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Alumni Dispatches

Then and Now

Stephanie Zaza, MD, MPH '95

Stephanie ZazaI started at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1991 as a bright-eyed Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer—a “disease detective.” I was assigned to the Hospital Infections Program and began investigating health care facility outbreaks. About a year later, I was invited to participate in a video project demonstrating how to use the new DOS epidemiologic software tool, Epi Info, to assist epidemiologists track outbreaks, run simple statistics, and log cases. I pointed at the screen, simulated data analysis tasks, and acted the role of an EIS officer providing service to a state health official in this promotional video.

Around the same time, I published "Bacterial Contamination of Platelets, Ohio," in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). A few years (and one Hopkins MPH degree) later, I was part of a small team tasked with starting up a new unit, later called the Guide to Community Preventive Services, with what seemed to be a mandate to argue every day about scientific methods and the purposes of systematic reviews guiding public health decision making. I never imagined that 20 years later I would be the Director of the Epidemiology and Analysis Program Office, leading all three of these areas, plus an analytic methods hub and the CDC’s Public Health Library and Information Center!

I recently watched that old Epi Info video, and to compare the simple software we had then with the sleek, lightweight product—Epi Info version 7TM—we just released is wonderful to see. I have a dream job at CDC.


Stephanie Zaza serves as the Director, Epidemiology and Analysis Program Office (EAPO), Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (OSELS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, she is a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service.


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