Examination of the epidemiology workforce during emergency response

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The COVID-19 pandemic has identified and exploited weaknesses in the preparedness, detection, and response to public health emergencies. Importantly, it has highlighted the under-resourced public health workforce at the forefront of the response. In the context of increasingly frequent and complex emergencies, strengthening and supporting the epidemiology workforce is key to improving response and minimising the impact of a crisis.

This research aimed to build evidence and identify mechanisms to optimise the epidemiology workforce during crises, to improve the effectiveness of emergency response. Using a mixed methods study design we examined the challenges that the epidemiology emergency response workforce face in delivering effective and relevant epidemiological response, and evaluated workforce support interventions. This study demonstrated that the epidemiology emergency response workforce must evolve to be more effective in current and future public health challenges. Leadership, political awareness, and communication will be key factors in this modernisation. This research provides a platform to begin a global effort to address operational issues and the role of international epidemiology responders.



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