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Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health Preparedness


Forensic Epidemiology

In response to the events during the fall of 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a Forensic Epidemiology training course for public safety and public health agencies.  The purpose of the course is to enhance the joint effectiveness of law enforcement and public health in the event of a threat or attack involving biological weapons. 

The CDC predicted that all Maryland counties should have completed the training by fall 2004.  If your agency has not completed this training, do not be discouraged.  The Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health Preparedness is able to assist in the facilitation and delivery of this training by sending our training specialists to your location. 

Course Objectives

 By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

1.  Criminal and Epidemiological Investigative Methods

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the similarities and differences in public health and law enforcement investigative goals and methods
  • Show an understanding of crime scene procedures
  • Describe specimen collection and establishment of chain of custody of evidence
  • Understand the inclusion of "intentionality" in the epidemiologic differential diagnosis and investigation

2.  Operations and Procedures

  • Demonstrate an understanding of controlling laws and sources of authorities for actions
  • Demonstrate an understanding of legal issues surrounding the issue of bioterrorism
  • Determine jurisdictional lead responsibilities
  • Identifiy additional resources to call and when to call
  • Recognize when to involve the other discipline after the problem is acknowledged
  • Coordinate public health and law enforcement activities during responses and investigations
  • Coordinate local, state, and federal resources
  • Describe on-scene control measures and interventions

3.  Communications

  • Communicate and share information
  • Differentiate between treatment of information (eg., privacy, confidentiality, public disclosure)
  • Describe media relations and risk communication

Suggested Participants

City, county, & state epidemiologists

Other city, county, & state public health professionals

Public health investigators, nurses, emergency
preparedness representatives, and public information officers

Health department attorneys

Emergency room staff

Infection control nurse

City police (officers, detectives, SWAT)

County police (officers, detectives)


State police

United States Attorney's Office representative

State Attorney's Office representative


Law enforcement public information officers

FBI WMD coordinator

FBI Crisis Management Coordinator

Emergency medical services representatives

City & county fire department


Public health laboratory representatives

Forensic/crime lab representatives

Public safety

United States Postal Service inspectors

Military representatives

Food and Drug Administration

Medical examiner's office

Other law enforcement agencies located in
nearby locations

Trainers from law enforcement academies

Airport police representatives

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives

Port authority police

Emergency preparedness representatives

If you are interested in having the Johns Hopkins CPHP facilitate this training for your agency, please contact the Center at 443-287-6735 or

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