Fueling the Public Health Workforce Pipeline Through Student Surge Capacity Response Teams
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- Horney, J.A., Davis, M.K., Ricchetti-Masterson, K.L. et al. J Community Health (2014) 39: 35. doi:10.1007/s10900-013-9750-5
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In January 2003, the University of North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness established Team Epi-Aid to match graduate student volunteers with state and local health departments to assist with outbreaks and other applied public health projects. This study assessed whether Team Epi-Aid participation by full-time graduate students impacted post-graduation employment, particularly by influencing students to work in governmental public health upon graduation. In September 2010, 223 program alumni were contacted for an online survey and 10 selected for follow-up interviews. Eighty-three Team Epi-Aid alumni answered the survey (response rate = 37 %). Forty-one (49 %) reported participating in at least one activity, with 12/41 (29 %) indicating participation in Team Epi-Aid influenced their job choice following graduation. In 6 months prior to enrolling at UNC, 30 (36 %) reported employment in public health, with 16/30 (53 %) employed in governmental public health. In 6 months following graduation, 34 (41 %) reported employment in public health, with 27 (80 %) employed in governmental public health. Eight alumni completed telephone interviews (response rate = 80 %). Five credited Team Epi-Aid with influencing their post-graduation career. Experience in applied public health through a group such as Team Epi-Aid may influence job choice for public health graduates.