Epidemiologists Job Description video

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Epidemiologists are like medical detectives--they work to determine who gets diseases, and why. They train through four years of college, and an additional two to four years of master’s degree or doctoral studies. They may specialize in an area such as environmental epidemiology, which looks at the connection between environmental exposure and disease. Most epidemiologists work for federal, state or local government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control or a local health department. They study the frequency, distribution and causes of disease in human populations and develop means for prevention and control. Epidemiologists collect, analyze and interpret data, prepare reports and present their findings verbally and in writing. They must have good statistical, analytical and communications skills. Their work may takeplace at universities, hospitals, research facilities or pharmaceutical companies. But like any detective, an epidemiologist might also go on location to find out more about the cause and effect of a disease in a particular community. He or she might ask questions of people to find out who is at most risk, and to develop theories about how a particular disease is spread. Findings from both laboratory and field research might then be published in a medical journal. They can also lead to new public health programs. From finding the cause to advocating treatment an epidemiologist needs to have patience, persistence and precision. The goal is protecting society from the ravages of disease.


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