1 Slide 1: Welcome to PHAP 101, Overview of the Public Health Associate Program: Does My Organization Want to Host an Associate? My name is J.T. Theofilos. I m the lead for partnerships and stakeholder engagement at the Public Health Associate Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The intent of this PHAP 101 session is to provide a high-level overview of the Public Health Associate Program or, how we more commonly refer to it as, PHAP. Slide 2: The session objectives will be that you should be able to identify the mission of PHAP at the completion of this session. You ll be able to describe the history of PHAP and better understand how PHAP evolved over the last few years into where it is today. You ll be able to list at least two of the three goals of PHAP. We d expect that you can name at least three of the characteristics of a typical PHAP host site and candidate for PHAP, and identify the phases of the PHAP application process. Slide 3: Let s talk a little bit about the mission of PHAP. The mission of PHAP is to train and provide experiential learning to entry-level, early career public health professionals who contribute to the public health workforce. There are three main components of the PHAP mission that we like to focus on. Number one is that this is to train and provide experiential learning. PHAP is a training program. It is not a workforce employment program, nor is it a job placement program. But it is an experiential and training program. The second component is to entry-level, early career public health professionals. These early career public health professionals are recent graduates from either a bachelor s or sometimes a master s degree program who have little, to no, public health experience and are no more than 2 years out of their most recent degree from which they graduated. The associates are truly entry-level into public health and are early career public health professionals. The third component is contributing to the public health workforce. This is a 2-year training program; however, over the 2-year duration of the training assignment, we would expect that the associate s contribution to your organization s public health activities and workforce will be contributing factors to helping you meet your overall mission and meeting your vision of your organization. Slide 4: Let s talk a little bit more about what PHAP is. This is a 2-year paid, competency-based training program. The associates that come into the program have little, to no, public health experience. These individuals have sometimes little to no professional work experience being that they are new graduates out of undergraduate or sometimes a master s degree but having little, to no, work experience. The actual assignment is in one categorical program focus area for the duration of the 2-year assignment that the associate is in the program. Again, it is one 2-year assignment in the same categorical program focus area. Associates who are accepted into the program and are part of PHAP and placed in potential organizations around the country are federal government employees throughout the duration of PHAP. Associates are expected to adhere to the federal
2 government standards and guidelines, ethics, and practices as any other federal government employee while in the 2-year training program. PHAP is a significant partnership and collaboration between CDC and our partners. One group of partners are our organizations from state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments who apply, are accepted, and matched with an associate. It is also a collaboration and partnership between CDC and our nongovernmental organizations who also are eligible to apply and be matched with an associate for the 2- year training program. This is a significant partnership and collaboration between CDC, the associate s supervisors of record here at CDC, and whoever the assigned host site supervisor is in your organization for the duration of the 2-year assignment that the associate will be working in. Slide 5: As we mentioned earlier, PHAP is a competency-based training program. There are nine PHAP competency domain areas. There are a number of subcompetencies in each of these areas under which the associate is expected to have opportunities through his or her work activities in your organization over the 2 years to meet these nine competency domain areas. Those nine areas include analytic and assessment skills; public health service; program planning, management, and improvement; public health policy and law skills; professionalism skills; communication skills; diversity and inclusion skills; community dimensions of public health skills; and, finally, financial planning and management skills. The work activities that your organization should you choose to apply to host an associate should provide an opportunity for the associate to meet all of the competencies that are outlined in these nine competency domain areas. A full list of the competencies and subcompetencies can be found on the CDC webpage for PHAP, which is Again, it is These nine competency domain areas are the foundation for which the activities and the responsibilities of the associate in your organization for the 2-year training program should have opportunities to meet each of these core competencies. Slide 6: Let s talk a little bit about what PHAP is not. We had mentioned that PHAP is a 2-year competencybased training program. PHAP is not an internship program. The work activities of the associate when he or she arrives on site to your organization, should your application be accepted and matched with an associate, the work activities will be predefined in your application. The responsibilities of the associate will be predefined. It will be a matter of then executing and implementing against the work activities in your application that the associate will have responsibility for over the 2-year duration. PHAP is not an administrative staffing support program. Although some activities may involve an administrative aspect or component, the associates are not administrative assistant support efforts for an organization. PHAP is not a federal government employment service. This is a 2-year competency-based training program for early career, entry-level public health professionals. There is no guarantee of employment after completion or graduation from PHAP. We ll make efforts to provide
3 opportunities and link potential job availabilities to associates graduating from PHAP. But, again, there is no guaranteed job placement after graduation from PHAP. And PHAP is not program that provides subject matter experts, or SMEs, to an organization. Our associates are entry-level, early career public health professionals in a training program. They are very bright individuals. We ll talk throughout the next hour about the qualifications and criteria for the candidates that we look for, and you ll see that they have a proven track record of academic success. They are intelligent individuals. However, again, the basic criteria are that they have little, to no, public health work experience and perhaps no professional work experience being new graduates from undergraduate or sometimes a master s program. Slide 7: The associates that come into PHAP are classified under the federal government system of job series classifications as what s called a public health advisor (PHA). The PHA job series began in the late 1940s with CDC and was created to provide venereal disease control services to the population of the US. PHAs were hired to fill the need for front-line public health workers at state and local governments around the country. The series was then expanded to include a broader range of public health services, including such aspects as public health preparedness, environmental health, chronic disease, and so forth. PHAs traditionally assist state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments. Those PHAs at CDC are also tasked to implement, assist, provide guidance, and even evaluate public health programs as part of their field-based assignments. Although the associates are classified as PHAs, they are in a training program. They are there to assist your organization while learning and applying new skills to help your organization meet your categorical program goals. They are not there to evaluate your public health programs. They are not there to provide guidance for your programs. They are not there to provide technical assistance to you and your programs, as the associates are entry-level early career public health professionals with little, to no, public health experience. We ve seen a very robust candidate pool over the last number of years that they bring a true, valuable service to our potential organizations who serve as host sites. With changes in social media, communication style, outreach style, and evolution of the multigenerational workforce, many of our associates bring a value-added service in their own generational experience to organizations that serve as host sites. These associates are not subject matter experts, nor will they provide guidance or technical assistance or evaluate your public health programs. However, they will add a very valuable component to your efforts to meet your categorical program goals throughout the training program. Slide 8: PHAP was piloted in the state of Florida in the year 2007 based on the need for some of their support services in STD and HIV prevention services. This was a new field-based CDC program that began to train early career public health professionals to provide support services to programs in the state of Florida. The program
4 started in 2007 with 10 associates. In 2008, it more than doubled to 27 associates. In 2009, in response to the H1N1, there were no public health associates that came into PHAP. The program quickly grew to over 60 associates in the years 2010 and 2011, and you can see the exponential growth over the last 4 or 5 years to 2015 where we brought in officially 208 associates that started the program in the year We anticipate the program will bring in at least 200 associates on an ongoing basis until there is a change in strategic vision from the CDC. Slide 9: The number of candidates and host sites that apply to host an associate each year and associate candidates who apply to enter the program has varied over the years. You can see a big influx in the number of candidate applications in the year This is as a result of the administrative and programmatic alignment and integration of PHAP and what was known as the Public Health Prevention Service program (PHPS). PHPS was a program that was dedicated to providing a 3-year fellowship for those individuals who d graduated with a minimum of a master s degree and had at least 1 year of paid public health work experience. The integration of PHAP and PHPS in 2013 resulted in an influx of over 4,000 applications for PHAP in We ve seen in 2014 and 2015 that it has stabilized a little over 3,000 applications for what we now have as 200 positions in PHAP. Each of these positions are matched with a host site, an organization who has requested to receive an associate for a 2-year period that will provide the associate with opportunities and work activities to help him or her meet the program competencies. In 2015, we had just under 350 applications from organizations to serve as host sites to be matched with an associate. Slide 10: PHAP has three primary goals. One is to ensure that the associates attain the PHAP competencies. Our goal is that we match associates with entities that can provide work activities and opportunities for the associate to attain the PHAP competencies over the 2-year duration of the program. The second goal of PHAP is to provide associates with experience in public health programs and service delivery. Hence, if we revert to what PHAP is not, PHAP is not an internship. PHAP is not an administrative support program that provides administrative support services to organizations in delivering public health services. We would expect that the associate has hands-on experiential learning opportunities in public health programs and actual public health service delivery opportunities. The third goal of PHAP is that the associate provides a value-added service to the organization that hosts them in order to meet that organization s goals. This may be in traditional public health programs such as HIV/STD/TB prevention, environmental health, a variety of chronic disease programs, or helping support the organization in their efforts to achieve accreditation. It may be able to support the efforts of the local emergency response efforts should the entity or organization be faced with emergency response activities and requirements over the 2-year assignment that the associate is with them.
5 Slide 11: Some of the value-added aspects of the public health associate program to organizations who serve as host sites. Many of them have support of the host site s efforts to meet your overall program goals. For example, reviewing immunization registry. They will provide support services to public health preparedness programs on the integration of public health emergency preparedness and hospital preparedness programs. The associate will provide some capacity-building support to organizations that host them for the 2-year training assignment. They will also provide support in the advancement of public health project initiatives. As we mentioned, aligning the hospital preparedness program goals with the public health emergency preparedness and overall strategic initiatives of your organization. Slide 12: The minimum associate application criteria so you are aware of the type of individuals that come into PHAP are as follows: they will have earned at least a bachelor s degree from an accredited 4-year college or university; they must have at least a 3.0 grade point average, or higher; they must be within at least 2 years of graduating with their bachelor s or master s degree, should they have an advanced degree; and they should be a US citizen or permanent resident. These criteria are very clear and very objective in the first phase of the application process for an associate. The associate will apply to enter the program through USAJOBS.gov, which is the federal portal of applications into the federal government system. Once the associate has been deemed meeting all of these criteria, they go through an extensive process to evaluate their writing capacity and their oral communication skills. This is phase 2 and phase 3 of the application process for a candidate applying to enter into PHAP as a program. Slide 13: What we typically look for is what s been developed in the BEST FIT model characteristics of a typical associate. The BEST FIT model is an acronym that PHAP has developed to help guide potential candidates through the consideration of deciding whether PHAP is an appropriate program for the next step in their public health career. B of BEST FIT stands for big-picture thinker. Does the associate or candidate have the capacity to think in a larger scope of public health, and where he or she could possibly fit in to the activities of public health as an overall profession. E of BEST FIT is, are they an effective communicator? Looking at the associate s or the candidate s capacity to communicate effectively in writing, as well as orally. S of BEST FIT stands for socially and culturally inclusive. Public health activities will frequently target a variety of target populations of varied backgrounds of social and cultural experiences. Varying religions, varying races, varying ages, and so forth. So we would expect that the associate candidate be socially and culturally aware and inclusive for their activities. The T of BEST FIT stands for thriving in a dynamic environment. Public health, overall, is a very dynamic environment. PHAP as a program is a very dynamic program. Someone who is expecting to have a set routine of activities on a daily basis and have a set routine of activities on a weekly basis and monthly basis will probably not thrive in PHAP. PHAP is seeking those individuals who are able to accommodate and thrive in an environment that is consistently changing.
6 The F of BEST FIT stands for flexible. This is probably the most important characteristic that we will seek in candidates applying to PHAP. They should demonstrate the capacity to adapt and to flex with certain changes in activities, or changes in program focus, or changes in the work activities associated with what is going on at the state level, local level, the territorial level where the associate is performing his or her work activities where they are assigned. As well as with PHAP PHAP is a very dynamic program. Flexibility is a key to success for a candidate coming in to PHAP. We talked earlier about I and intelligence. The associate candidate has to have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average to apply and be considered as an eligible candidate for PHAP. Their demonstrated academic success in their undergraduate work, and their work in their careers, in colleges, universities, or master s program, will demonstrate their capacity to learn and acquire new skills. PHAP is a program that will then put them in the field and expect them to apply those academic principles in the actual delivery of public health services. Hence, the last T of the BEST FIT characteristics model is tactile learner. We would expect that the candidates would have a desire to actually apply academic principles and theories, and actually get out and touch the public in delivering public health services. Slide 14: Let s talk a little about the disposition of recent PHAP graduates. Graduates who graduated from PHAP in 2014, predominantly 52% of those individuals have taken positions and been employed. One percent of that 52% have opted to take a job and further their education after graduating from PHAP. Thirty-two percent of those have opted to go back and further their education beyond their initial degree of which they came into PHAP with. Sixteen percent of those graduates, upon graduation, were still looking or were undecided as to what their next steps were going to be after PHAP. In 2015, we see the graduation disposition somewhat similar, with a little shift in the number of folks who opted to go back to school and work simultaneously. Fifty-two percent took full-time employment, either at the state, local, territorial, nongovernmental organization level, or federal level. We saw an increase from 1% in 2014 to 12% in 2015 of those who opted to take a job and further their education simultaneously. This may or may not speak to the drive and determination of the associates, the candidate pool themselves, and the desire to excel and to progress their careers, but we did see a significant change from 1% to 12% in 2015 for those going back to school and working full-time. We saw that 16% of those who graduated in 2015 were still looking or were undecided as to what they were going to do after graduating from PHAP. And 20% of those opted to go back full-time and further their education in the next advanced degree beyond what they came into PHAP with. Slide 15: Let s talk briefly about the typical host site requirements. One of the requirements that an organization should expect, should they be selected and matched with an associate, is that they will be willing and able to pay for the associate s local travel and training costs during the 2-year assignment. The associate s local travel costs with him or her completing the work activities, and training costs associated with him or her attending any
7 local conferences or meetings that you would expect the associate to participate in in order to be trained to complete the work activities that your organization has proposed would be the responsibility of the hosting organization. The organization should be able to provide adequate workspace, including a telephone, Internet access, a computer, and other necessary work supplies that the associate will need to complete the work activities and his or her assignments over the 2-year duration of the training assignment. Slide 16: What we ve developed is a model called the CO-STARR Model, which are the seven core characteristics of a quality PHAP training experience. The CO-STARR Model is the foundation for what we ve developed in PHAP 201, The Strategic Design and Development of a Quality PHAP Training Experience The CO-STARR Model. This is a more in-depth overview of these seven characteristics that provides technical assistance to organizations who have contemplated and decided to apply to host an associate. These characteristics are an acronym that stand for as follows: The first C of CO-STARR stands for core competencies. The work activities that the organization is proposing that the associate complete should provide the associate opportunities to achieve the program core competencies over the 2-year duration of the training assignment. The O of CO-STARR are opportunities for advancement. Over the 2-year duration, the work activities are expected to be progressive and iterative, and build on one another so the associate has opportunities to advance his or her skills over the 2-year duration of the training assignment. The S of CO-STARR is supervisor involvement. This is the host site supervisor, or the individual in your organization who will have the day-to-day direct responsibility to oversee the work of the associate. There will be an individual and a back-up supervisor who will be expected to provide day-to-day, on-site support; provide guidance, mentorship; oversee the training of the associate; and ensure that he or she is progressing according to the expectations of your organization as well as the standards of CDC throughout the 2-year training assignment. The supervisor is usually the key component to the success or lack of success of the 2-year training assignment. We look for individuals who have direct oversight of the work of the associate. This individual frequently will have years of experience in supervising other employees; has the desire to oversee the work of the associate and be involved in the training of the associate; and have the understanding and appreciation of, potentially, a multigenerational workforce as many of the associates coming into the program are new, right out of undergraduate school, and therefore having little, to no, work experience, but bringing a variety of skills and techniques and attributes to the workforce that a supervisor may or may not have experience with. The T of CO-STARR stands for training and development is ongoing. We would expect that the associate be rendered opportunities for training and development and professional advancement throughout the 2 years in your organization, should you choose to apply and be selected and matched with an associate. This could be
8 web-based trainings; it could be one-on-one trainings. It could be observation. It could be partnering and mentoring with subject matter experts in the same program focus area. It could be self-paced skills. It could be independent research and independent study. There s a variety of specific training opportunities that we would expect be offered to the associate, in addition to what PHAP will offer over the 2-year duration for the associate, that your organization will have available to provide to the associate. The A of CO-STARR stands for aligns with categorical program goals and strategy. The work activities that the associate is involved in should align with the program goals that your program is funded to provide. They should align with the specific activities; those public health service delivery opportunities should be in alignment with the program goals that your organization is funded to provide. The first R of CO-STARR is realistic for an entry-level, early career public health professional. Keep in mind that these associates are sometimes directly out of undergraduate school or master s programs. They may or may not have any previous work experience, but they are very intelligent, enthusiastic, energized individuals with a proven track record of academic success. We would expect that the work activities be commensurate with an entry-level public health professional with little, to no, public health experience. The last R of the CO-STARR model is that those public health activities should be robust public health learning experiences for the associate. The associate is there to receive training and experiential learning that the services that he or she will be involved in and the work activities should be robust public health learning experiences over the 2-year duration. Slide 17: Let s focus a little bit on the PHAP application process. By January of each year, we will have expected organizations to develop a quality PHAP training experience and strategy based on the CO-STARR Model. Again, PHAP 201 is a much more comprehensive, in-depth look at the seven characteristics of the CO-STARR Model. PHAP 201 can also be found on the CDC website at If an organization is following the CO-STARR Model in the design and development of a PHAP training experience, this will help them prepare for when the application opens in January of each year. The application in January each year is through a system called the Fellowship Management System, or FMS. FMS will not walk the applicant through the application process to design and develop a quality PHAP training experience. It will ask questions that will be reflective of the experience the organization has developed and designed for the work activities for the 2-year duration based on the CO-STARR Model. We would highly recommend that organizations, prior to January of each year, revisit the CO-STARR Model, look at the work activities, ensure that there are opportunities for advancement throughout the 2-year training assignment. Relook at the best fit supervisor on site to provide daily oversight and work coaching, guidance, and mentorship. What training opportunities would be available to that associate? Are those work activities in alignment with the categorical program areas for which your program is funded? Are these realistic activities for an entry-level
9 public health associate professional? And are these robust public health services that you re including in your application for the work activities of the associate? After the application is closed, CDC and PHAP will go through a series of objective reviews, engaging with our centers, institutes, and offices for their review and feedback in support of the most qualified and competitive host site applications being accepted and potentially matched with an associate. In July and August of each year, we ll then go through a matching process to match accepted candidates with those host site applications that we have accepted and CIOs have had an input in reviewing and ranking. Each year in October, the associates will report to your organization in anticipation of the 2-year training program. They will be on site in your city and state for 2 years, throughout the duration of PHAP. Shortly after they come on board in October, we ll then bring them back to Atlanta, Georgia, for a 5-day, in-person PHAP orientation. This orientation will not only include administrative components to orient the associate to federal government employment, but it will also start to provide some foundational training on public health practices and service delivery. Slide 18: So your organization has listened to PHAP 101, and has decided to actually consider applying to host an associate for this next application cycle. Before the application cycle opens, make sure that the proposed work activities are in alignment with the core competencies of the program. Specifically focus on the host site supervisor, and that individual who will be best matched to support and oversee the work of the associate for the 2-year duration. Focus on training opportunities that your organization will make available to the associate for his or her academic and supportive learning through the 2 years while they are on site with you. Ensuring that the activities are in line with your program goals, and that they are robust, realistic services that are for an entry-level, early career public health professional. And also to take PHAP 201: Strategic and Development of a Quality PHAP Training Experience The CO-STARR Model webinar, which is a more in-depth approach to the seven core characteristics and providing technical assistance to organizations who are opting to submit an application to host an associate. Slide 19: If there are questions your organization has in the preparation or overview of PHAP, we encourage you to submit questions to which is our website, or to This session, again, has been an overview of the Public Health Associate Program, and hopefully has been an exposure to PHAP, and that your organization will consider applying to host an associate, and take the PHAP 201 as the next step in the process of receiving technical assistance and guidance in the strategic development of a quality PHAP training experience. We thank you for your time; we thank you for your partnership. We encourage many organizations to consider applying to host an associate and look forward to partnering with you, should your applications be accepted and matched with an associate. Thank you.