CDC Museum Disease Detective Camp—an Unforgettable Summer Camp Experience for Students

It’s summer time—what is your high school student doing this summer? A select group of rising high school juniors and seniors are re-creating global outbreaks, participating in mock press conferences and learning about chronic disease surveillance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Museum Disease Detective Camp.

This unique five-day summer camp offered in June and July at CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta, GA, offers students the opportunity to learn about the impact of global health and how CDC works to protect America’s health, safety and security. The CDC Museum Disease Detective Camp teaches students the fundamentals of CDC’s work, with learning experiences focused on the field of public health and the science of epidemiology. Students learn that public health is a vast field that covers many aspects of keeping populations of people healthy. It includes, but is not limited to, research, data collection, data analysis, and health education. They also gain a firsthand glimpse into how CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats.

“So far camp has exceeded my expectations,” said Tyler Washburn, a camper from Kennesaw, GA. “Participating in this week’s camp, I have enjoyed every part, especially because everything is done with the actual equipment professionals use, like the press suite. My favorite part so far is meeting with CDC employees who told us about their day-to-day work.”

The camp hosts 33 high school students for each camp session. The program started in 2005 and to date 832 teenagers have participated. Topics vary year to year, but may include: public health interventions, global health, infectious disease, chronic disease, injury prevention, data analysis, surveys, school wellness programs, violence prevention, environmental health, emergency preparedness, outbreaks, scientific communication, laboratory technology, disease surveillance, epidemiology, birth defect prevention, hospital infection prevention, health inequity and disparities, and public health law.

“The CDC Museum Disease Detective camp has been an amazing experience,” said Shelley Heo, camper from Woodson, VA. “I got to learn so much about CDC in general! I loved getting to know the different jobs and experiences available at CDC. I’m looking forward to the rest of camp.”

We are thankful that the Stephen B. Thacker fund offers our donors a way to support the CDC Disease Detective Camp. Stephen B. Thacker, MD, MSc, ASG/RADM (Ret.), USPHS, contributed a legacy of extraordinary leadership to CDC and unyielding dedication and contributions to the field of epidemiology and to public health science. This fund honors Dr. Thacker’s life and service to public health.

For more information, and to apply to the 2019 CDC Disease Detective camp, please visit the CDC Museum Disease Detective Camp.


Amy Tolchinsky is a senior communications officer for the CDC Foundation.