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CDC HIV Cluster Detection and Response Fellowship

A research opportunity is currently available with the Transmission and Molecular Epidemiology Team (TMET), within the HIV Incidence and Case Surveillance Branch (HICSB), of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) within the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Until recently, clusters and outbreaks of HIV infection were difficult to detect, and most went unrecognized. In 2016, TMET began implementing cutting-edge molecular epidemiology methods using HIV sequencing data to identify clusters of recent and rapid HIV transmission that could represent outbreaks. When clusters are identified, HICSB works closely with state and local public health partners to support investigation and response in order to interrupt ongoing transmission. This work is possible because of the National HIV Surveillance System (NHSS). This system, housed in HICSB, maintains clinical, demographic, risk, and laboratory information on >1 million persons with diagnosed HIV infection in the United States. All health departments are now required to report HIV genetic sequence data generated from routine clinical tests. TMET analyzes this data in order to identify growing clusters of active HIV transmission and understand HIV transmission patterns. As cluster detection activities have ramped up rapidly over the last few years, additional efforts are needed to systematically collect information on the outcomes of the investigations and public health interventions that result from this work, and assess the effectiveness of this approach. 

This fellowship offers the opportunity to be involved with high-priority, high-impact issues in domestic HIV/AIDS surveillance. Cluster detection and response is a key element of DHAP’s 2017–2020 strategic plan as one of 4 core strategies in its blueprint for achieving its vision of a future free of HIV. This strategy is now a required activity for all 59 funded jurisdictions as a component of CDC’s flagship $400 million/year HIV surveillance and prevention funding opportunity, with enhanced implementation of the activity incorporated as one of 5 core activities in the HHS strategy to End the HIV Epidemic. The selected participant will receive outstanding training in surveillance, including molecular surveillance, with a focus on implementation, monitoring, public health response, and evaluation. The participant will have the opportunity to make important contributions to this project by contributing to a systematic assessment of the effectiveness of transmission cluster investigation and response. The participant will also have opportunities to analyze data and present and publish the findings of those analyses, and may also have opportunities to be involved in special studies and outbreak response activities.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: August 1, 2019

Qualifications
The qualified candidate should have received a master's or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:
  • Strong writing and communication skills, especially in scientific writing
  • Strong data management and/or data analysis experience (SAS)
  • Some background in epidemiology and/or surveillance
  • Some background in program evaluation

If you have questions, send an email to ORISE.CDC.NCHHSTP@orau.org. Please include the reference code for this opportunity (CDC-NCHHSTP-2019-0157) in your email.