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College of Public Health

ETSU has new epidemiology concentration in doctoral program

JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University has added a new concentration in epidemiology to its Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) program.

“Epidemiology is considered one of the core disciplines of public health,” said Dr. Randy Wykoff, ETSU Dean of Public and Allied Health.   “They are the ones that examine the link between cause and effect of diseases, illness, and injuries.

 “Epidemiologists are critical in the early detection of disease outbreaks, emerging infectious conditions – including those potentially resulting from bioterrorist activities – and critical changes in human behavior resulting in new patterns of disease and death. Epidemiologists also play a key role in the systematic study of a wide variety of ways to improve health, ranging from drug development studies to community-based programs to reduce childhood obesity.” 

Wykoff added that there has been a long-standing need, particularly in Tennessee, for programs that offer advanced training in epidemiology.

According to Wykoff, the 2004 National Assessment of Epidemiologic Capacity: Findings and Recommendations , a report of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), stated that the current number of epidemiologists is far below the perceived “estimate of need” to provide essential services of public health across epidemiology program areas.

The Dr.P.H. program with a concentration in community health and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Health were authorized in 2006.  With the establishment of three doctoral programs, including the current Dr.P.H. in epidemiology, ETSU has met one of the key requirements of the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH). 

Wykoff said the epidemiology concentration will prepare graduates to use specific skills and knowledge at a high level for solving public health problems.

“Epidemiologists trained at the doctoral level may work for state or national public health agencies, private health-related industries, academic institutions as teachers and researchers, and in any setting where the careful evaluation of data is essential to informed decision-making,” he said.  “The ability of ETSU to offer this training represents a major opportunity to advance public health in the state and in the region.”

For more information, call Dr. Jim Anderson at 439-4332.


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