Indiana University Student Epidemiology Response Team (IU-SERT)
What is IU-SERT?
The Indiana University Student Epidemiology Response Team (IU-SERT) is a group of graduate student interns that provide case investigation assistance to local health departments (LHDs) in Indiana who sign up for the program. IU-SERT interns are Master of Public Health (MPH) students, and the majority of students come from the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health (FSPH).
IU-SERT interns are trained and supervised by the ISDH enteric epidemiologists with support from the Fellow, a senior intern that is responsible for training, data management, and evaluation of the program.
The ISDH and the FSPH collaborated in 2015 to develop a team of public health graduate students to investigate cases and outbreaks of salmonellosis. IU-SERT was originally designed to improve Indiana’s ability to investigate clusters/outbreaks of salmonellosis by obtaining more timely and complete case investigation data.
What conditions does IU-SERT investigate?
- Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)
- Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)
- Typhoid and Paratyphoid Fever
What does IU-SERT do?
IU-SERT interns work both during the day and in the evening to interview cases of several reportable enteric conditions.
IU-SERT interviews patients over the phone to obtain information regarding a patient’s exposure using a detailed questionnaire. IU-SERT interns are trained and supervised by the ISDH enteric epidemiologists with support from the IU-SERT Fellow. The Fellow serves as a senior intern that is responsible for training, data management, and evaluation of the IU-SERT program. They enter this information into Indiana’s surveillance system (NBS).
- Investigate cases of 5 reportable enteric conditions in Indiana using the following workflow:
Cluster and Outbreak Investigations
- IU-SERT is responsible for tracking the status of Salmonellosis, STEC, and Listeriosis (SSL) outbreak investigations of all cases in Indiana using the following workflow:
IU-SERT Cluster Workflow
- IU-SERT can provide surge capacity for other conditions as needed. IU-SERT has assisted with hepatitis A case investigations and Cyclosporiasis outbreaks in the past.
What is IU-SERT up to?
- Infectious Disease Summit 2019 Presentation
- Assisting with hepatitis A outbreak tracking
- IU-SERT assists with outbreak tracking by creating epidemic curves for the state like the one below.
- Note: This is not an updated hepatitis A outbreak curve. For the most recent total state curve, visit https://www.in.gov/isdh/27791.htm and view the Comprehensive Epidemiological Outbreak Summary under the Hepatitis A Outbreak Resources Section.
- Integrated Foodborne Outbreak Response and Management Conference (InFORM) 2020 Presentations
- Employing a student intern team to enhance outbreak surveillance in Indiana
- Utilizing a graduate student investigation team to assist local health departments with routine and outbreak case investigations
- The Indiana Norovirus Tracker—Reporting Outbreak Trends in Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities using a Data Management Tool, Indiana 2019
If you have questions related to IU-SERT or would like more information, please contact Nicole Stone, IU-SERT supervisor.
Nicole Stone, MPH
Foodborne and Waterborne Disease Epidemiologist
IU-SERT was created through a partnership between ISDH and FSPH.