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ORISE Behavioral Science and Communication

A fellowship opportunity is available with the Newborn Screening and Molecular Biology Branch (NSMBB) of the Division of Laboratory Sciences (DLS) in the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Newborn screening is a vital public health program that tests babies for congenital disorders that are not apparent at birth. The NSMBB mission includes developing educational opportunities about the newborn screening system and specific conditions for public health laboratory professionals and program staff. In this training opportunity, the participant will contribute to the development of this educational program, among other communication and partnership initiatives

Newborn screening identifies conditions that can affect a child’s long-term health or survival. Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention can prevent death or disability and enable children to reach their full potential. Each year, millions of babies in the U.S. are routinely screened, using a few drops of blood from the newborn’s heel, for certain genetic, endocrine, and metabolic disorders, and are also tested for hearing loss and critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs) prior to discharge from a hospital or birthing center. NSMBB provides quality assurance for laboratories involved in screening newborns and children, and offers technical assistance and technology transfer to newborn screening laboratories to ensure analytic validity and utility of screening tests. Other job activities include: 

 • Programmatic Support: Assist with various elements of the NSMBB activities including administrative tasks. Duties may include assisting with the coordination of project meetings, managing communications with partners, responding to technical assistance requests, reviewing and synthesizing information from literature, and other materials, and developing products to showcase NSMBB activities and achievements. Fellow may also have the opportunity to participate in emergency responses, and exercises as needed, supporting the needs of vulnerable populations and newborn screening, in particular.

Partnership Activities:  Providing support to activities that strengthen and expand the work of NSMBB among newborn screening leaders and public health professionals at the national, state, and local levels. This could include responding to requests for information on MSMBB activities to a variety of stakeholders across the Division, Center, and other CDC CIOs, as well as external partners.

Materials Development: Providing support to the development, dissemination, and promotion of partnership and communications materials including the preparation of briefing materials, presentations, and talking points on NSMBB activities, and print, and web-ready communication and products.

NSMBB is comprised primarily of laboratory scientists with experience in genetics, molecular biology, and clinical chemistry. The branch OD works across scientific teams to coordinate program activities, develop trainings and communications pertaining to public health newborn screening. An ideal fellow for this position would:


1.           Thrive in a collaborative environment

2.           Be an enthusiastic self-starter

3.           Enjoy working with stakeholders and building partnerships at all levels

4.           Be able to demonstrate strong organizational skills

5.           Be able to demonstrate strong interpersonal skills

6.           Be able to demonstrate strong written communication skills

7.           Have a strong desire to learn new skills and apply them in a real-world setting

The following skills are desired:

  • A Master of Public Health degree in public health education, health communication, behavioral or social sciences, or a related field of social science received within the last five years.
  • A background in laboratory and/or biomedical science is helpful, but not required.

Anticipated start date February 3, 2020.
This fellowship is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) (visit for further information). The initial appointment is for one year, but may be renewed. The stipend depends on educational level and experience and follows those described in federal salary tables GS tables ( (Typically GS 9 step 1 for M.S.). The participant must show proof of health insurance. The appointment is full-time at CDC in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. Participants do not become employees of CDC or the program administrator, and there are no fringe benefits paid.