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Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Our program teaches common core undergraduate units in epidemiology, biostatistics and research methodology across the undergraduate programs within the School.

It does not have a specific undergraduate course as the program is predominately a postgraduate and Higher degree program.

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What is Epidemiology & Biostatistics?

Epidemiology is the study of diseases in populations. According to the Australasian Epidemiological Association , the three main aims of epidemiology are: to describe disease patterns in human populations; to identify the causes of diseases (also known as aetiology); to provide data essential for the management, evaluation and planning of services for the prevention, control and treatment of disease. Biostatistics is the branch of statistics related to medical and health applications. Biostatistics underpins the methodologies used in epidemiological investigations and research. The discipline has professional epidemiologists and biostatisticians that provide teaching, research and consultancy services within the School of Public Health.

What does a Epidemiologist or Biostatistician do?

Epidemiologists study the frequency and distribution of diseases within human populations and environments. In an epidemiological study, the investigators try to determine if any factor is associated with the health effect. Therefore, epidemiologists try to compare groups of people who are alike except for the risk factor under evaluation.

Biostatisticians develop and apply statistical methods to scientific research in health-related fields, including medicine, epidemiology, and public health. The role of the biostatistician is an important one, especially when it comes to designing studies and analyzing data from research problems. Biostatisticians help formulate the scientific questions to be answered, determine appropriate sampling techniques, coordinate data collection procedures, and conduct statistical analyses to answer those scientific questions. Biostatisticians also play a very important role in the preparation of research material for publication.

Career Opportunities

Epidemiologist

What is an Epidemiologist?

Epidemiologists study the frequency and distribution of diseases within human populations and environments. In an epidemiological study, the investigators try to determine if any factor is associated with the health effect. Therefore, epidemiologists try to compare groups of people who are alike except for the risk factor under evaluation.

Since epidemiology is concerned with the patterns of disease occurrence and the factors that influence these patterns, epidemiology is fundamental in all health-related areas, including the practice of public health and preventive medicine.

Job Description

Epidemiologists perform research, education, and public health practice in universities, government agencies, international organizations, and private corporations.

Epidemiologists often work on developing or refining methods of measuring and evaluating disease occurrences; develop and recommend public health policy; and study or research chronic diseases, infectious diseases, disease outbreaks, injuries, occupations, and environments, among other functions.

Epidemiology espouses many different specializations, such as, the study of infectious and chronic diseases, environmental and occupational determinants of diseases, and genetics determinants of diseases.

The biggest satisfaction for an epidemiologist is discovering some relationship between an avoidable exposure and a disease that leads to action that improves public health. For example, some birth defects have been associated to deficiency folic acid in the diet. Consequently, prevention strategies have been implemented, such as the fortification of certain foods with folic acid, that have helped babies to be born free of these congenital defects.

Biostatisticians

Employment

Biostatisticians work in a wide range of industries, including contract research, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medicine, health care, clinical trials, health education, software development, and other specialized science and medical fields. Jobs can be found in hospitals, research centres, universities, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, or in other organizations that support statistical research in the health sciences. With a solid background in the recommended subject areas, future biostatisticians can look forward to promising and gainful employment.

Job Description

Biostatisticians develop and apply statistical methods to scientific research in health-related fields, including medicine, epidemiology, and public health. The role of the biostatistician is an important one, especially when it comes to designing studies and analyzing data from research problems. Biostatisticians help formulate the scientific questions to be answered, determine appropriate sampling techniques, coordinate data collection procedures, and conduct statistical analyses to answer those scientific questions. Biostatisticians also play a very important role in the preparation of research material for publication.

Biostatisticians not only address medical questions using established statistical methods, they also develop new statistical techniques. A look at research in the biostatistics discipline shows that new techniques are being developed as quickly as new medical questions arise. Biostatisticians are also making large strides in the public policy arena. For instance, the work that biostatisticians do, plays a large role in informing policy makers about issues such as risk and protective factors affecting heart and lung disease, formulating new drug policy to combat infectious diseases, assessment of environmental protection guidelines, injury risk management, or various different cancer treatment outcomes.