Foodborne Epidemiologist I, closes 6/14

Foodborne Epidemiologist I, closes 6/14

Category : Alumni

Job Description:
With direction from the Epidemiologist III team leader, performs moderately complex investigative and consultative epidemiological work in the Emerging and Acute Infectious Disease Branch. Collects, analyzes, interprets, and distributes epidemiological data on notifiable enteric diseases in Texas. Monitors the statewide surveillance system and consults with local and regional health department staff on case reports in the system; oversees year-end cleanup of data. Provides telephonic and electronic technical consultations to public health professionals, healthcare providers, and the general public on the epidemiology of enteric pathogens. Assists local and regional health department partners with investigations of single cases and clusters of enteric illnesses, and also assists these partners during outbreak investigations. Monitors the Texas data for the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS), ensuring the quality and completeness of the data as assigned. Prepares public health information, training materials, and investigative tools for foodborne disease surveillance and investigation. Prepares written articles for publication. Serves as a team member in the State Medical Operation Center (SMOC) or State Operations Center (SOC) in the event of a natural or man-made emergency requiring DSHS or State of Texas response. Works under general supervision, with moderate latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment.

Essential Job Functions:
Attends work on a regular and predictable schedule in accordance with agency leave policy and performs other duties as assigned.

(50%) Conducts surveillance activities: Monitors the statewide surveillance system for case reports on select enteric pathogens; assists and provides consultation to local and regional health department staff on data entry, case classification, and other aspects of case investigations; conducts some data entry; ensures data quality, reviews and approves or rejects notifications, and oversees year-end data cleanup in the system. Coordinates surveillance activities and maintains databases within the Branch for assigned conditions Creates patient line listings using Microsoft Excel to track information on investigations. Using Microsoft Excel, creates charts and graphs. Retrieves data from the Department’s laboratory information management system (Labware). Coordinates and assists with the collection of information for investigation forms for assigned conditions, and provides investigation forms for cases to state and federal regulatory partners. Working with Branch staff, ensures data entry instructions and procedures for reporting enteric diseases are available. Analyzes and interprets epidemiological data, including laboratory results such as whole genome sequencing (WGS), on reportable enteric diseases. Assists in establishing and implementing activities to improve surveillance for enteric diseases. Assists local and regional health department partners with investigations of single cases and clusters of enteric illnesses, and makes recommendations for prevention and control of foodborne illnesses.

(25%) Epidemiologic studies and outbreak investigations: Participates in infectious disease outbreak investigations by conducting activities often including outbreak detection and dissemination of information to local and regional health department partners, case finding, abstracting of medical data from hospital and medical records, designing or modifying questionnaires or report forms, interviewing patients, coordinating collection and transport of clinical and environmental specimens, performing data analysis using EXCEL or other statistical programs, assisting with recommendations for control measures, and assisting in the preparation of written reports. At times, coordinates investigations with other state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Presents results at state public health meetings. Creates, maintains, and distributes databases using applications such as Access and EpiInfo.

(20%) Communication and Training: Prepares reports and graphic presentations of surveillance and investigation data using EpiInfo, PowerPoint, Excel, and NEDSS-based system. Prepares and gives oral presentations. Assists in the development of disease fact sheets and press bulletins. Assists in preparing articles for publication in journals and for the web. Reviews scientific literature as appropriate. Provides telephonic and electronic technical consultations to public health professionals, healthcare providers, and the general public on the epidemiology of enteric pathogens and their prevention and control Promotes particiption by public health system in the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS).

(5%) Other duties as Assigned include but not limited to actively participating and/or serving in a supporting role to meet the agency’s obligation for disaster response and/or recovery of Continuity of Operations (COOP) activation. Such participation may require an alternative shift pattern assignment and/or location.

Knowledge Skills Abilities:
• Knowledge of infectious diseases and epidemiology
• Knowledge of the principles and methods of biostatistics and epidemiology, medical terminology, current public health programs
• Knowledge of microbiological laboratory procedures including PFGE and PCR
• Knowledge of public health and the natural history of infectious diseases
• Knowledge of the epidemiology of enteric infectious diseases
• Ability to conduct disease surveillance
• Ability to devise and develop solutions
• Ability to organize, manipulate, and maintain complex data files
• Ability to present statistical and technical data clearly and concisely
• Ability to work effectively with regional and local health department personnel, private physicians, hospital staff, laboratory staff, and the public
• Ability to provide operational guidance and leadership to field staff
• Ability to interview patients to collect clinical and exposure information
• Ability to abstract clinical and laboratory data from patient medical charts
• Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing
• Ability to develop and deliver presentations
• Ability to design and implement systems necessary to collect, maintain, and analyze data
• Ability to analyze and evaluate empirical data and develop graphic and written interpretations and conclusions
• Ability to interpret laboratory findings, physical signs/symptoms, and diagnostic test results

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