Once you enter the professional world of epidemiology, the bulk of your career will be centered about conduction research, often referred to as epidemiological studies. Epidemiology is a specialization in the broad field of public health that focuses on the study of patterns and causes of health problems in a given population. The information obtained through various research methods is applied in several ways in both the public and private sectors all with the common goal of improving community health outcomes through policy change, educational outreach, and other treatment and prevention strategies.
Over the course of earning your MPH in Epidemiology, you will learn a lot of different information and skills that will lay the foundation for your career. You will take a range of courses that serve to prepare you to have a career as an epidemiologist and complete epidemiological studies. In pursuit of your degree, you will cover the core competencies of public health, and then you will learn how to collect medical data, conduct research, analyze your findings, and determine the application of the information you’ve gathered. You will learn about climate and health, social determinants of health, biostatistics, and more. The entire purpose of the program you’ll complete is to give you the knowledge and skill to effectively conduct your own studies in your career. But why are epidemiological studies so important? Public health on a small and global scale can always stand to improve; collecting medical data and using it to create forward movement and improve the health outcomes in global populations is the best way that we can continue to make the world a happier, healthier, and safer place.
The goal of any epidemiological study is to acquire an accurate picture of a particular health problem or disease. Epidemiological studies are used to determine the frequency of specific health problems, identify patterns in occurrences of the problem, identify any potential causes and risk factors, evaluate the efficacy of preventative measures and treatments. That information is used to create strategies for prevention and treatment of health conditions, preserve public health, implement better policies, and more. Epidemiologic research has the potential to influence governments, public health agencies, and medical organizations policies and practices, effectively shaping them to serve their communities better and promote positive health outcomes. An example of this in action is the Combating Autism Act of 2006. An epidemiological study found that the prevalence of autism had drastically increased, Congress passed the act in question, which allocated one billion dollars towards research, education, and service that would help decrease the prevalence of this particular health problem.
Making positive changes in healthcare is the main goal of any epidemiological study. Findings of these studies can be used by hospitals to help them better manage a patient that has a particular disease, they can be used to create educational programs that help people stay informed about their health and any potential risks they’re facing, and they can be used to demonstrate when a particular policy is falling short. Another smaller goal of any epidemiological study is to continually improve methods of research. Public health is an incredibly important part of ensuring people can live great lives, and with an MPH in Epidemiology, you will be readily equipped to confront health problems through research.