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Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers and Field Epidemiology Training Program in Korea
Geun-Yong Kwon, Shinje Moon, Wooseok Kwak, Jin Gwack, Chaeshin Chu, Seung-Ki Youn
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2013;4(4):215-221.   Published online August 31, 2013
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Korea has adopted Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officers through the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) since 1999 for systematic control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Graduates of medical schools in Korea are selected and serve as public health doctors (PHDs) for their mandatory military service. The duration of service is 3 years and PHDs comprise general practitioners and specialists. Some PHDs are selected as EIS officers with 3 weeks basic FETP training and work for central and provincial public health authorities to conduct epidemiological investigations. The total number of EIS officers is 31 as of 2012. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has 12 specialists, whereas specialists and each province has one or two EIS officers to administer local epidemiological investigations in 253 public health centers. The Korean EIS officers have successfully responded and prevented infectious diseases, but there is a unique limitation: the number of PHDs in Korea is decreasing and PHDs are not allowed to stay outside Korea, which makes it difficult to cope with overseas infectious diseases. Furthermore, after 3 years service, they quit and their experiences are not accumulated. KCDC has hired full-time EIS officers since 2012 to overcome this limitation.


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PHRP : Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives