The Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) is designed to train professional epidemiologists out of different health related fields. It was developed based on the training program provided by the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States (USCDC). The FETP was established in 1984 and has collaborated with USCDC. The program emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience in field investigations and analysis of practical cases. Originally, FETP was supervised by the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control (BCDC) of Department of Health. For more effective cooperation with other public health agencies, FETP merged into the National Institute of Preventive Medicine (NIPM) in 1988. After the enterovirus outbreak in 1998, FETP along with BCDC, NIPM, and Disease Surveillance and Quarantine Service, reformed as Centers for Disease Control in 2000.
Since FETP began in the 1980's, 8 to 12 trainees with a variety of educational background such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, and other health related fields are recruited into the two-year training program. In 2005, Taiwan CDC began to recruit medical officers in preparation for emerging infectious diseases. Since then, the FETP has become a mandatory training program for newly recruited medical officers. In past years, in an effort to transform the program to comply with international standards which recommends that the program become a competence-based training, introductory didactic training has decreased to 4-weeks, when trainees are taught the fundamentals of public health, including epidemiology, biostatistics, public health ethics and law, evaluation of surveillance systems. After completing this basic discipline, each trainee participates in the investigation of disease outbreaks and surveillance evaluation. In the second year of training, the trainees conduct their own long-term research projects. These projects focus on current health problems in Taiwan.
During their training, trainees also have the opportunity to participate in national and international conferences. Of note is the Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET) conference, which provides a platform for trainees from different FETP's to share their experiences. There are now a total of 34 cohorts, with over 100 graduates having successfully completed their training. Each graduate receives a certificate and becomes a FETP consultant.