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Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

Public Health Training, Research, and Evaluation for the Northwest

New Training Expands COVID-19 Contact Tracing Capacity

May 20, 2020
Photo montags showing a public health worker on a phone conversing with a member of the public.

The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice launched a new, 90-minute contact tracing training for public health professionals who may not have experience in this area, so agencies can expand and expedite their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The training, called Every Contact Counts, is available at no cost and designed to deliver concise instruction, as well as provide practice opportunities, for contact tracing with COVID-19, supporting the most effective, competent workforce needed to keep our communities safe. Public health professionals who have little or no experience with contact tracing can learn the basics to be successful as they reach out to community members and help save lives.

“It’s through those contact tracing efforts that we can make people aware that they need to be monitoring their symptoms and may need to isolate themselves,” said Janet Baseman, a professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington. Baseman is also part of the NWCPHP team designing the Every Contact Counts training.

With Every Contact Counts, public health professionals will learn to describe contact tracing and why it’s important to public health, articulate why COVID-19 is unique when it comes contact tracing, identify the key components of a successful contact tracing interview, and complete a contact tracing interview with confidence, clarity, and compassion.

The Every Contact Counts course can complement existing disease surveillance systems, programs, and trainings organizations are already using to help monitor the public’s health. Every Contact Counts also provides an interactive, innovative learning experience through interview skill-building videos, quizzes, and an exercise where participants practice key decision-making during a contact interview.

NWCPHP has a long history as a regional training center, providing essential support for public health practice professionals, from bioterrorism to rural data collection. NWCPHP has also been a regional Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because of these experiences, NWCPHP knows that trainings like Every Contact Counts are critical in supporting the capacity of public health agencies and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other deadly, communicable diseases.

“Contact tracing is going to be an essential part of our reopening and containment efforts moving forward,” Baseman said. “We need to trace every contact possible, because every contact counts in stopping this disease.”

Access Every Contact Counts by creating a free account in PH LearnLink and start learning today.

The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice developed this training, which was made possible by a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, a philanthropy dedicated to improving the health of all Kansans. For more information about the Kansas Health Foundation, visit www.kansashealth.org. Contributions were made by partners from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Health Institute.