Program Specialist III

Texas Health & Human Services Commission Temple, TX
Program Specialist IIIUnder the direction of the Zoonosis Control Veterinarian, conducts epidemiological investigations of reported cases of zoonotic disease. Provides highly complex and comprehensive consultative and technical services to government officials, physicians and others in the human medical field, health department workers, veterinarians, animal control officers, animal welfare groups, agricultural workers, and the public regarding zoonotic disease-related issues. Maintains a disease surveillance program to include actively and passively collecting specimens, recording results, and analyzing and reporting data. Plans, organizes, and teaches animal control officer training courses and presents zoonotic disease educational programs to a broad range of stakeholders. Initiates, develops, and maintains liaison with local governments, health departments, state and federal agencies, and private organizations to enhance and facilitate reporting, prevention, and control of zoonotic diseases. Participates in local, regional, inter-regional, and statewide Zoonosis Control programs. Inspects rabies quarantine facilities to determine compliance with state laws. Reviews animal shelter plans and animal control ordinances for local governments. Maintains, reviews, and analyzes reports and other statistical data. Maintains inventory and dispenses rabies biologicals. Assists and participates in bioterrorism and disaster activities as needed. May train others. Works with limited supervision and extensive latitude for use of initiative and independent judgment. Required compliance with DSHS Employee Immunization Policy. DSHS is a tobacco free campus.Essential Job Functions:

Attends work on a regular and predictable schedule in accordance with agency leave policy and performs other duties as assigned. Safe operation of either a state owned vehicle or personal vehicle is required to conduct state business and an acceptable driving record must be maintained in accordance with DSHS Policy OS-3901, Fleet Operations and Management & Procedures and standards developed by the Texas Department of Public Safety.(30%) Epidemiology: Investigates directly, or in coordination with local health departments, human and animal zoonotic disease incidents, according to agency procedures. Investigation may include: obtaining disease reports; referring disease reports to appropriate jurisdictions and monitoring for case resolution; seeking input from medical professionals; reviewing patient medical records; interpreting laboratory reports; interviewing patients; visiting and evaluating sites where transmission may have occurred; collecting and submitting laboratory specimens; and counseling patients and their contacts. Prepares epidemiological reports in program-specific electronic [including National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS)] and hard copy formats, according to confidentiality and legal standards. Evaluates completed zoonotic disease investigation reports from local health department staff and determines if the illness meets the case definition. Develops and maintains electronic databases and/or spreadsheets on investigations. Analyzes data and prepares reports enumerating trends and conclusions and recommendations. Educates human medical and veterinary professionals about disease reporting. Creates maps of surveillance and or epidemiological data using mapping software. Provides training and technical assistance to local health department staff for zoonotic disease case investigations and reporting.(45%) Disease Prevention and Control: Provides highly complex and comprehensive consultative services and technical assistance to human health care professionals, veterinarians, public health officials, law enforcement officials, rabies control authorities, animal control officers, government officials, and citizens to develop, plan, implement, and monitor programs on a broad range of subjects linked to public health. Consultative services encompass issues that include, but are not limited to, human and animal rabies risk assessment, human rabies biologicals administration, vector-borne and zoonotic disease inquiries, zoonotic disease reporting, Texas Health and Safety Code explanations, animal impoundment facility design and management, local ordinance review, and animal control officer and rabies control authority education. Assures distribution of human rabies biologicals by: maintaining adequate supplies of biologicals in the Zoonosis Control Program (ZCP) regional office and in depots throughout the region; consulting with patients and physicians concerning risk assessment of exposure incidents by discussing the species of the animal, quarantine or laboratory testing of the animal, vaccination status, prevalence of rabies in the area, circumstances surrounding the exposure incident, severity of the exposure, and other important factors. Works with community and professional groups to coordinate, improve, and stimulate interest in the ZCP's mission and in local public health and rabies control programs.(10%) Technical: Provides highly complex and comprehensive consultative and technical services to animal welfare groups, agriculture workers, wildlife biologists and rehabilitators, the public and others regarding zoonotic disease-related issues. Represents the ZCP to local health departments, local government officials, animal control departments, veterinarians, educational institutions, state and federal agencies and others to share information and promote Zoonosis Control programs. Develops, prepares, and distributes technical information to stakeholders by a variety of modalities. Conducts inspections and reviews of rabies quarantine and animal impoundment facilities to determine compliance with state regulations. Verifies corrective action for violations as necessary. Reviews pre-construction blueprints for rabies quarantine facilities and suggests revisions as necessary. Prepares and assists in the preparation of administrative reports and technical projects and presents the findings verbally or in writing. Works with program staff on a regional, inter-regional, and statewide basis to resolve technical problems. Collaborates with Regional Zoonosis Control Veterinarian to prepare recommendations and justifications for changes in procedures for technical projects at regional, inter-regional, and/or statewide levels.(5%) Surveillance: Coordinates with and assists the Regional Zoonosis Control Veterinarian with the planning, development, and implementation of the regional zoonotic disease surveillance program. Develops, promotes, coordinates and/or conducts surveillance activities for zoonotic and vector-borne diseases. Processes biological specimens and performs diagnostic tests according to proper procedures and infection control techniques. Maintains inventory of surveillance equipment and supplies. Develops and maintains electronic databases and/or spreadsheets for storage and analysis of regional surveillance data. Studies, analyzes, and monitors surveillance data in relation to program goals and provides input to the Regional Zoonosis Control Veterinarian regarding modification of regional surveillance strategies. Prepares reports, presentations, and maps summarizing disease surveillance data. Enters surveillance data into the statewide database.(5%) Education: Helps develop goals and objectives for health education programs related to prevention and control of zoonotic diseases. Prepares and presents educational programs about zoonotic diseases and related subjects to a wide range of audiences utilizing various forms of media. Participates in the development and preparation of training materials, course syllabi, conference displays, newsletters, and special publications. Provides educational materials to individuals and organizations. Organizes, coordinates, conducts, and assists in instructing Animal Control Officer training courses and Local Rabies Control Authority seminars. Provides training to stakeholders on animal control, disease surveillance, collection and submission of laboratory specimens, rabies control, quarantine, and other topics. Establishes procedures and assembles data for planning, carrying out, and evaluating these public health educational programs. Maintains an adequate stock of appropriate pamphlets, brochures, and handouts, and compiles reference materials to assist stakeholders. (5%) Other Duties as Assigned and Special Projects: Serves on the Zoonosis Control Investigation Team. As such, participates in statewide field training opportunities, disease outbreak responses, and investigation follow-ups. Participates, as needed, in the annual implementation of the Oral Rabies Vaccination Program. Serves in other capacities on an ad hoc basis as instructed, e.g. support of research projects and participation in all-hazards planning, preparedness, response, and recovery. May serve as the Regional Zoonosis Control Team Leader in the absence of the Regional Zoonosis Control Veterinarian. Other duties as assigned include but are not limited to actively participating and/or serving in a supporting role to meet the agency's obligations for disaster response and/or recovery or Continuity of Operations (COOP) activation. Such participation may require an alternate shift pattern assignment and/or location.Knowledge Skills Abilities:

Knowledge of:•departmental programs, policies, and procedures•etiology and dynamics of rabies and other zoonotic diseases•current social, economic, and public health problems•consultative, educational, investigational (human and animal disease), and surveillance techniques•tick and mosquito ecology; collection techniques and proper submission procedures for medically important arthropods and animals•statutes and rules administered by the Zoonosis Control Branch; prominent among those is the Rabies Control Act•basic medical terminology•project management•DSHS financial procedures, including travel vouchers and purchasing procedures relevant to the position •availability of community resources to aid in the development of zoonosis control programs•mechanisms for developing and conducting training and educational programs aimed at the control and prevention of rabies and other zoonotic diseases.Skill in:•use of computers and software, including software for word processing, spreadsheet, database, internet, e-mail, GIS, presentations, and mapping•telephone interview techniques, consultations, case investigations, and medical records review•writing and editing concise reports using appropriate software •public speaking before professional and lay audiences•use of trapping and collection equipment and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) units Ability to: •analyze and evaluate public health needs and implement projects to control zoonotic diseases•gather, assemble, correlate, and analyze facts and devise solutions to problems•work independently and exercise sound judgement•establish and maintain effective working relationships, deal tactfully with the public, and communicate complex information effectively (orally and in writing) to people of all ages, educational levels, backgrounds, and disciplines•pursue multiple projects simultaneously, and plan, establish, and meet project deadlines•harvest arthropod, avian, and mammalian specimens from a variety of natural and man-made habitats and environmental conditions•obtain biological specimens through dissection, swabbing, and/or blood collection and process specimens for storage and proper shipment•develop and provide training programs and demonstrate effective presentation skills•conduct investigations of zoonotic diseases•ability to perform rabies risk assessments for incidents involving human or animal exposure scenariosRegistration or Licensure Requirements:

Must possess a valid Class C Texas driver's license, or equivalent license from another state.Initial Selection Criteria:

* General screening for:Complete applicationSpelling and GrammarComputer skills relevant to the position – Microsoft Office suite, Access, Excel, NEDSS or other state or national database system, Epi X, etc. Experience relevant to the position –Experience in database entry and analysisReport writing to include graphic representations of dataPublic speakingEducational seminar planningQuarantine, impoundment and shelter facility inspectionAdvising and engaging stakeholders in the field of rabies the disease, transmission and prevention Advising and engaging stakeholders in the field of other zoonotic diseases, transmission and prevention Small mammal trapping and samplingInsect trapping and samplingResearch and study designAbility to travel at least 30%Educational level – MPH or similar (or)Bachelors and 3 years' experience in public health data or epidemiology workCompatible on the job or field experienceAdditional Information:

There will be a skills test for those who are chosen for interview.Military occupation(s) that relate to the initial selection criteria and registration or licensure requirements for this position include: No Direct Military Codes Applicable. For more information, see the Texas State Auditor's Military Crosswalk at HHS agencies use E-Verify. You must bring your I-9 documentation with you on your first day of work. DSHS is a tobacco free campus. Req ID: 384487MOS Code:

Military occupation(s) that relate to the initial selection criteria and registration or licensure requirements for this position include: No Direct Military Codes Applicable. For more information, see the Texas State Auditor's Military Crosswalk at

HHS agencies use E-Verify. You must bring your I-9 documentation with you on your first day of work.

I-9 Form - Click here to download the I-9 form.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), HHS agencies will provide reasonable accommodation during the hiring and selection process for qualified individuals with a disability. If you need assistance completing the on-line application, contact the HHS Employee Service Center at 1-888-894-4747. If you are contacted for an interview and need accommodation to participate in the interview process, please notify the person scheduling the interview.