(provided by the applicant): We propose to strengthen public health surveillance and research project that will serve as a platform for building local epidemiological and laboratory capacity to assess the burden of acute respiratory illness (ARI), evaluate control and prevention interventions, and detect emerging threats. The continuation of the current IEIP surveillance project will provide the historical comparability essential for evaluation of the impact of public health interventions over time. We also propose a set of special research studies on respiratory disease that focus on specific research questions, contribute to multisite projects, and improve understanding of respiratory diseases globally. Key to the success of the proposed projects is our experience conducting the current IEIP surveillance project, and our interdisciplinary team of epidemiologists, clinicians, and laboratory scientists with extensive collaborations with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with the Guatemala Ministry of Health during the previous cooperative agreement. Important to our approach is our aim to increase collaboration across CDC-funded programs in the region, particularly to strengthen our core expertise in respiratory disease through the Influenza Program and increase training opportunities within our field projects through the Field Epidemiology Training Program. The impact on local capacity will be substantial because we have developed a work plan that involves increasing participation of Ministry of Health scientists in various aspects of public health surveillance under a long-term inter-institutional agreement.