Thinking of Becoming an Epidemiologist? A Look at the Field and Its Future

becoming an epidemiologist

Interested in becoming a clinical epidemiologist? The field offers a wide array of opportunities for the dedicated student and professional, and we’re excited for the journey you’re embarking on.

Our Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology program can provide the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in your burgeoning career, but here on our blog we like to give prospective students a solid overview of what they can expect from the field.

So let’s take a look at key facets of the clinical epidemiology world and where it’s likely to be headed in the future.

Skills You Acquire in a Clinical Epidemiology Program

Those looking to enter the clinical epidemiology field gain an array of skills in their university programs, all of which benefit them in their later roles. These skills include:

  • Conducting research that is centered around the needs of patients to better understand their needs, then making adjustments to health outcomes
  • Analyzing clinical data to better understand the origins, benefits, and drawbacks that come with a patient’s data
  • Designing and conducting needed epidemiological studies
  • Applying essential clinical procedures, clinical trials design and management, statistical analysis, study monitoring, pharmaceutical research, and regulations which pertain to clinical research
  • Learning advanced methods of observational and experimental study designs, along with understanding core factors for disease prevention, development, diagnosis, and care

As you can see, there are so many aspects you’ll learn about and master when you work to become an epidemiologist. Now let’s take a look at what the career entails when you’re in the field.

Duties Epidemiologists Commonly Perform

There are a variety of duties clinical epidemiologists perform, which can include the following:

  • Organizing and overseeing studies of major clinical health problems
  • Accumulating essential research data for review and analysis
  • Investigating approaches to prevent and treat disease
  • Collecting and analyzing clinical health data, which can entail observations, surveys, interviews, human tissue samples, and more, to determine the origin and spread of a disease
  • Creating guidelines and internal processes for disease control within medical settings
  • Meeting with representatives of medical facilities to address disease control initiatives and processes
  • Crafting materials to educate various groups on disease control
  • Developing and overseeing studies
  • Analyzing the impact of medications to determine their efficacy and safety

Along with these duties, clinical epidemiologists may take on additional responsibilities depending upon the setting they find themselves within. Common areas of employment for clinical epidemiologists include:

  • Universities
  • Government
  • Health insurance companies
  • The pharmaceutical industry
  • Infectious disease departments
  • Bioterrorism and emergency response departments
  • Research facilities
  • Chronic disease departments
  • Substance abuse organizations

You can learn more about some of these roles in the second half of our previous blog post about clinical epidemiology careers.

Developments and the Future of Epidemiology

Those looking to become an epidemiologist no doubt want to know where the profession is headed and what to expect when they enter the field. With that in mind, let’s look at some recent developments.

  • Recently, epidemiology research was utilized in assessing the diagnosis and treatment of chronic migraines, specifically in regards to the use of opioids for treatment. Epidemiology studies are seen as highly valuable in this area because they highlight not only the trends with a disease but also the unmet needs of patients. A reduction in opioid prescriptions for migraine sufferers was recommended based on these findings, as they are known to worsen migraine frequency and severity.
  • Artificial Intelligence has begun to play a role in many areas of the medical profession, and epidemiology is among them. AI is now helping in detecting, characterizing, tracking, and responding to disease outbreaks, allowing all of these aspects to be expedited and to help facilitate real-time response to health issues.
  • Other developments include initiatives by the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to examine the current state of epidemiology and make recommendations for the field moving forward.

Have Questions for Us? Reach Out!

If you’ve been looking into becoming an epidemiologist and want to learn more, we’re ready to help. Reach out to our faculty and staff for inquiries about our M.S. in Clinical Epidemiology, the future of the career field, and more.

We look forward to hearing from you!