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chronic disease control branch

​​Cal-EIS Fellowship Program

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cal-EIS?

The California Epidemiologic Investigation Service (Cal-EIS) is a one or two-year training program founded in 1989 for health professionals who have at least a master's degree in a field related to public health. The mission of Cal- EIS is to prepare epidemiologists for public health leadership positions in California.

What opportunities are available for Cal-EIS Fellows?

Beginning July 1st, each Fellow is assigned to a Preceptor in a program within the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) or within a local health department. The specific opportunities will depend in part upon the Preceptor and Program. Assignments may be available in fields such as environmental health, infectious disease control, chronic disease control, maternal child adolescent health, etc. At the beginning of the year, each Preceptor and assigned Fellow jointly develop specific projects for the year. Fellows perform activities and achieve competencies over a broad range of public health epidemiology functions. Prior Fellows have performed studies on descriptive and/or analytic epidemiology of diseases, evaluated programs to determine their effects on the incidence or severity of health problems, and investigated disease clusters. Former Cal-EIS Fellows have studied problems ranging from the relationship of air pollution and cardiovascular mortality to designing and conducting "Train the Trainer" sessions for pandemic flu prevention. If applicable, Cal-EIS Preceptors assist the Fellow in preparing the results of his or her studies for local, state, and/or national publications.

Where do Cal-EIS Fellows work?

Most Fellows will be placed in CDPH offices in Sacramento or Richmond, while some Fellows may be placed in local health departments throughout California.

Who should apply to Cal-EIS?

Applicants with an MPH or other advanced degree (i.e., MD, DDS, or DVM) in a health-related field and at least one course in epidemiology and one course in biostatistics may apply. Applicants without a degree in a health profession (i.e., MS, PhD) may also be eligible. The primary selection criteria are demonstrated interest in and ability to perform public health epidemiology in California. Applicants who possess or qualify for a California medical license are encouraged to apply for the CDPH Preventive Medicine Residency Program rather than Cal-EIS.

Can I apply to Cal-EIS before receiving my graduate degree?

Yes. If you are in the process of completing your graduate degree, you can apply to Cal-EIS. However, you will need to provide proof of completion of your graduate degree prior to starting the fellowship program.

How much are Cal-EIS Fellows paid?

Each Fellow will receive a stipend of approximately $45,000 per year. The stipend will be mailed by the 3rd week of the month to cover the previous month's work. Please plan accordingly.

Will I receive a form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement?

In lieu of a form W-2, CDPH grantees will receive a form 1099 issued from the State Controller's Office.

When are applications due?

The application must be postmarked by October 30th for the following training year, July to June. Supplementary documents (CV, statement of purpose, and official transcript(s) must be postmarked by October 30th. Please have your three letter writers email their signed letters of recommendation directly to

Are there goals that Cal-EIS Fellows are expected to achieve?

The Cal-EIS Fellowship is a flexible program that allows Fellows to tailor their experience to their own goals. However, the Fellowship is framed around specific competencies. The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CSTE/CDC) has developed a list of competencies for Applied Epidemiology/Public Health. Cal-EIS has modified the published Tier 1 competencies slightly. Each Cal-EIS Fellow works towards achieving competencies during their fellowship year. Mastery of a specific competency is achieved through a combination of coursework completed in an applicant's MPH program and practical work experience. We encourage each Fellow to achieve at least basic competency in all areas, and higher competency in areas important and relevant to their immediate future career goals. Fellows complete a Cal-EIS Competency Chart at the beginning, middle, and end of their Fellowship. The chart is a helpful and important tool to guide Fellowship activities and to measure the competencies achieved during the year. In addition, the completed chart can be used as a record of skills, experience, and expertise in pursuit of employment positions upon completion of the Fellowship.

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