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Epi-Ready Team Training:
Foodborne Illness Response Strategies

Epi-Ready Menu

What Is Epi-Ready?

Developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Epi-Ready is a two-day in-person workshop for environmental and public health professionals with responsibility for investigation of foodborne illness outbreaks. With a team-based approach to training, Epi-Ready focuses on how to efficiently and effectively respond to an outbreak by understanding the roles and responsibilities of the disciplines involved—using the analogy of the 4-legged stool. What happens to a stool (investigation) if one leg is broken or missing?

The Epi-Ready 4-legged stool represents collaboration between the three disciplines involved in a foodborne illness investigation, environmental health specialists/sanitarians, epidemiologists and laboratory staff. The fourth leg of the stool comprises all others who directly or indirectly are involved in outbreak investigations, including public health nurses, health educators, industry, risk communication/public information officers, and others.

Workshop content is designed to follow the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) Guidelines.

Topics are covered through a combination of lecture, question and answer sessions, interactive group exercises and final case study.

Epi-Ready goals are that each leg of the stool…

  • Better understand the roles and responsibilities of all disciplines in an investigation.

  • Build a more efficient working relationship and open lines of communication with partners.

  • Understand that collaboration is KEY!

For more information on Epi-Ready Team Training, please contact Ginny Coyle,, phone: 303-756-9090, ext 346.

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Host an Epi-Ready Workshop

There are two ways to hold an Epi-Ready Team Training in your state:

  1. CDC-funded. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide funding for three or four workshops per year throughout the U.S.

  2. Self-funded. Often, health departments or associations are able to host a workshop through training, emergency response, or other budgets.

Both CDC and self-funded workshops are two-day trainings for 50 attendees and include:

  • Coordination and support throughout the workshop by NEHA staff person

  • Three discipline specific experienced instructors

    • includes travel and lodging expenses for instructors and NEHA staff person

  • Course materials for 50 participants

    • NEHA Epi-Ready Manual

    • APHA Control of Communicable Diseases Manual

    • IAFP Procedures to Investigate Foodborne Illness Manual

    • CDC/AMA Foodborne Illness Physician's Primer

    • Additional handouts and resources

Host agencies are responsible for providing a meeting venue with seating for 50 participants, audio visual (laptop and projector), and beverages (coffee and tea). Snacks for breaks are optional, but appreciated by attendees.

For information on self-funded workshops and/or the application and selection process for workshops funded by CDC, please contact Ginny Coyle,, phone: 303-756-9090 ext 346.

NEHA has also developed a 1½ day training, Industry Foodborne Illness Investigation Training and Recall Response (I-FIIT-RR), for industry professionals. Training includes the steps in a foodborne illness outbreak investigation and industry's role in reducing the individual and economic impact of foodborne illness. Please contact Elizabeth Landeen, for more information on I-FIIT-RR.


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Workshop Learning Objectives

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the desirable skills and knowledge available through a foodborne disease outbreak investigation and control team.

  • Recognize a possible foodborne outbreak through reports to a notification/complaint system or pathogen-specific surveillance.

  • Generate hypotheses about the source of an outbreak using information on causative agents, the implicated facility, the descriptive epidemiology of cases, and case interviews.

  • Describe how the contributing factors in an outbreak are related to the causative agent, the suspect food, and food preparation setting.

  • Explain terms used in epidemiology such as case-control and cohort study, relative risk, odds ratio, and measure of association.

  • List important considerations in the collection and submission of clinical and food specimens to the laboratory.

  • Identify ways to improve communications between members of the outbreak investigation team.

View learning objectives for each module (PDF).

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Continuing Education Hours

Epi-Ready has been approved for 14 hours of Continuing Education through NEHA. Information on submittal

Continuing Education through CDC
The training (identified on the CDC training website as EV2078: Epi Ready Foodborne Illness Response Strategies) has also been approved by CDC for Continuing Medical Education (CME), Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) and International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) credits as follows:

CME: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Environmental Health Association. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is accredited by the (ACCME®) to provide medical education for physicians.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates this live workshop for a maximum of 13.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

CNE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is accredited as a provider of Continuing Nursing Education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

  • This activity provides 13.5 contact hours

IACET: The CDC is authorized by IACET to offer 1.4 ANSI/IACET CEU's for this program.


ORIGINATION DATE August 14, 2012
RENEWAL DATE: August 14, 2014
EXPIRATION DATE: August 14, 2016

DISCLOSURE: In compliance with continuing education requirements, all presenters must disclose any financial or other associations with the manufacturers of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services, or commercial supporters as well as any use of unlabeled product(s) or product(s) under investigational use.

CDC, our planners, and our presenters/content experts wish to disclose they have no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services, or commercial supporters. Planners have reviewed content to ensure there is no bias.

Presentations and content will not include any discussion of the unlabeled use of a product or a product under investigational use.

CDC does not accept commercial support.



You may participate in the educational activity by attending the program above.

To evaluate this educational activity, receive a certificate/statement of credit, to print-out an on-going transcript of all your TCEOnline CE activities for credits/contact hours, please go to:

FEES: CE is provided free of charge.

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More about Epi-Ready

Epi-Ready Audience

The workshop is designed for environmental (EH) and public health (PH) professionals working in city, county and tribal agencies and/or State Environmental Protection, Health and Agriculture Departments. The training is also appropriate for individuals from industry or consultants that collaborate in foodborne disease outbreak investigations.

Past attendees have ranged from new hires to staff with more than 30 years of experience working in food safety and foodborne illness investigations.

Epi-Ready Accomplishments

  • Over 2,400 EH and PH professionals have been trained

  • Over 47 workshops conducted in 33 states

  • Attendees represent all 50 states, plus Guam

  • International attendance from China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Jamaica

  • Recipient of the 2008 Food Safety Leadership Award from NSF International

View a history of previous Epi-Ready Workshop locations.

Past Epi-Ready Attendee Comments

"Ongoing conversation and collaboration between the epidemiologist and environmental health professionals has resulted directly from the workshop."

"As district epidemiologist, I am in the process of working with our EH manager and EH specialists to create a database for passive surveillance by collecting and entering consistent data on all potential foodborne illness complaints. Our goal, specifically, is to collect quality data that can be readily analyzed. Such data does not currently exist for our district unless a foodborne illness is laboratory confirmed."

"Our district is restructuring our epi response team to include a dedicated foodborne outbreak "sub-team" and will construct district policies and procedures specific to this team."

"The workshop was excellent and the class helped the sanitarians that attended have a better working relationship with nurses and the different roles each would have in an outbreak of a foodborne disease. As a nurse it helped me have a better understanding how sanitarians felt and their responsibilities and roles."

"Without the training I would not have collaborated with the food inspector, and we approached the situation jointly. The training was exceptional…"

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