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Call for Mentees: Wastewater Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 Mentorship Pilot Program

Oct 14, 2021

Please note: Applications have now closed!

To support local health departments in implementing and expanding their wastewater surveillance efforts for COVID-19, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is piloting a wastewater surveillance mentorship program. NACCHO is currently seeking applications for two (2) mentee sites, who will receive funding in the amount up to $11,000 each, in addition to the mentorship provided by the mentor site. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

A Public Health Tool for Early Detection, Tracking Variants, and More

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, wastewater surveillance had been utilized across the globe to help communities track diseases and health indicators such as opioid use and polio. Tracking through wastewater allows for a non-invasive, inexpensive method of surveillance that captures community-level infections and disease trends. RNA from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can be shed in the feces of symptomatic, pre-symptomatic, and asymptomatic individuals up to 3-4 days before detection is possible with individual testing. As many infected individuals may only choose to get clinically tested if they are symptomatic and have access to testing, wastewater surveillance can provide local leaders with the information necessary to implement protective measures and prevent the further spread of infections.

States, cities, and counties across the United States are beginning to utilize wastewater surveillance to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This mentorship program will help to ensure that local health departments have the support necessary to start - or expand - wastewater surveillance programs to fit their community’s needs. Selected mentees will work with NACCHO and subject matter experts from CDC throughout the program, and will be required to commit to the following activities:

  • Develop and submit a workplan and budget;
  • Participate in monthly meetings with mentor site and NACCHO;
  • Complete a pre- and post-assessment;
  • Attend the Public Health and Water Conference & Wastewater Disease Surveillance Summit, March 21-24, 2022 in Cincinnati, OH (funded separately);
  • Present with NACCHO at other conferences (as needed); and
  • Participate in an end-of-year webinar with the mentor site to share lessons learned.

This mentorship program is anticipated to start in November/December 2021 and run through July 2022. For questions or concerns regarding the application, email WASH@naccho.org.


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