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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Major Update Needed For Training of Epidemiologists: WashU and USC Publish Findings

Training in epidemiology needs to be expanded to teach new skills that are needed to respond to modern trends in public health, according to a new project, co-led by epidemiologists at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Southern California.

[Photo: Dr. Ross Brownson]

A working group of senior epidemiologists reviewed literature and conducted interviews with leaders in the field. They found that training had changed very little in recent years, creating a gap between the competencies being taught and the needs in research and practice.

“If more epidemiologists spend time working in practice or policy settings, it is likely that we will find new ways of bridging this gap,” said the project’s co-leader, Dr. Ross Brownson, Bernard Becker Professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. The study was co-led by Dr. Jonathan Samet, Distinguished Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair at the University of Southern California.

[Photo: Dr. Jonathan Samet]

The study identified 12 macro trends and suggested specific competencies needed to address them.  The trends included:

“Addressing these issues through curricular change is needed to allow the field of epidemiology to more fully reach and sustain its full potential to benefit population health and remain a scientific discipline that makes critical contributions toward ensuring clinical, social, and population health,” said Dr. Samet.

The study was sponsored by the American College of Epidemiology and published March 14 in Annals of Epidemiology.

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