About the Field of Epidemiology
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Epidemiology describes quantitative trends in health and disease for populations, with application in the biological, environmental, behavioral, and social sciences.
Epidemiologists analyze public health trends, design and implement studies, and interpret study results for policy and program development. Beyond investigation into the causes of disease, epidemiologists also develop intervention strategies to prevent disease and promote health. Epidemiologists work at both the individual and community levels to translate medical and laboratory data into population trends.
Find Your Opportunity
The extensive epidemiologic research programs at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health offer students many opportunities for doctoral-level training for those interested in research and teaching careers in the health sciences.
The Epidemiology Ph.D. program offers formal tracks in social/behavioral epidemiology (SBE) and clinical/biological epidemiology (CBE).
Social/Behavioral Epidemiology Track
Social/behavioral epidemiology recognizes that many of the major diseases affecting today’s population are related to lifestyle, and that the behaviors themselves (and their determinants) are an important endpoint for epidemiologic study. Diet and nutrition, exercise, and use of licit drugs, especially tobacco and alcohol, are among the most important contributors to disease, death, and disability in developed countries.
To understand modern disease epidemics and to develop ways of preventing them, it is important to understand the origins of these behavioral patterns and the ways in which they are influenced by environment, personality, family, and culture.
Clinical/Biological Epidemiology Track
The clinical/biological epidemiology track focuses on the determinants and description of the diseases themselves. The program has particular strengths in the etiology of cardiovascular disease, cancer, genetics, and infectious disease.
Students study with experts in: cancer, cardiovascular and infectious disease, nutrition, maternal, child and reproductive health, genetic epidemiology, behavioral interventions, and epidemiologic methods for clinical, observational and community-based research.