Shadowing a DoctorNovember 21, 2014
Epidemiology is a branch of medicine that involves the study of various patterns of diseases among different groups of people in order to determine how these diseases affect them while developing a better understanding of the disease. This form of medicine involves a lot of data gathering and research. With an above average annual salary and a 24% growth rate in the field, it is a very promising line of medicine to get into. Not only is there a lot of room for personal and professional growth but you will also be able to work in a field that will genuinely help public health and contribute to society.
There are several different career options you can choose from within the field of epidemiology, each of which offers different opportunities.
Infection Control Epidemiologist
These specialists usually work in local hospitals, private healthcare facilities and university hospitals, where they deal with controlling infectious diseases within the medical facility. In doing so, they prevent the large-scale spread of the infectious disease, which could otherwise lead to an epidemic. As an infection control epidemiologist, you would be responsible for collecting and analysing health-related data through observation, interviews, blood samples and other bodily samples. Within the facility, you would also be responsible for enforcing general cleanliness and hygiene to prevent infections from spreading.
A molecular epidemiologist combines epidemiology and molecular science. These professionals use various kinds of scientific and biological techniques in order to analyse the population and identify what kind of disease affects different kinds of people. These techniques are very helpful in cases where there is no easy explanation for what causes a particular disease or how it spreads. Molecular epidemiologists measure all the factors precisely and look for solutions that cannot be found through other methods. For example, a disease like AIDS can be studied a lot more effectively through this process.
This specialist studies different disasters and their effects on the population. As a disaster epidemiologist you would be responsible for analysing various kinds of disasters and identifying the link between the disaster and the people who have been affected by it. This job requires a lot of technical expertise since you will have to handle numerous sophisticated devices and utilise innovative methods in order to track and survey as many people as possible. Studying these factors and identifying the effects of disasters makes it possible for authorities to respond more quickly and more effectively in case of a similar event in the future.
These epidemiologists work alongside various pharmaceutical companies and medical agencies where they are responsible for studying diseases and understanding the relationships between people suffering from diseases and the disease itself, including different social trends and habits. They may take part in clinical trials or they may work solely in the field of research. Most professionals in this specialty work in labs where they study reactions between certain chemicals and samples obtained from people.
Part 2 discusses some more career options in this field.