Brown Doctoral Candidate Receives Coveted Fellowship with the CDC

After Joe Silva graduates from Brown’s School of Public Health this May, he will begin a two year role as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer for the U.S. Government.

man poses for photo
Joe Silva, PhD '24

Joe Silva, a soon-to-be graduate of the doctoral program in health services research at the Brown University School of Public Health, has secured a prestigious role as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This highly coveted two-year fellowship will allow Silva to serve the nation while gaining invaluable hands-on experience in applied epidemiology and developing the practical skills to become a future leader in public health.

“EIS is recognized around the world as the premier applied epidemiology training program,” said Ron Aubert EIS '86 and senior associate dean of education at the School of Public Health. Aubert speaks from personal experience, having worked as an EIS officer in the late 1980s during an escalation of the HIV pandemic. Under the leadership of Dr. Reed Tuckson, he was assigned to Washington, D.C. to establish HIV screening for various high-risk groups, with the data used to better understand the epidemiology of HIV and target prevention programs.

“EIS will be celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2026 and has an illustrious history responding to the most challenging threats to human health during that period,” Aubert said. “EIS officers have been or are currently involved in Global Smallpox and Polio eradication programs, outbreak investigations and surveillance system implementation for health threats including HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Anthrax, Zika and COVID-19.”

Within his six years at Brown, Silva completed his Sc.M. in epidemiology and his Ph.D. in health services research. “I was finishing my master’s degree when the COVID-19 pandemic began and was privileged to also have been an intern at the Rhode Island State Department of Health at the time, so I was heavily involved in the state’s emergency response,” Silva said. “I ended up being assigned to the nursing home response team, where I assisted nursing homes in managing early outbreaks of COVID-19 throughout the first year of my Ph.D. program.”

As an EIS officer, Silva will be assigned to the Respiratory Diseases Branch in the Division of Bacterial Diseases at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

“I'm excited since this position will provide me with the opportunity to work on outbreak investigations, global health and vaccine effectiveness evaluations, invasive bacterial disease surveillance and health equity studies,” Silva said.

Silva will be joining EIS as a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service and will start his work this summer. With his selection for this prestigious fellowship, he joins the ranks of public health leaders who have dedicated their careers to safeguarding the well-being of communities both locally and globally.

Silva is one of the first students from the Brown University School of Public Health to be awarded this fellowship, but he is determined not to be the last. “I'm looking forward to helping others understand what options there are when it comes to government work,” he said.

“The EIS Fellowship is a great opportunity for students trained not only in epidemiology but in any of the disciplines represented here at the School of Public Health,” Aubert said. “It can be a catalyst to a career in public health leadership whose alumni include ministers of health, deans of schools of public health, state commissioners of health and leaders in nearly every setting focused on the health of populations.”