The purpose of this FOA is to protect the public health and safety of the American people by enhancing the capacity of public health agencies to effectively detect, respond, prevent and control known and emerging (or re-emerging) infectious diseases.
Capacity is defined as the ability to conduct
work; a stronger infrastructure leads to increased capacity.
This is accomplished by providing financial and technical resources to (1) strengthen epidemiologic capacity; (2) enhance laboratory capacity; (3) improve information systems; and (4) enhance collaboration among epidemiology, laboratory, and information systems components of public health departments.
While discrete areas of emphasis, they are inter-related.
The first three are the cornerstones of the ELC and independent areas for building capacity while the fourth is fundamental to the approach work in all these areas of emphasis.
As such, while ELC resources may support each of these individually (e.g., dedicated funding for microbiologists, epidemiologists, lab supplies, informatics hardware/software, etc.), it is only through integration that these complementary cornerstones are optimized.
For example, public health labs play an indispensable role in infectious disease public health work by determining and providing essential information for epidemiology surveillance and outbreak activities.
Therefore, ELC strives to build and strengthen public health laboratories that are equipped with the latest diagnostic technologies, highly trained staff, and systems that can efficiently transmit, receive and digest electronic data.