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Cross Cutting : Border/International Health

The Border/International Health Subcommittee aims to address border/international determinants of health problems in the U.S. through effective epidemiologic practice. The subcommittee meets quarterly via conference call to address relevant and emerging topics in border and international health. The subcommittee's goals are:

  • To provide a forum for interested epidemiologists to share their efforts and joint concerns about cross-border health concerns and the contribution of international health issues to the practice of epidemiology in the U.S.;
  • To improve cross-border public health surveillance;
  • To foster the practice of bi-national and multi-national epidemiology;
  • To disseminate information on the distribution and determinants of health along U.S. borders; and
  • To strengthen emergency preparedness along the north and south borders and other international points of entry.

Key focus areas of the committee include binational surveillance, epidemiology, and reporting; refugee health surveillance and epidemiology; migration and international determinants of health; emergency preparedness and response along the border and other points of entry; the role of CDC Quarantine Stations; and air and sea travel issues.

CSTE BIH Subcommittee Projects

Gil Chavez, former Chair of the Border/International Health Subcommittee and representing CSTE, coauthored the Technical Guidelines for U.S.-Mexico Coordination on Public Health Events of Mutual Interest. A binational technical working group was formed as part of implementing these guidelines, and position statement 11-SI-02 addressed implementing the guidelines and other issues of coordination and communication necessary for multinational public health surveillance.

The subcommittee discussed issues to standardize an approach to report cases of infectious diseases in a traveler who may have exposed others on an airplane or on a ship at the request of CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ). This effort led to position statement 11-CC-01, which provided a framework for bidirectional notification for communicable diseases on commercial conveyances to ensure DGMQ is notified.


Evaluation of Reports of Ill Travelers to Quarantine and Border Health Services Branch

In 2019, CSTE, with support from CDC, evaluated reports of infectious travelers to CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine to assess processes that state and local epidemiologists use to report ill travelers with diseases of public health concern to the Quarantine and Border Health Services Branch (QBHSB). CSTE identified areas for improvement for both state and local epidemiologists and CDC’s DGMQ.

Protocol and Data Collection Guidance for Health Department Notification to CDC Quarantine Stations of Infectious Persons with Recent Travel

Based on recommendations from the 2019 evaluation, a workgroup of state, local, and federal partners developed the Notification Protocol and Data Collection Guidance to improve and standardize processes for notifying CDC’s Quarantine Stations of infectious travelers with diseases of public health concern.

Past Projects

  • Participation in Binational Technical Working Group – Infectious Disease Section
  • Participation in U.S.-Mexico Binational Communication Pathways Protocol – Pilot Reporting Project
  • Representation on Association of Refugee Health Coordinators – Surveillance Subcommittee
  • Representation on the National Information Exchange Model Pilot
  • Representation at U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission meetings

For more information about the Border/International Health Subcommittee and its activities, please contact Alesha ThompsonClick here to view other Cross Cutting Steering Committee activities.

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