Epidemiologists Career Video
Description: Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, or health outcomes. May develop the means for prevention and control.
Epidemiologists are like medical detectives— searching for clues to determine how and why people get sick. They look for patterns of disease in human populations and develop ways to prevent and control outbreaks. Epidemiologists collect data in many forms, then analyze and interpret it, using statistics to help uncover patterns. When they have enough information, they write reports and present their findings to government groups and the public. Like any detective, an epidemiologist must sometimes go on location to find out more about the cause and effect of a disease in a particular community. They may conduct interviews to identify who is at most risk, and to develop explanations for how a disease is spread. They often publish important findings in medical journals, which may lead to beneficial new public health programs. Most epidemiologists work for government agencies such as the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or state health departments. Epidemiologists also work at universities, hospitals, research facilities, and pharmaceutical companies. They may specialize in an area such as environmental epidemiology… emergency preparedness… or chronic diseases. Most enter the field with a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in epidemiology. From finding the cause… to advocating treatment… and improving health outcomes, an epidemiologist needs patience and persistence to support society’s well-being.