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Field-Based Training Programs Begin
In response to the need to develop their public health capabilities and infrastructure, several countries developed field-based training programs in applied epidemiology and public health. The primary goal of these training programs was to foster the development of field-trained epidemiologists who are competent in the practical application of epidemiologic methods to a wide range of public health problems in their respective areas.
Various models of field-based training programs exist, e.g. the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs), Public Health Schools Without Walls (PHSWOWs) and the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET). Regardless of the model, all of them subscribe to the maxim of “training through service.” Each program is adapted to meet the health needs of the country or region in which it functions.
TEPHINET Founded in 1997
During the 1990s, several directors of these field-based training programs that had gained credibility by making an impact in their respective countries or regions began an initiative to organize themselves into a global network. With the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Fondation Merieux, the network was formalized as the Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET).
TEPHINET was incorporated in 1999 as a non-profit organization with the aim of strengthening international public health capacity through the support and networking of field-based training programs that enhance competencies in applied epidemiology and public health practice.
In October 2008, TEPHINET merged with The Task Force for Global Health, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and winner of the 2016 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Award. The mission of The Task Force is to help public and private organizations promote health and human development by building coalitions, forging consensus, and leveraging scarce resources. TEPHINET remains as an independent entity operating within The Task Force Health Systems Strengthening sector of programs, which also includes the Public Health Informatics Institute. The organizational structure of The Task Force provides TEPHINET with administrative and management support and allows TEPHINET to achieve better economies of scale for supplies and services.