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Epidemiology

Summary

Epidemiology is a discipline which studies how diseases occur to different groups of people and why do they occur. All the information regarding diseases is used to plan and develop strategies which is used to prevent illness. Epidemiologists work as statisticians who work in government offices to find patterns in health related problems. Epidemiologists can be grouped into two categories- Research field and Clinical field. Research epidemiologists conduct research as to develop strategies that can eradicate or control infectious diseases. Clinical epidemiologists work in consulting roles at hospitals, informing the medical staff of infectious diseases and providing solutions to prevent illnesses.

Career Opportunities in Epidemiology

  • Survey Researchers & Statisticians
    Survey researchers design surveys and questionnaires. They collect the data from their target population, analyze it from those surveys using statistics tools and present their findings from the data interpreted. Topics of surveys can range from public opinion and education to medical and scientific domains.
  • Community Health workers
    Community health workers work with the general public in order to teach them the importance of healthy behaviors and implement public health strategies. Their duties often include collection and analysis of health related data as well as implementation of community wellness programs and strategies to prevent illness.
  • Academics
    As an academician, you can teach in various schools or colleges. For school teaching, a Bachelors in Education degree is required. However, to teach college students you have to crack UGC-NET entrance exam. As an academician, you work closely with students who aspire to work for community in future.
  • Veterinary Epidemiologist
    Veterinary Epidemiologists specialize in understanding the diseases occurring in animals. They conduct research so find out important information about the kind of disease, its impact, how it can be transmitted to humans and other animals, what treatments can control the disease and which individuals are most at risk.
  • Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist
    A pharmaceutical epidemiologist has to study the cause, effects, and spread of substance abuse condition in the society.  They conduct research on the effects of pharmaceuticals on human health and physiology, and meanwhile track social trends and habits that can lead to the spread of the condition. They try to plot these trends and predict outcomes.
  • Molecular Epidemiologist
    Molecular Epidemiologist are involved in medical research. They try to understand of how the interactions between genetic traits and environmental exposures result in a specific disease. They understand the molecular outcomes and implications of one’s diet, lifestyle, and environmental exposure.
  • Disaster Epidemiologist
    A Disaster Epidemiologist focuses on acute and communicable diseases, environmental health, occupational health, chronic diseases, injuries, mental health, and behavioral health. They provide us situational awareness and help us understand the scenario, and gather the appropriate resources. They help us in preventing or reducing the number of deaths, illnesses, and injuries caused by disasters. They also help in executing prevention and mitigation strategies for future disasters.
  • Supervisory Epidemiologist
    A Supervisory Epidemiologist is involved in a supervisory role such as managing personnel, balancing budgets etc. They focus on a variety of areas such as substance abuse, pharmaceutical development, communicable disease, etc.
  • Infection Control Epidemiologist
    An Infection Control Epidemiologist has to research, monitor, and analyze various infectious diseases. They often educate policy makers and the public about diseases and provide them strategies to prevent illness.

How to Pursue a Career in Epidemiology

Stream Graduation After Graduation After Post Graduation
Path 1
Pursue XII with Science Stream (PCB as the recommended combination)Pursue MBBS/BDS/MOT/MPT/BVS/AYUSH/Engineering/Pharmacy/Physiotherapy/Occupational Therapy/Nursing/Veterinary Sciences for 3-5 yearsPursue Masters of Public Health/ M.Sc. Biostatistics and Epidemiology for 2 years-
Path 2
Pursue XII with Science Stream (PCB as the recommended combination)Pursue Bachelors in Public Health for 3 yearsPursue Masters of Public Health/ M.Sc. Biostatistics and Epidemiology for 2 years-
Path 3
Pursue XII with any Stream (Science as the recommended stream)Pursue Bachelors in Sociology/Economics/Psychology/Nutrition/Anthropology/Social Work for 3 yearsPursue Masters of Public Health for 2 years-

Important Facts

  • Must have passed class 12th or Senior Secondary Examination with at least 50% marks including English

Leading Institutes

Top Epidemiology Institutes in India
College Location Website
SRM University Kachipuram www.srmuniv.ac.in/medicine/health-sciences/school-public-health/about-the-department
Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani www.bits-pilani.ac.in/
Padmashree School of Public Health Bangalore www.padmashree.org/colleges/padmashree-school-of-public-health/
Christian Medical College Vellore www.cmch-vellore.edu/
Central University of Kerala, School of Medicine and Public Health Kasargode, Kerala www.cukerala.ac.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1099&Itemid=654&lang=en
Jawaharlal Nehru University- School of Social Sciences, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health New Delhi www.jnu.ac.in/sss/csmch
National Institute of Epidemiology Chennai www.nie.gov.in/leftcontent.php?lmid=MQ==&lcont_id=MTA
MJRP College of Health Care and Allied Sciences Jaipur www.mjrpuniversity.ac.in/academics.html?cid=courses/healthcare_allied_science.html
Savitribai Phule Pune University Pune www.unipune.ac.in/snc/school_of_health_sciences/default.htm
Public Health Foundation of India Delhi, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad www.phfi.org/our-activities/academic-programmes/courses-and-admissions/1592
National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) New Delhi www.nicd.ac.za/
Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research : School of Public Health Chandigarh www.healtheconomics.pgisph.in/about-pgi-school-of-public-health.html
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai www.admissions.tiss.edu/view/10/admissions/ma-admissions/master-of-public-health-mph-in-social-epidemiology/
Top Epidemiology Institutes in the World
Institution Location Website
University of California Berkeley, United States www.sph.berkeley.edu/
Harvard University United States www.hsph.harvard.edu/
George Washington University United States www.publichealth.gwu.edu/
University of Florida Florida, United States www.phhp.ufl.edu/
Columbia University United States www.mailman.columbia.edu/
University of Birmingham United Kingdom www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/research/med/public-health-epidemiology.aspx
University of Cambridge United kingdom www.cam.ac.uk/

Important Entrance Exams

Postgraduate
Institution Tentative Date Important Elements Website
CUCET March-May Global health, reproductive and sexual health, ecological, genetic, immunological determinants of health, Epidemiology of communicable and non-communicabale diseases, health policy planning, fundamentals of toxicology, vector borne diseases, advocacy for public health, biostatistics, cell biology and global health diplomacy www.cucet2017.co.in/WebPages/StaticPages/Home.aspx
CET Feb-June General Aptitude, Allied Health Sciences (Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Entomology), Public Health www.ipu.ac.in/admission2017/adm2017main.htm
TISS-NET December-March Social Sensitivity, Logical Reasoning, Analytical Ability, Knowledge on contemporary issues www.admissions.tiss.edu/

Work Description

  • Gathering medical and health related information, indepth research, analyzing data and presenting the findings.
  • Designing & implementing strategies in order to treat public health problems.
  • Management of initiatives taken to promote public health based on current research data and analysis.
  • Development and improvement of public health strategies and methodology.

Pros & Cons of a Career in Epidemiology

Pros
  • The job profile gives you an opportunity to work closely with people.
  • Epidemiologists are employed in pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing industry and take a good amount of salary.
  • Epidemiologists contribute to public health by investigating causes and prevention of diseases.
Cons
  • The study of epidemiology involves extensive training in order study diseases and how they affect a given group of people.
  • The study requires you to spend a lot of time in collecting data and analyzing it.
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