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Epidemiologist - Many Roles, Many Rewards

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Epidemiologists interested in the influence of genetic factors on health may play several types of roles on a research project, including assisting in the overall design of the study, developing instruments to collect nongenetic risk-factor data, and using that data to investigate possible interactions between genetic and nongenetic (environmental) factors that influence health. Genetic epidemiologists perform a similar role, using study designs and statistical approaches developed specifically for the analysis of human genetics data.

The professional rewards of a career in epidemiology are the excitement of discovery and the knowledge that epidemiologic studies can be used to help people improve or maintain their health over time. Epidemiologic research has significantly improved the public's health over the past century. Research results have been used to identify new medicines to treat disease, to educate the public about the health effects of cigarette smoking and inactive lifestyles, and to improve sanitation and water treatment, significantly reducing the burden of infectious disease in heavily populated areas.

William K. Scott


Jaret, Peter. "The Disease Detectives." National Geographic (January 1991): 114-140.

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