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CDC Health Communications for Radiation and Health Fellowship

CDC Office and Location: The Emergency Management, Radiation, and Chemical Branch (EMRCB) in the Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice (DEHSP), National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Atlanta, Georgia, is seeking a health education or communications fellow. The appointment is full-time at CDC in the Atlanta, Georgia, area (applicant may be eligible for Scheduled Alternative Site after 90 days). Effective 3/24/22, new ORISE fellows must reside within 50 miles of the duty station (Atlanta, GA). 

The fellow must complete a minimum of 90 days on a full time training schedule before becoming eligible for Scheduled Alternative Site (SAS). All J-1 Visa holders sponsored by ORAU are NOT eligible for Scheduled Alternative Site (SAS) agreements. This is due to DoS regulations regarding requirements to provide worksite locations in their SEVIS database. All research efforts by ORAU-sponsored J-1 Visa holders must take place at the assigned CDC facility. There are NO exceptions. 

The CDC is one of the major operation components of the Department of Health and Human Services. CDC works to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.

The branch leads NCEH efforts in preparing for and responding to environmental health emergencies including chemical, radiological and natural disasters, provides technical expertise and communication for radiation-related topics, oversees health and safety for the U.S. chemical weapons elimination program, and assists state, territorial, local, and tribal public health partners with reducing the negative consequences of environmental public health threats and emergencies.

Research Project: The fellow will learn how to apply health communications and public health skills to plan, develop, implement, and evaluate health education and health communication projects. The individual will collaborate with branch communications staff and scientists as well as division, center, and agency communication employees, and may have the opportunity to be involved in the following activities:

  • Gain experience in writing and editing for public health programs: Drafting content for division web features, social media, and digital press kits as directed by branch communication team lead.
  • Learn communications analysis: Analyzing and reviewing content on branch and division web sites. Identifying outdated, duplicative, or inconsistent content and making recommendations for change. Supporting branch and division communicators and scientists in updating and developing new content and implementing a strategy to best share information.
  • Gain knowledge about public health communication planning: Assisting team lead and branch chief in developing communication plans based on sound communication science and theory.
  • Learn Team organization: Maintaining project tracking system, monitoring media inquiries, and entering cleared key messages into key message bank.

Learning Objectives: he fellow will learn principles of health communication science and practice that will be useful in positions involving communication of sensitive health topics to the public. He/she will also learn principles of environmental public health and risk communication, and information analysis and architecture.

Mentor(s)The mentor for this opportunity is Carol McCurley ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: December 19, 2022.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of CDC and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and CDC. Participants do not become employees of CDC, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g. facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.

The qualified candidate should have received a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Communication). Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:

  • Training or experience in writing and editing, communications analysis, and/or communication planning 
  • Training or experience in public health and risk communication
  • Familiarity and/or interest in learning about disaster preparedness, response, and recovery
  • Ability to work with a multi-disciplinary group of CDC scientists, as well as with state, tribal, local, and territorial public health partners
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience with synthesizing/summarizing information
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to manage complex tasks that require attention to detail