Department of Epidemiology

Epidemiology at UAB

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Epidemiology has been a central part of medicine and public health at UAB from the early 1970s. Since the founding of the SOPH, Epidemiology has been the largest department in terms of the number of faculty, number of students, and extramural research support. In 1998, the Departments of Epidemiology and International Health were combined. The Epidemiology Ph.D. Program Faculty include faculty who are in the International Health Unit. Our sixteen full-time Epidemiology Program faculty have active research grants totalling over $3.6M for research in Alabama, the United States, and around the world. Areas of research include occupational hazards in the chemical industries, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, systemic lupus erythematosus, mental retardation, farm safety, Alzheimer's Disease, human papillomavirus and immunosuppression, sexually transmitted disease prevention, and cancer control. 

Our faculty interact with key researchers and clinical units throughout the University, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and with international partners such as the International Center for Diarrheal Diseases Research in Bangladesh. The epidemiology faculty provide editorial advice to over 40 journals and peer review, expert assistance and research consultation to the World AIDS Foundation; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the National Center for Health Statistics; the National Institutes of Health; the Alabama Departments of Public Health, Mental Health, and Education; multiple units within UAB including the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Veterans Administration Hospital, the University Hospital, the Center for AIDS Research, the Center for Health Promotion, the Injury Control Research Center, the Sparkman Center for International Public Health Education, Gorgas Institute, and others. In addition, several faculty members participate on industry advisory panels for occupational safety in private industry.

The Epidemiology Program's strengths are genetic, infectious (including HIV and STDs), environmental, occupational, cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes, perinatal, dental, and injury epidemiology. The program has had doctoral graduates with foci in all of these areas. Drs. Sten Vermund, Richard Kaslow and Susan Allen, help enrich a highly competitive doctoral training program in infectious disease epidemiology. A special relationship exists between the Epidemiology Program and the Division of Geographic Medicine in the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine. We have also developed a program in mental retardation (Dr. Hovinga), molecular epidemiology (Drs. Go and Kaslow), and in the epidemiology of injuries (Drs. Waterbor and McGwin). Two recent graduates had dissertations in the latter.

We have a vibrant and successful teaching program. Three of the first four SOPH Excellence-in-Teaching awards in the School of Public Health were awarded to faculty in the Department of Epidemiology. There are typically sixty to seventy masters and ten doctoral students enrolled at any time. Doctoral students may work with investigators in all the Schools and Centers throughout UAB. Students publish with faculty in such diverse disciplines as Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medicine, Pediatric Dentistry, Nursing, Optometry, Nutrition, Microbiology, and Virology.

Graduates of our program have found employment in academia, research organizations and foundations, industry, public and private health services delivery organizations, and international agencies. Over a dozen of our doctoral graduates have faculty positions. Some are at such distinguished institutions such as University of Pittsburgh, Bowman Grey School of Medicine, Wake Forrest University, University of Tennessee, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Vanderbilt University. Abroad, alumni are employed at universities in Thailand, Norway, Italy, and China.

The physical resources of the Program consists of space in the Ryals School of Public Health Building and the Bevill Biomedical Research Building. The Department on average graduates two to three Ph.D.s per year. Doctoral students are provided with shared office space, telephone, access to computer hardware and software according to their particular needs.

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