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Epidemiology Facts and Figures, 2014:

Department of Epidemiology

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Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease frequency. The field aims to identify factors which promote health and reduce the burden of disease in human populations.

Since 1941, the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan has worked continuously to reduce the disease burden in human populations through research, education, and service. We invite you to join us in this multifaceted mission.

We practice epidemiology as a broad scientific discipline, addressing the occurrence of disease and the distribution of health status in populations. By integrating causal concepts at the molecular, cellular, clinical, and social-environmental levels, our diverse faculty work to maintain an intellectual environment that facilitates the integration of biological, social, and analytic approaches. Within such an environment, faculty and students are able to develop the breadth of knowledge necessary to appreciate fully the complexities of the biosocial systems that we seek to understand and modify.

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Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan is to contribute to the reduction of the disease burden in human populations through research, education, and service. The research mission is met by study into the risk of disease associated with inherent, acquired, social, or environmental factors, and the development and application of methods to alleviate that risk. These methods range from primary prevention through service provision to modification of social systems. Faculty and students pursue this research mission through research projects conducted both by individuals and by multi-disciplinary teams.

The educational mission includes the training of students to generate and interpret epidemiologic information, to synthesize it with other information, and to apply it to reduction of the disease burden. Graduates from the Department’s research training programs are prepared to develop their careers as independent researchers, and all Departmental graduates are prepared to take up leadership positions in academia and in public and private agencies involved with health care or research.

The major components of research training in the Department of Epidemiology include:

  1. the design of population studies;
  2. the collection and analysis of data;
  3. the interpretation of empirical findings and application to public-health practice; and
  4. the development and maintenance of surveillance systems to monitor health problems and hazards in target populations.

This training emphasis holds whether the research is conducted in the laboratory, the community, clinical settings, or through the use of archival records or computer simulations.

The Department’s service mission requires that faculty and students provide service as advisors and consultants to health professionals and agencies at the state, national, and international levels.