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Communicating Science: The Role of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Field-Based Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers, 2009–2014
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Public Health Manag Pract
  • Description:

    A highly skilled public health workforce is needed for responding to health threats, and that workforce must be able to communicate its scientific findings effectively.


    We evaluated the scientific communication effectiveness of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) field-based Epidemic Intelligence Service officers (EISOs).


    A descriptive analysis of all scientific information products produced and submitted for institutional clearance by CDC’s field-based EISOs during 2009–2014.

    Main Outcome Measure(s)

    The number of abstracts, journal manuscripts, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWRs), and other information products approved by CDC during 2009–2014; the number of those products published; and of those published, the number cited in the scientific literature.


    During 2009–2014, a total of 152 field-based EISOs produced 835 scientific information products, including 437 abstracts, 261 manuscripts, and 103 MMWRs. The majority of scientific information products submitted for clearance were abstracts (52.3%), and infectious diseases (75.3%) constituted the majority of topics. Among the 103 MMWRs and 261 manuscripts cleared, 88 (85%) and 199 (76%) were published, respectively, with the majority also infectious disease-related. The 199 published manuscripts were cited in the scientific literature 2415 times, and the 88 published MMWRs were cited 1249 times. Field-based EISOs published their work in 74 different peer-reviewed medical and public health journals, with 54% published in journals with impact factors of 1 to 5.


    Field-based EISOs’ publications are a measurable marker that reflects proficiency in epidemiology, written communication, and professionalism, and those publications are a direct reflection of EISOs’ contribution to local and state health departments. Our study establishes a baseline for future evaluations of publication outcome of scientific information products by EISOs. Information released by EISOs provides health professionals with the scientific knowledge necessary for improving their practice and helps CDC achieve a broader societal, environmental, cultural, and economic impact.

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