The UD College of Health Sciences has added Epidemiology to its list of academic offerings. The new program includes a master of public health (MPH) degree with a concentration in epidemiology, and a PhD degree in epidemiology. The MPH is the only degree of its kind in the region that focuses specially on applied epidemiology.
Dr. Jennifer Horney is the founding director of the program, which is currently accepting applications.
“Epidemiology is the basic science of public health, so students with training in epidemiology can design studies or analyze data relevant to any disease or public health topic – from infectious diseases and injuries to vaccine and pharmaceutical development,” she said. “In our program, students will gain skills both in and out of the classroom that are immediately relevant to the public health workforce, including how to conduct rapid epidemiologic assessments to analyzing data with CDC’s EpiInfo software.”
Students in the MPH program receive a comprehensive foundation of population health principles, epidemiological methods, biostatistics, and study design, enabling them to begin successful careers in public health. Areas of focus include disaster epidemiology, field epidemiology and cancer epidemiology, among others. MPH classes are scheduled to begin in fall 2019. UD’s Biden School of Public Policy and Administration also offers an MPH with a concentration in health policy and management.
The PhD degree in Epidemiology will provide students who have some experience in public health with advanced training in epidemiological research methods and their application to public health.
I am tremendously pleased that we are launching an Epidemiology program in the College of Health Sciences,” said College of Health Sciences Dean Kathleen S. Matt. “The application of epidemiology allows us to use data about populations, disease occurrence, environmental factors, to guide practice development focused on achieving better health outcomes. The data are important for our research agenda and for the training of our future health professionals.”
Dr. Horney also serves as core faculty at the UD Disaster Research Center. She is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She was a member of a team of public health practitioners who responded to Hurricanes Isabel, Charley, Katrina, Wilma, Irene, and Harvey where she conducted rapid assessments of disaster impact on the public health of individuals and communities. She has also provided technical assistance to public health agencies globally around disasters, infectious disease outbreaks, and pandemic influenza planning and response.
Her research focuses on measuring the health impacts of disasters, including natural disasters and emerging infectious diseases. She also conducts interdisciplinary research to link disaster outcomes to planning and other actions communities take to prepare, respond and recover.
“Epidemiology is the study of the distribution of diseases in populations. If we think about the events of the last few years – pandemic influenza, Ebola, Zika, outbreaks of measles, unprecedented natural disasters – all have health impacts on populations globally. Understanding the patterns associated with their frequency and causes will be essential to protecting population health in the future,” Horney said.