DIS Certification

Update from the DIS Certification Project. Completion of the Job Task Analysis

Click Here to Read About the Job Task Analysis

Update from the DIS Certification Project
Completion of the Job Task Analysis

July 2016

The DIS Certification Project is a CDC-funded initiative to assess various approaches to DIS certification and its implementation. The components of this initiatives include conducting a job task analysis to articulate the essential tasks, knowledge, skills and abilities of the DIS roles; enumerating the DIS workforce; establishing a national registry for DIS; developing three potential models for DIS certification consideration ; and informing a comprehensive framework for future DIS training.

The Public Health Accreditation Board coordinates this work in partnership with the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO), the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), DIS subject matter experts, and certification experts.  For more information, visit: http://www.phaboard.org/dis-certification.

The DIS Certification Project is a multi-phase initiative. As each phase is complete, the DIS Certification Project will provide an update.  Recently, the Job Task Analysis (JTA) phase was completed.  This communique provides a summary of the findings from the JTA.

WHAT IS A DIS?
DIS work in health departments, community health centers, and other similar locations. The DIS role was initially established to work in the field of STD prevention. However, these public health professionals have ground-level investigative skills that have also become key components of tuberculosis outbreak response; HIV exposure notification; other infectious disease control efforts; and emergency response. DIS have expertise in essential skills such as communication, interviewing, counseling, case analysis, and provider and community engagement. As the health care landscape evolves, DIS are needed even more as patient navigators and network builders to ensure patients are linked to care through expanded relationships with health care providers. DIS are a critical part of the public health infrastructure and in building the link to health care.

WHAT IS A JOB TASK ANALYSIS
A Job Task Analysis, or a job analysis study, is a standard research practice used often by certification development organizations to identify the critical practices of a profession. Identifying the core responsibilities and functions of a job is the first step towards establishing certification requirements to ensure that practitioners have the requisite knowledge for competent practice.

One of the key steps in the DIS Certification Project is conducting a Job Task Analysis for the DIS workforce. This critical phase was recently completed, and the findings will be incorporated in the final report that will be issued at the Project’s conclusion.

WHAT WAS INCLUDED IN THE DIS CERTIFICATION PROJECT’S JOB TASK ANALYSIS?
The job task analysis was conducted in three phases: 1) research; 2) refinement; and 3) validation. The DIS Certification Project’s Job Task Analysis followed this model accordingly:

Phase I: Research

  • Feasibility Study—In September 2013, a feasibility study was conducted to determine the need for the DIS Certification Project.
  • Development of Draft Outline—a draft competency outline detailing domains, tasks, and knowledge statements was developed as a result of the feasibility study.
  • Task Force Meeting—a group of subject matter experts, reflecting a diverse range of professional experiences convened to form a Job Task Analysis Task Force.  This group reviewed the draft outline and provided feedback to guide survey development.

Phase II: Refinement

  • Survey Review and Pilot testing—the Task Force and a group of unaffiliated DIS professionals reviewed the draft survey, and the survey was set up on an electronic platform.
  • Survey Administration—the final DIS Job Analysis Survey was fielded between October 26, 2015 and January 26, 2016. The survey had 494 respondents.

Phase III: Validation

  • Data Analysis—once the survey was closed, researchers removed identifying details from the data and calculated frequency distributions, means, standard deviations, and modes for the task and knowledge importance ratings; task and knowledge frequency ratings; and content coverage ratings.
  • Test Specifications Meeting—the Job Analysis Task Force reconvened February 17-18, 2016 to review survey data and to develop the Test Specifications for DIS certification.

WHAT DID THE JOB TASK ANALYSIS FIND?
The Job Task Analysis details and describes the job tasks, knowledge, skills, abilities, and work activities of a standard DIS position. Agreement on these domains was the result of robust analysis and validation.  This is not a final job description or requirement. Some of the key domains that will be included are:

Tasks:

  • Planning and Preparation for Case and Field Work
  • Investigation Activities
  • Client Encounters and Interviewing
  • Surveillance Activities
  • Health System Collaboration and Improvement in Quality of Care
  • Clinical Follow up
  • Field Services and Testing
  • Case Analysis
  • Outbreak Response and Emergency Preparedness

Knowledge:

  • Ethical and professional conduct
  • Privacy practices and reporting procedures
  • Clinical or laboratory policies and procedures

Skills:

  • Active listening
  • Critical thinking
  • Conflict management and resolution

Details about specific activities in each domain and other findings from the Job Task Analysis will be available in the final report.  A draft copy can be obtained by contacting PHAB.

HOW WILL THIS INFORMATION BE USED?
The findings from the Job Task Analysis will also be used to develop a standardized template DIS job description that will then inform the models of potential certification provided in the final report to CDC.

WHAT IS THE NEXT PHASE OF THE DIS CERTIFICATION PROJECT?
The next phase of the Project is Workforce Enumeration, which is a study that determines how many DIS are currently in the workforce. This task is already underway, and is expected to be completed in the next few weeks. At that time, another update on the project will be provided.

Click Here to Read About the Project's Background

DISEASE INTERVENTION SPECIALIST (DIS) CERTIFICATION PROJECT

September 2015

This DIS Certification Project is being conducted to improve public health services provided to communities by DIS by offering a high quality, standardized approach to the professional development of this work force. This approach will help standardize and validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of DIS; drive the standardization and improvement of training; increase the quality and consistency of service delivery and: increase recognition of the skills and abilities of DIS.

PROJECT OVERVIEW
A comprehensive, inclusive effort to develop recommendations to strengthen and formalize the role of Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) in areas such as STD, HIV, TB, Ebola and other communicable diseases; and emergency preparedness and response. This includes conducting a job task analysis to articulate the essential tasks, knowledge, skills and abilities of the DIS roles; enumerating the DIS workforce; establishing a national registry for DIS; developing three potential models for DIS certification; and informing a comprehensive framework for future DIS training.

ROLE OF THE DIS
DIS work in health departments, community health centers, and other similar locations. The DIS role was initially established to work in the field of STD prevention. However, these public health professionals have ground-level investigative skills that have also become key components of tuberculosis outbreak response; HIV exposure notification; other infectious disease control efforts; and emergency response. DIS have expertise in essential skills such as communication, interviewing, counseling, case analysis, and provider and community engagement. As the health care landscape evolves, DIS are needed even more as patient navigators and network builders to ensure patients are linked to care through expanded relationships with health care providers. DIS are a critical part of the public health infrastructure and in building the link to health care.

KEY PROJECT PARTNERS
The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) is the national coordinating body for the work that is being done in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), with support from national consultants in certification.

This project is supported through cooperative agreement funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

 

Click Here for Information About Products & Publications

Articles: Strengthening Public Health at Its Core: A Focus on Disease Intervention Specialists – The winter 2015 issue of NACCHO Exchange includes a DIS-focused sidebar authored by CDC Drs. Jonathan H. Mermin and Gail Bolan. Access the brief article here. The complete edition is available in the NACCHO bookstore.

 

Webinars: On Sept. 14, 2015, the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), in partnership with the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the National Coalition of STD Directors, and CDC’s Division of STD Prevention hosted a webinar to provide an overview of the Disease intervention Specialists Certification Project. This CDC-funded project was developed to support the work of DIS by considering various certification model options as well as the administration and management of a national DIS certification program. At the end of this ongoing project, PHAB will deliver recommendations on establishing a national model of certification for DIS workers as well as recommended changes in the health department accreditation standards and measures aimed at strengthening the organizational capacity of health departments to support the work of the DIS in areas such as STD/STI, HIV, TB, and other communicable diseases; and Emergency Preparedness and Response.
View Webinar Recording

 

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