The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) was established in the 1950s. Alexander Langmuir, CDC’s first Epidemiology Division Director, recognized the importance of state input in decision making, and asked the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO) to convene the State Epidemiologists and charge them with the responsibility of deciding what diseases should be reported nationally. CSTE has held that responsibility throughout the years. Since this auspicious, if focused beginning, CSTE has grown into an international organization for state-based and other epidemiologists across disciplines and disease categories. The organization includes two types of members. Active members -- identified as epidemiologists working in state, territorial or local health departments – and associate members -- epidemiologists working in federal health agencies or academia. CSTE gets support from its members and outside resources. With this support, members have the opportunity to provide consultation to other agencies in their area of specialty, and are often called upon to lend perspective to policy decisions with national surveillance importance. CSTE also manages special projects, (i.e., capacity building in chronic disease epidemiology) identified by the CSTE Executive Committee. CSTE determines the special projects are beneficial to states, and employs trained epidemiologists and other public health professionals to staff them. CSTE recognizes the importance of shaping growth through strategic planning. The planning process began in 1998.
The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists is committed to improving the public’s health by supporting the efforts of epidemiologists working at the state and local level to influence public health programs and policy based on science and data
CSTE promotes the effective use of epidemiologic data to guide public health practice and improve health. CSTE accomplishes this by supporting the use of effective public health surveillance and good epidemiologic practice through training, capacity development, and peer consultation, developing standards for practice, and advocating for resources and scientifically based policy.