EAN at the TSF by 2 EAN members - with alumni from each of EPIET and EUPHEM tracks.
In August 2017, TEPHINET launched TEPHIConnect, an online and mobile networking platform created exclusively for, and to connect, Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) alumni globally.
In October 2017, the EAN extended its training reach beyond the Network, with the first joint module with MediPIET. This module on Refugee and Migrant Health was held in Athens, Greece from 14-16 October. The EAN module co-organisers were Iro Evlampidou (EPIET cohort 18/2012) and Javiera Rebolledo (EPIET cohort 16/2010; EAN Board Treasurer 2013-2017).
At the EAN General Assembly in November 2017, for the first time a EUPHEM alumnus (Amrish Baidjoe, EUPHEM Cohort 2015) is elected President of the EAN. The 2017-2018 EAN Board comprises three EUPHEM alumni.
ECDC propose that EPIET and EUPHEM are harmonised into 'One Fellowship Programme', to be called the ECDC Fellowship Programme, with field epidemiology (EPIET) and public health microbiology (EUPHEM) tracks.
The EAN launched a new updated website!
On October 25th 2012, the members of the EAN voted during the EAN General Assembly to integrate alumni of EUPHEM and the independent European FETPs (PEAC, PROFEA, PROFET) into the EAN.
ECDC initiated the Member States track (MS-track) of EPIET in 2011 to address brain drain issues affecting some of the EU Member States. The original track, where participants coming from one EU country are assigned to a training site of another EU country, continued as the EU-track. Since 2013, there has also been a EUPHEM Member State (and EU) track.
A field epidemiology manual (FEM) training resource, the FEMwiki project, was developed to serve as resource for training in intervention epidemiology, supporting EPIET, EUPHEM and FETP fellows and alumni. It was launched at ESCAIDE 2010.
In 2009, the former EPIET Steering Committee was replaced by the EPIET Training Site Forum (TSF) to allow continued input from the Member States into the programme after the transition to ECDC. The EPIET Alumni Network was invited to be a member of the TSF.
In 2009, the EAN started the Outreach project to encourage participation at ESCAIDE (via travel grants) from countries in the WHO-EURO region which were relatively under-represented at ESCAIDE, for example, EU or EU accession countries.
The European Programme in Public Health Microbiology (EUPHEM) was launched in 2008 as a project within the European Network for Diagnostics of Imported Viral Diseases (ENIVD) Collaborative Laboratory Response Network. Its aim was to develop a European network of public health microbiologists to strengthen communicable disease surveillance and control, by creating an integrated laboratory – field epidemiology network for outbreak detection, investigation and response. The first two EUPHEM Fellows were Satu Kurkela (from Finland; hosted at HPA Centre for Infections, Colindale, UK) and Sabine Dittrich (from Germany; hosted at RIVM, the Netherlands).
The second EAN Newsletter was published in March 2007, to be a regular occurrence! The EAN board brought out two more Newsletters that year, in May and December 2007.
The EAN has its own website since October 2007; the official launch was at the inaugural ESCAIDE in Stockholm in 2007. Chikwe Ihekweazu (EPIET cohort 9/2003) was the first webmaster, replaced by Florian Burckhardt (EPIET/PAE cohort 12/2006) in 2009, supported by a website committee.
EPIET was integrated into the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on 1 November 2007, and EPIET made the transition from an EU-funded project financed through grants from the European Commission (DG SANCO) and by various EU Member States as well as Norway and the WHO, to ECDC. One year before the transition, starting in October 2006, ECDC took over the funding of EPIET fellows previously paid by the EU Commission.
The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) became operational on 20 May 2005, under the Directorship of Zsuzsanna Jakab, formerly the senior official at the Hungarian Ministry of Health. The initial staff comprised many EPIET and EIS alumni, e.g. Dr Denis Coulombier (EIS 1991) as Head of Preparedness and Response Unit, Dr Andrea Ammon (EPIET cohort 1/1995) as Head of Surveillance and Communication Unit.
The first training module/ workshop to be organised and delivered 'by EAN for EAN' was in Madrid in 2002 (on new survey methods). This also provided an opportunity to strengthen links with PEAC, the Spanish national field epidemiology training programme [ref: EAN Newsletter October 2010].
The EPIET Alumni Network (EAN) was conceived in 1998, and initially consisted of informal meetings of EPIET/FETP alumni which were partly social events and partly dedicated to sharing work [ref: EAN Newsletter March 2007]. The EAN was formally established in 2000, when the first Advisory Board was formed by five alumni. The first Newsletter of the Network came out in April 2000, as the Newsletter of the EPIET Network Alumni Association (ENAA). On Thursday November 19th 2000, the EAN membership met for a constitutive assembly and adopted the EAN Statutes.
TEPHINET held its first Global Scientific Conference in Canada [ref: 20th Anniversary Report. 2017. Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network].
The World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Mérieux Foundation (Fondation Mérieux) helped formalize the Training Programs in Epidemiology for Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET) in 1997, to provide support, peer review, and quality assurance for Applied Epidemiology and Training Programmes (AETPs) / Field Epidemiology Training Programmes (FETPs) globally. EPIET and the German FETP (PAE) were founding members of TEPHINET.
In January 1995, the EPIET team and office was set up; gradually, project staff were recruited [ref: personal communication with Frank van Loock]. The first cohort of eight EPIET fellows was enrolled in November 1995 and the second cohort of nine EPIET fellows entered the programme in June 1996. The 3-week introductory course took place at the Mérieux Foundation in Veyrier-du-Lac, France.
This first proposal for a training programme was rejected, with the request for a “more ambitious” project. Responding to this, experts from several national institutes for Public Health came together to propose and establish a two-year training programme for intervention epidemiologists in the European Union - the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET) - along the EIS model [ref: personal communication with Frank van Loock]. Two of the 'founding fathers' of EPIET - Alain Moren (EIS 1985) and Frank van Loock (EIS 1987) - are EIS alumni. However, EPIET was a different form of FETP, as it was set up from the very beginning to have a collaborative, multinational approach, with participants coming from one EU country assigned to a training site of another EU country, so as to increase networking on the European level.
In November 1994, EPIET financing was agreed and signed [ref: personal communication with Frank van Loock].
In 1993, the ratification of Treaty of Maastricht opened the door for EU support for Public Health collaborations. In order to increase the capacity to respond to emerging and ongoing threats from communicable diseases, the European Commission launched a "call for collaboration for communicable diseases". Responding to this, experts from several national institutes for Public Health experts from several national institutes for Public Health proposed to setup a (modest) training programme for intervention epidemiologists in the EU [ref: personal communication with Frank van Loock].
There were several meetings between heads of national institutes for Public Health in Europe, looking at the feasibility of a European field epidemiology training programme.
In September 1984, on the initiative of Professor Louis Massé from the Ecole Nationale de Santé Publique (ENSP, the National School of Public Health), Dr Charles Mérieux, president of the Mérieux Foundation, and Dr Michael Gregg, from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, USA, an intervention epidemiology course was organised in Talloires on the shores of the Annecy lake, Haute-Savoie, France. This three week residential course was comparable to the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) summer course run by CDC. At the end of this first course, an alumni association, l’EPIdémiologie de TERrain (EPITER), was created to build up a network of professionals eager to share experiences and promote field epidemiology [ref: Euro Surveill. 2001;6(3):pii=217].
From 1985, the course took place each year at the Centre des Pensières of the Mérieux Foundation (the WHO Collaborating Centre for the training of human resources) in Veyrier-du-Lac, Haute-Savoie, France. This French course contributed to the creation of EPIET [ref: Euro Surveill. 2001;6(3):pii=217].
The first structured programme specifically focusing on applied epidemiology training was the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). It was founded in 1951 by Alexander Langmuir as a two-year combined training and service programme ('on-the-job' training) in the practice of applied epidemiology.
National Field Epidemiology Training Programmes (FETPs) in Europe
EPIET-associated programmes (EAPs)
The EPIET-associated programmes are national FETPs in which fellows are assigned to a training site inside their country of origin but attend the EPIET modules and receive some supervision from EPIET. The following national FETPs are EPIET-Associated Programmes:
- United Kingdom: the first cohort of the UK FETP started in 2011, hosted by Public Health England (PHE). The UK FETP applied for and achieved TEPHINET accreditation in 2016.
- Norway - the Norwegian Field Epidemiology Training Programme (NorFETP) started in 2001
- Germany: in January 1996, the Postgraduiertenausbildung für angewandte Epidemiologie (PAE) was established at the Robert Koch Institut (RKI) in Berlin as a national FETP associated with EPIET; the German PAE cohorts starting since 2009 are awarded a Master of Science in Applied Epidemiology at the end of their training.
Independent national FETPs
- France: the first cohort of the French FETP, Programme de formation à l’épidémiologie de terrain (PROFET) started in April 2002
- Italy: the first cohort of the Italian FETP, the Programma di Formazione in Epidemiologia Applicata (PROFEA), started in 2000, hosted by the the Istituto Superiore di Sanità
- Spain: the Spanish FETP, Programa de Epidemiología Aplicada de Campo (P.E.A.C.), was launched in 1994 by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII; Carlos III Health Institute) of the Spanish Ministry of Health supported by the US CDC, Atlanta.