Global Health Chronicles

Dr. Victor Caceres

David J. Sencer CDC Museum, Global Health Chronicles


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00:01:02 - Summary of Ebola experience

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Partial Transcript: My name is Victor Cáceres. And right now, I supervise a program called the Temporary Epidemiology Field Assignee Program.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres gives a brief summary of his three principal involvements with CDC’s Ebola response, including monitoring surveillance capacity in West African “ring” countries, working as the deputy incident manager in the Atlanta Emergency Operations Center, and sending epidemiologists across the United States to help prepare for a potential importation of Ebola.

Keywords: Emergency Operations Center (EOC); surveillance

00:04:03 - Early life/Education

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Partial Transcript: Victor, could you just tell me when and where you were born?

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres describes his early days in Virginia and North Carolina, as well as his time in college and medical school and his burgeoning interest in public health.

Keywords: University of North Carolina

Subjects: North Carolina

00:08:39 - Learning about international health/Epidemic Intelligence Service

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Partial Transcript: I did residency at University Hospitals of Cleveland. In my process for selecting residencies, I wanted to select a residency where I could combine my interest in public health, international health, with my training.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres describes gaining experience in international public health during his residency, including an introduction to the Pan American Health Organization and mentorship by polio eradication pioneer Ciro de Quadros. He then discusses learning outbreak investigation work in South Carolina.

Keywords: C. de Quadros; Cleveland; E. Brenner; EIS; Epidemic Intelligence Service; J. Andrus; J. Gibson; University Hospitals of Cleveland

Subjects: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.). Epidemic Intelligence Service; Pan American Health Organization; South Carolina; University Hospitals of Cleveland (Ohio)

00:18:24 - Polio, 1997 - 2004

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Partial Transcript: So what happens after that? After EIS?

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres describes traveling to several countries to work on polio eradication, details his involvement in the research about whether vaccine-derived polio can transmit between people, and discusses the result that research had on the deciding whether to use oral or intravenous polio vaccines in the global eradication campaign.

Keywords: C. de Quadros, D. Henderson; Surveillance

Subjects: Haiti; Poliomyelitis

00:26:46 - Gaining local experience

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, around ’04. So I decided that I wanted to transition a little bit from polio, just because it’s quite hectic, being involved with that intensity for that length of time.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres summarizes his year spent gaining public health experience at the local level in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Keywords: L. Hofer; local

Subjects: Lawrenceville (Ga.)

00:28:45 - Ten years with the Field Epidemiology Training Program

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Partial Transcript: After that, again, I look back and I feel like I’ve had such great fortune, and things have just shown up in terms of opportunities at times where I was available for them.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres describes his work building public health capacity in Central and South America and the Caribbean through the Field Epidemiology Training Program.

Keywords: B. Marston; Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP)

Subjects: Central America; Haiti; South America

00:33:49 - The Temporary Epidemiology Field Assignee program

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Partial Transcript: I think again, life circumstances and professional needs kind of coincide, and it was time for me to transition out of FETP, probably for family reasons.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres describes his 2015 decision to transition from FETP to more frontline epidemiologic work by supervising the new Temporary Epidemiology Field Assignee program, which he now supervises.

Keywords: Temporary Epidemiology Field Assignee (TEFA)

00:37:34 - Joining the West African Ebola response

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Partial Transcript: So how do you get your feet wet, initially, with Ebola?

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres shares how he initially learned about the planned effort to use FETP to build surveillance capacity in West Africa for CDC’s Ebola response. He describes how the project was initially envisioned, and some of the changes they had to make in the beginning to make it practical.

Keywords: M. Quick

00:43:07 - The planning stage

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Partial Transcript: During the two months, November and December, we were getting all kinds of gentle pressure to have this start in December, like right after Thanksgiving.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres goes into detail about the planning stage of the project, roughly from November through December 2014. This includes engaging partners like TEPHINET and AFENET and building a team.

Keywords: A. Gerber; AFENET; E. Brenner; F. Angulo; High Risk Countries Team; S. Sidibe; TEPHINET

00:47:19 - Creating training

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Partial Transcript: There was that logistics piece, but we had to develop the training. That was a key part of that initial two-month period.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres describes deciding how trainings would be set up for people conducting surveillance in the field, including an innovative use of SMS text messaging to communicate health information. He describes how this system was intended as a backup to existing surveillance strategies.

Keywords: D. Traicoff; Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR); R. Dicker; SMS; cell phones

00:57:09 - Monitoring the project

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Partial Transcript: And if we saw that there was someone not reporting, we would try to follow up and so forth with the ministry.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres discusses checking in with individual surveillance officers when reports went missing and checking in with each of the four project countries on personal visits.

Keywords: S. Sidibe; evaluation

01:06:22 - Identifying staff to be trained

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Partial Transcript: I have another question that kind of goes back to the beginning of it.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres describes the people who were trained through this project.


01:08:33 - Building trust between partners/Some standout individuals

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Partial Transcript: I think one of the great lessons, or things related to implementation that I learned was, especially with FETP, which I think—we don’t have the indicators that are as clear-cut— we’re building capacity.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres describes the somewhat intangible but very important benefit of programs like FETP which increase familiarity and trust between public health partners. He also discusses the importance of being formally invited to a country and the help CDC Foundation and the EOC provided this project.

Keywords: AFENET; Emergency Operations Center (EOC); TEPHINET; metrics; partners; relationships

01:14:27 - Deputy incident manager, Atlanta EOC

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Partial Transcript: I know that your experience with Ebola continues as deputy IM, etcetera. Maybe we should transition into that.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres summarizes his time as deputy incident manager in the Emergency Operations Center, helping to support Oliver Morgan and Barbara Marston.

Keywords: B. Marston; Emergency Operations Center (EOC); O. Morgan

Subjects: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.). Epidemic Intelligence Service

01:19:20 - The importance of detecting nothing

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Partial Transcript: When people are texting in, going back to that part of your experience, did anyone ever text ones or higher?

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres explains the importance of receiving all Ebola case reports, even those indicating no new cases had been detected.

Keywords: surveillance

01:24:28 - Pilot projects/Personal significance

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Partial Transcript: I think my scariest moment in the whole thing was when I was literally hours away from not being able to catch the initial flight, just because of the logistics of trying to fly to Guinea-Bissau, and miss that initial training.

Segment Synopsis: Cáceres explains how Guinea-Bissau served as a testing ground for this project, and how this project served as a testing ground for similar projects in the future. He then briefly discusses the significance this project has in the context of his career thus far.

Keywords: Short Message Service (SMS); pilot project

Subjects: Guinea-Bissau