EpidemiologistEpidemiology is defined as the study of factors concerning the health and illness of the populations, and serves as the groundwork and logic of the interventions made in relation to public health and preventive medicine. It is recognized as the cornerstone methodology of public health research and holds high regard in evidence-based medicine for the risk factor identification of diseases and optimal treatment approaches in the clinical practice. The work of an Epidemiologist in the study of communicable and non-communicable diseases such as conducting an investigation due to an outbreak is to design, collect data and analyze it including the developments in the statistical models to test the hypotheses and the documents of the results for submission to various peer-reviewed journals. Among the other scientific disciplines relied on by Epidemiologists are biology, geographic information science and the social sciences.
An Epidemiologist should hold a bachelor’s degree in any of the sciences and a Master’s or PhD degree in epidemiology. Graduate level studies should involve learning about chronic and infectious disease, psychology or the study of the human mind, physiology or the study of the functioning of living things, biochemistry or the chemistry of living organisms, genetics or the study of heredity, toxicology or the study of scientific poisons, biostatistics or the biological form and function as well as health service administrations. It is a prime requirement for every Epidemiologist to have satisfactory math skills especially in the area that concerns statistics and probability since the work is more inclined in the analysis and interpretation of data. An Epidemiologist is not only limited to the studies aforementioned instead, they can also specialize in particular areas depending on where their interest lies.
This area of study is one of the prime features in identifying and determining the various public health policies. Government agencies usually employ Epidemiologists to aid in the public health crises research and in the setting of the public health policy.
Epidemiologists are usually hired by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). An Epidemiologist can also opt to work at a privately-owned research facility, a college or university, or in private or public agencies as a consultant. In developing plans for managing terrorist attacks that may cause a big number of casualties, epidemiologists can work for government law enforcement agencies.
The duties and responsibilities of an Epidemiologist vary depending on the different causes of disease or illness and injuries. But in any given day, he or she can perform any of the following tasks:
- Take part in the everyday research of specific diseases
- Plan and design a study on any issue about public health
- Address public issues by talking to the community, write related concerns and solutions and advocate for the implementation of changes.
- Write a report that evaluates and summarizes a finished research assignment
- Join forces with other doctors and health care workers to direct specific health concerns.
- Develop and refine strategies of coping for the identified disease risks and concerns.
- Propose a public health policy that will target all kinds of individuals in the community.
The average annual salary received by epidemiologist is within $30,000 and $50,000 in the United States.