National Mentorship Program in Applied Chronic Disease Epidemiology

Monday, June 23, 2014: 5:45 PM
Classical, Renaissance Hotel
Kathy Brown , Knox County Health Department, Knoxville, TN
Luis Escobedo , Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Medical Referral Center, El Paso, TX
Khosrow Heidari , South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Columbia, SC
Youjie Huang , Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, FL
Renée SM Kidney , Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN
Catherine J. Lillehoj , Iowa Department of Public Health, Des Moines, IA
Brianna Lyons , Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, New Orleans, LA
Adel Mburia-Mwalili , Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Carson City, NV
Bakeyah Nelson , Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, Houston, TX
Kathleen Ochipa , Florida Department of Health, Miami, FL
Agricola Odoi , The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Jillian Papa , Arizona Department of Health Services, Phoenix, AZ
Geraldine Perry , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Hafeez Rehman , Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Houston, TX
Shamarial Roberson , Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, FL
Lorna Thorpe , City University of New York, New York City, NY
Jackie Ward , Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Phoenix, AZ
Juan Carlos Zevallos , Florida International University, Miami, FL

Brief Summary
The challenge of recruiting and retaining qualified chronic disease epidemiologists continues to plague state-funded programs. All too often, a newly hired epidemiologist, after receiving a brief orientation, is expected to become fully integrated and function as a chronic disease epidemiologist. This dynamic creates a cycle of inefficiency and insufficient state level capacity coupled with program frustration.  It can also sometimes result in disillusionment on the part of junior level epidemiologists, thus deterring growth.   The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2010 to train newly hired junior level chronic disease epidemiologist. The Mentorship Program recruits mentees from state health departments and their mentors from public health and academic centers.  Each mentee selects a well-defined project to focus 20% to 30% of their time completing their projects within a year. This program is in its third year of operation.  The current cohort comprised of eight mentor-mentee pairs, started their collaborative work in December 2013.  Mentors communicate with mentees through audio-video conference calls, emails and in-person meeting.  Among various strategies used, the NACDD’s mentorship program is a promising practice that enables senior chronic disease epidemiologists at state health departments and academic centers to assist newly hired epidemiologists as they work on major priority projects.  The purpose of this round table discussion is to highlight the urgency of developing chronic disease epidemiology capacity at the state level and to share the available strategies that have the potential of addressing this need.  The eight mentor-mentee pairs will participant in the round table to share their unscripted experience and lessons learned.  This opportunity further allows the participants to consider alternative approaches, identify strategies for sustainability and provide recommendations for growing the program.