What Is Epidemiology, and Why Should You Study It?

Uploaded by sphweb on 02.10.2012

I'm Anna Diez-Roux and I'm a Professor of Epidemiology and chair of the department.
The classic definition of Epidemiology is that it studies the distribution
determinants of health and health related things in populations with the
goal of developing interventions and policies to improve health.
Key elements of the definition are one, that Epidemiology focuses on
populations so we're interested
as Epidemiologists not only in what differentiates one individual from
another in terms of their risk of becoming ill,
but also what explains why different populations have different levels of
rates of illness,
and that's what makes Epidemiology very unique because of this need to integrate
different kinds of things.
The other important element of the definition is that Epidemiology is very
much linked to
public health action.
Really to intervening
through individual level interventions but also through policy in a broader
range of things that benefit
our society make people healthier.
Our department spans
a very broad range of areas that are important to understanding healthy
populations and I think that makes us quite unique. There aren't many other
departments of Epidemiology that have the breadth that we have.
We have faculty working on the laboratory methods application of
laboratory methods to population health.
We have people working in genetics. We also have faculty who focus on
public health practice - the translation of findings into practice
and also global health issues so on this broad approached Epidemiology I think
is very unique about our program and I think it's transmitted to students in
their training and also in the research experiences that they could have. We have
the good fortune to be at the University of Michigan which has a very long
tradition of history of research - interdisciplinary research and I think
that makes the environment here
unique and also and very conducive
to public-health and Epidemiology because that's really what we're about.
As the department we very much value mentorship. We try to match up students
with mentors that have a related interests students at the University of
Michigan will get
rigorous training and the substance of the tools of Epidemiology,
but they'll be able to do that in an environment which is interdisciplinary
not just the department but also the school and university as a whole so i
think that makes the university of michigan and our department
quite different from any other
schools and any other departments. We interact quite a bit with our students.
I myself have
lots of things happening but I interact as much as I can with
all of my students and I think the other faculty do that too. This makes us a really good place
to be a student.