Epidemiologists help with study design, collection and statistical analysis of data, and interpretation and dissemination of results (including peer review and occasional systematic review). Epidemiology has helped develop methodology used in clinical research, public health studies and, to a lesser extent, basic research in the biological sciences

Minggu, 29 November 2015

Becoming an Epidemiologists

Epidemiologists are detectives who research the causes and consequences of illness and disease. Their research informs public health policies and disease management strategies around the world. By discerning how and why disease and illness occur, epidemiologists help prevent their spread and recurrence. Epidemiologists study the relationship between medical conditions and their causes by collecting and analyzing data about public health and the behavior of disease. In addition to studying the origin and spread of contagious life-threatening diseases, they also analyze medical conditions that occur as a result of exposure, such as foodborne illnesses. Epidemiologists can work within a variety of specialties that include social, environmental, genetic, psychological and other diverse areas of study.

For an epidemiologist, research into questions of great societal significance is all in a day’s work. While not often in the public eye, epidemiologists receive immense personal satisfaction from solving the medical mysteries that plague us all. More than half of epidemiologists work for government agencies at the local, state and federal levels. These professionals also work for private research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and universities. Epidemiologists usually work in clean, well-lit offices and laboratories during regular business hours. Fieldwork or public health emergencies may occasionally require work on nights, weekends or holidays. In most cases, the work is considered low risk, although some epidemiologists may work directly with dangerous chemicals or pathogens.

Most positions as an epidemiologist require at least a master’s degree from an accredited institution in the area of public health, ideally with an emphasis in epidemiology. This course of study will include coursework in biostatistics, behavioral studies, health services research and administration, immunology, toxicology and more. 
Clinical or research epidemiology positions almost always require a medical degree or PhD.
Training occurs on the job and the duration depends upon the position and the epidemiologist’s previous experience.

Licensing and/or Certification
Epidemiologists can advance their careers with continuing education and certification programs offered through the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC) provides voluntary certification for professionals who work within the infection control industry.

Necessary Skills 
Epidemiologists must be excellent listeners, as fact-finding interviews are an important part of their research. They must be critical thinkers, who can analyze their findings, as well as recognize emergency situations when they arise. An epidemiologist must be mathematically astute and proficient with statistical analysis and data presentation software programs. Finally, good writing skills help epidemiologists convey their conclusions and recommendations to the medical industry and the general public.

Opportunities for Advancement
Obtaining an advanced degree (MD or PhD) enables epidemiologists to work in larger facilities or to take on jobs with greater responsibility and a higher level of pay. A medical degree in particular will qualify an epidemiologist to administer drugs during research studies and clinical trials; these positions tend to be the highest paying and thus competition for them is keen. Specialization, fieldwork and years of experience qualify epidemiologists to manage others with lesser qualifications or fewer years of experience.

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Master of Public Health (MPH)

The Department of Epidemiology co-sponsors two areas of concentration in the school-wide master of public health degree program for public health professionals interested in developing quantitative and analytical skills in epidemiology. 

In conjunction with the Department of Biostatistics, the Department of Epidemiology supports the MPH Concentration in Epidemiological & Biostatistics Methods for Public Health and Clinical Research. This is intended for public health professionals interested in developing quantitative and analytical skills in epidemiology and biostatistics.  

The course of study is designed for students with quantitative backgrounds who are seeking to gain additional skills in epidemiologic study design and statistical data analysis. The goal of this concentration is to prepare students to participate in the design, conduct and analysis of research studies in public health and to translate epidemiologic concepts into practice. This concentration is best suited for students who have already worked in a particular substantive area and have identified specific research questions. Students are required to complete a four-term sequence in both epidemiology and biostatistics. 

Several other courses are recommended depending on the student's interests and research needs in specific areas, such as meta-analysis, health survey methods, clinical trials, study design and grant proposal development, survival analysis, data management, and other special topics.
Students are required to complete a four-term sequence in both epidemiology and biostatistics. Several other courses are recommended depending on the student's interests and research needs in specific areas, such as meta-analysis, health survey methods, clinical trials, study design and grant proposal development, survival analysis, data management, and other special topics.
In conjunction with the Departments of International Health and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, the Department of Epidemiology support the MPH Concentration in Infectious Diseases

This concentration provides students with competencies in multiple disciplines including epidemiology, immunology, microbiology, parasitology and vector-borne diseases to address critical problems in the control and prevention of infectious diseases. 
Students who complete the concentration will gain special expertise in the pathogenesis, epidemiology and control of infectious diseases appropriate for careers within state health departments, federal agencies conducting research in the pathogenesis, epidemiology and control of infectious diseases or the pharmaceutical industry. Students will be exposed to the fundamental concepts underlying the epidemiology and control of a number of infectious diseases affecting global health. Students take courses in each of the following five areas:  Epidemiology, Microbiology, Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, and Immunology.

Epidemiologists job titles

Epidemiologists job titles:
  • Clinical Epidemiologist
  • Field Epidemiologist
  • Nurse Epidemiologist
  • Public Health Epidemiologist
  • Environmental Epidemiologist
  • Nurse Epidemiologist
  • Infection Control Practitioner
  • Epidemiology Investigator
  • Research Epidemiologist
  • Chronic Disease Epidemiologist
  • Environmental Epidemiologist
Epidemiologists Education, Certification and License Requirements
An epidemiologist career begins with a Master of Epidemiology degree, or a related degree, from an accredited university. Some epidemiologists obtain a Ph.D. in Epidemiology, and others have a professional background and obtain a dual degree in epidemiology.
Epidemiologist programs cover subjects such as:
  • Public health
  • Biology
  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology research methodology
  • Clinical trial design
  • Society and health
  • Medical geography
  • Occupational epidemiology
Epidemiologists don’t need a license. The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology provides certification which offers epidemiologists a way to demonstrate mastery and dedication to the field. Certification must be renewed every five years.

Field epidemiologists

Field epidemiologists are scientists who study the spread of infectious diseases with the goals of containing the current outbreak and preventing future recurrences. Because public health departments often employ them, applied epidemiologists frequently interact with the public to monitor and collect disease-related data, assist with programs designed to control or prevent disease and advise on public health policies. This career requires at least a master's degree in public health. Additional training and fellowship opportunities are offered by the CDC.

Job Duties
Investigating diseases involves the collection and analysis of health data through field research, observation, questionnaires and studies. Applied epidemiologists use a variety of statistical software to analyze the information and report their findings, which can take the form of meetings or presentations to the public or policy makers. Epidemiological work also involves educating and training the community and healthcare workers to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.
During disease outbreaks, epidemiologists apply their knowledge of how and why communicable diseases spread to make recommendations on containment and treatment. They also monitor the situation, report to local and state health agencies and evaluate data collected during the outbreak.
Field epidemiologists are often required to travel outside of their community to study disease outbreaks, which can also include out-of-state or overseas travel, a career in field epidemiology requires at least a master's degree in public health (www.bls.gov). According to epidemiologist job postings on Monster.com in August 2011, employers also accept a master's degree in epidemiology or a closely related field and expect some experience in community health.
Training and fellowship opportunities are available to help prospective applied epidemiologists and other public health professionals gain field experience. The CDC is an agency that works to prevent disease and protect public health; the CDC offers four applied epidemiology programs for epidemiology students and graduates (www.cdc.gov). These programs include:

  • The Epidemiology Elective Program for senior medical and veterinary students involves a 6-8 week public health investigation at assigned locations across the country.
  • The CDC Experience Applied Epidemiology Fellowship is a 1-year hands-on training program for students in the third or fourth year of medical school. Fellows are mentored by experienced epidemiologists at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, GA.
  • The Epidemic Intelligence Service is a salaried 2-year post-graduate training program in epidemiology and public health.
  • The CDC/CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship program is a collaboration of the CDC and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE). This 2-year post-graduate training program pairs candidates with public health mentors for on-the-job training and job placement.

A public health epidemiologist

A public health epidemiologist specializes in the investigation of disease and many other public health issues, to stop them from spreading or from recurringThey then report their findings to the government and to the public.
Epidemiologists frequently work for the government and for universities, as well as research institutions. They often collect and analyze data to do in depth research of health issues. Most frequently, epidemiologists focus on infectious diseases, but they can focus on other areas as well.
Sometimes epidemiologists will work in private companies, including health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies.

According to a survey in 2009 by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, local government epidemiologists work most often in these areas:
  • Infectious diseases
  • Bioterrorism
  • Maternal and child health
  • Chronic diseases
  • Environmental health
  • Injury
  • Occupational health
  • Substance abuse
  • Oral health
An epidemiologist has to have a master’s degree in epidemiology, or a master’s degree in public health (MPH) with a focus on epidemiology. Some top epidemiologists may have a Ph.D. in the field.
Some of the most common coursework in this field at the master’s level includes:
  • Public health
  • Biology
  • Biostatistics
  • Statistical methods
  • Causal analysis
  • Survey design
  • Regression
  • Medical informatics
  • Biomedical research
Epidemiologist Job Description
  • Plan/direct detailed studies of public health issues to discover ways to prevent them and to treat the issues.
  • Perform the collection and analysis of data, by using observations, interviews, surveys and blood samples – to discover what is causing certain diseases.
  • Communicate study  findings to policymakers, practitioners and the general public
  • Provide management of health programs by doing program planning, monitoring program progress and doing data analysis.
Epidemiologist Skills and Qualifications
  • Communications skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Detail oriented
  • Math and statistics
  • Speaking
  • Writing

Typical work activities of an epidemiologist

Epidemiologists study the patterns, causes and effects of diseases in groups of people. They can either work in a research setting or as clinical epidemiologists.
Those working in research focus on the patterns and causes of diseases by using statistics and model building. They are interested in whether something occurs and also how it occurs.
Epidemiologists study samples of the population that include healthy and unhealthy individuals. They do not normally collect data directly from affected groups, but analyse data that is given to them. Their work informs public health policies and global strategies in order to prevent future outbreaks and epidemics of a disease.
Clinical epidemiologists, by contrast, study the disease in individual patients and focus on how the disease has developed; the clinical specialism is best suited to medically-qualified candidates.
Veterinary epidemiologists study diseases in groups of animals.

Typical work activities
The work of an epidemiologist can vary depending on the area they specialise in but tasks generally include:
  • developing and implementing methods and systems for acquiring, compiling, synthesizing, extracting and reporting information;
  • designing statistical analysis plans, performing and guiding analysis;
  • performing and providing critical analysis and thinking, advice and recommendations on issues based on accepted scientific understanding of infectious and emerging diseases in a global context;
  • working with specialist statistical computer software when analysing data;
  • providing statistical insight in the interpretation and discussion of study results;
  • contributing to study reports, either by writing the report or managing others to do so;
  • communicating analysis results through presentations and publications;
  • using qualitative and quantitative methods when conducting research, planning, and programming information for use in developing health policy;
  • networking with cross-sector specialists with global colleagues to identify where their expertise and experience can benefit or enhance their approach;
  • collaborating with government agencies and other global health partners to assist in the development of positions and recommendations on key policy issues;
  • supporting international health diplomacy strategies and activities, such as the planning, coordination, and hosting of international conferences and workshops related to diseases;
  • assisting in formulation of progress reports and related documents to assess programme progress;
  • maintaining focus and delivery against commercial objectives especially if working in the private sector.

Epidemiologist Activities

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
Staffing Organizational Units - Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.