Epidemiologist I, Texas Health and Human Services
Performs moderately complex epidemiological work. Works with general supervision and moderate latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment under the direction of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Group Manager, in the Emerging and Acute Infectious Disease Unit. Provides consultation and training on the epidemiology and control of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) to regional and local health agencies, medical professionals, federal entities, and the public. Participates in epidemiologic investigations, including the development and creation of outbreak survey forms and reports. Utilizes the NEDSS based system (NBS) for surveillance and incidence reporting. Participates and evaluates the development of surveillance procedures, protocols, and guidelines on VPDs. Evaluates program information and educational needs. Develops quality assurance measures to ensure disease data reporting is accurate and timely. Works with Unit Managers, Team Leads, and other Program Specialists to maintain QA/QI standard operating procedures. Coordinates with the Immunization Unit as necessary to ensure consistency of prevention messaging and interpretation of VPD related statistics such as disease surveillance data and immunization coverage levels. Consults with health and medical personnel and provides information to the public on matters related to VPDs. Maintains the VPD pages on the DSHS website.
Essential Job Functions:
- Attends work on a regular and predictable schedule in accordance with agency leave policy and performs other duties as assigned.
- (50%) Vaccine-Preventable Disease Surveillance and Epidemiology: Assists in management of statewide surveillance for VPDs such as: measles, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome, mumps, pertussis, H. influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, varicella, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and polio infection. Assists senior epidemiologists with epidemiological data gathering, analysis, and the resulting recommendations for disease control. Is responsible for the continuous monitoring of surveillance data to identify unusual trends and patterns. Reviews written and electronic disease reports and electronic laboratory reports to identify and confirm illness caused by VPDs. Using latitude, corresponds verbally and in writing with regional and local health departments, medical professionals, laboratories, federal entities, and the general public concerning VPD surveillance issues. Coordinates and oversees the entry of VPD data into the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) by regional and local health departments. Corresponds with sites, evaluates staff reporting needs, and recommends and initiates appropriate training and education. Assembles reports of site-specific data issues for training and remediation purposes to enhance surveillance program activities. Enters and corrects data as needed. Responsible for monitoring data and enforcing quality assurance techniques to ensure the integrity of reported data, and user competency. Identifies and resolves duplicate records. Monitors VPD surveillance procedures for efficiency. Using NBS surveillance data, in conjunction with Word, Access, Epi Info, Excel, and/or PowerPoint, prepares status and ad hoc morbidity reports, and epidemiologic summary reports. Oversees airline notifications, including managing the database, informing local health departments of exposures, coordinating the release of vaccine if necessary, and providing feedback to the CDC. Evaluates local health department VPD data quarterly and provides technical assistance as necessary for improvement. Assists team lead with preparation of performance measure reports for CDC. Conducts enhanced surveillance projects to identify unreported cases of VPDs.
- (30%) Education, Training, and Consultations: Provides input regarding definitions, standards, and policies for the effective and efficient rendering of public health services and enforcement of public health laws and regulations. Interprets written and verbal public health information requests. Coordinates with the VPD team lead to formulate definitions, apply standards, and responses regarding VPD surveillance data. Coordinates with the VPD team lead to update guidelines on the infectious agents, modes of transmission, reservoirs, incubation periods, communicability periods, and control methods. Ensures content of the VPD website is current and complete. Acts as a resource for consultations on the epidemiology and control measures of listed diseases and others as assigned. Responds to written and verbal requests for information. Participates in the development of NBS user training and educational materials: creates and documents data flow charts; data entry procedural manuals; case rejection procedures; rejection notification messages and forms; data standards, definitions, and minimum datasets; current case definitions. Conducts group training and discussions regarding VPD surveillance. Provides guidance to regional health departments on specimen submission guidelines and other regional training topics. Performs public speaking before medium and large groups. Stays informed and current on prevalent and emerging VPDs.
- (15%) Outbreak Investigations and Special Projects: Participates in outbreak investigations. Develops interview tools and surveys. Interviews patients, coordinates the collection and transport of clinical and environmental specimens, reviews hospital charts, and/or develops databases for managing epidemiologic and laboratory information. Coordinates and conducts active surveillance by contacting medical providers, reviewing records (medical charts, laboratory reports, etc.) to identify previously unreported cases of reportable conditions. Participates in special projects.
- (5%) Other Duties as Assigned: Performs related duties as assigned by supervisor, which may include, but are not limited to actively participating and/or serving in a supporting role to meet the agency’s obligations for disaster response and/or recovery or Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) activation. Such participation may require an alternate shift pattern assignment and/or location.
Initial Selection Criteria:
- Master’s degree from a U.S. accredited college or university or a foreign degree determined to be equivalent by an acceptable education evaluator with a focus on epidemiology and/or analysis and assessment; OR
- Bachelor’s degree in public health with at least 1 year of experience in epidemiology; OR
- Bachelor’s degree in other non-public health field from a U.S. accredited college or university or a foreign degree determined to be equivalent by an acceptable education evaluator with at least 2 years of experience in epidemiology
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