Student Foodborne Disease Investigator - Washington State Department of Health - Office of Communicable Disease Epidemiology

Updated: 8 months ago


Hours: 10-20 hours/week, including minimum of two evening or weekend shifts per week

Start date: October, 2019

Pay: $20.19 to $22.78 per hour, plus $1 extra per hour for work after 6:00 p.m.

Benefits: Pro-rated vacation, holiday, and sick leave (no health or tuition benefits)

Application deadline: Open until filled; apply immediately for best consideration

Preference given to students beginning their first year who are interested in remaining in this position for two years. Previous applicants need not re-apply.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH)’s Office of Communicable Disease Epidemiology (OCDE) is currently recruiting 1 public health graduate student to join our foodborne disease investigation team. Students on this exciting team will assist DOH and local public health partners in state-wide foodborne disease surveillance activities. Duties will mainly consist of interviewing Washington State residents who have laboratory-confirmed Salmonella or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections, as well as data entry for these interviews. As opportunities arise, additional tasks could include: case interviews for other foodborne diseases; assistance with outbreak investigations; data management; and providing surge capacity in other OCDE program areas.

Primary goals for the graduate students who join the team are to support local public health and to improve the efficiency, completeness, and timeliness of foodborne disease surveillance. For the student(s), this position will provide rich real-world experience in public health practice and the valuable opportunity to directly contribute to and learn about local, state, and national approaches to foodborne disease surveillance. At OCDE’s discretion, especially engaged students may be able to analyze foodborne disease surveillance data for a master’s project/thesis or practicum.



  • Conduct routine telephone interviews of persons (or their proxies) diagnosed with salmonellosis, STEC, or other foodborne diseases using standard hypothesis-generating questionnaires
  • Assist in outbreak investigations, which could involve interviewing both cases (ill persons) and controls (non-ill persons)
  • Maintain confidentiality/privacy of protected health information
  • Provide health education to cases
  • Data entry
  • As time, resources, or needs permit:
  • Data analysis, interpretation, and presentation (graphs, tables)
  • Assist with form revisions
  • Oral presentations
  • Possibilities for other opportunities/tasks within OCDE (e.g., interviewing cases with other foodborne/waterborne enteric infections, performing miscellaneous foodborne disease activities, providing assistance for non-enteric disease investigations, or shadowing environmental health staff or local public health partners)


  • Worksite: Shoreline, WA (Public Health Laboratories building).
  • Hours: 10-20 hours week on average; flexible to accommodate course schedules. After initial training, we anticipate requiring at least two evening or weekend shifts per week (e.g., 5-8 pm weekdays or Sat/Sunday afternoons). Because of increased workload in summer months, additional hours in summer may be possible, depending on funding levels. Fewer hours (<10/week) can be expected during the slower winter season, to offset increased summer hours.
How to Apply:


  • Currently enrolled in an public health graduate program (MPH or MS) in Epidemiology or Environmental & Occupational Health
    • Other public health-related programs or doctoral candidates may also be considered
  • Knowledge or current training in epidemiology of communicable diseases, basic biostatistics, and concepts of disease surveillance
  • Keen and demonstrable interest in surveillance for communicable diseases, especially enteric
  • Experience or current training in data cleaning, analysis, and presentation
  • Excellent ability to communicate in clear, professional, and friendly manner over the phone, including adeptness in speaking with people of diverse backgrounds
    • Desired: experience in interviewing, patient interaction, or other customer service
    • Fluency in Spanish or other languages desirable but not required
  • Willingness to adjust to sometimes fast-paced work environment, changing priorities, and evolving work expectations

NOTE: This is a temporary, non-permanent Health Services Consultant 1 position funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This position does not provide health insurance or tuition reimbursement.


Interested students should submit cover letter and resume to Krisandra Allen, MPH (OutbreakNet Enhanced Coordinator) at .

Please feel free to contact Ms. Allen by email or phone (206-418-5440)

with any questions about this position.

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