The Place And Role in Public Health: Epidemiology vs. Biostatistics

The Place And Role in Public Health: Epidemiology vs. Biostatistics

We generally affiliate the medical issues when we ponder over the word ‘health.’ And due to this, the definition of public health can get a bit perplexing to many people. In contrast with medical caregivers who practice in hospital settings, public health doesn’t concentrate on medicine neither it’s a one-on-one field of study.

In lieu, public health emphasizes strategies to improve healthcare outcomes and prevent chronic diseases among the populations. Coming up short against public health and overlooking the community’s wellness might give birth to many healthcare concerns such as cancer and heart problems. Therefore, public health practitioners enhance the quality of living and ensure the well-being of people through various methods such as clean water, child wellness, disaster relief, and education.

If you have a one-track mind to help and serve the people or you wish to drive a real difference to the people whose lives you touch. Then, you probably aspire to be a part of this rewarding profession. Epidemiology and biostatistics are two of the most common public health fields. While both of these branches may seem somewhat similar; however, the fact is, both fields differ a lot.

To learn more, let’s take a deep dive into both of these professions and see what distinguish them:


The field of biostatistics or biometry is a peculiar one, as it blends the aspects of medicine with statistics, mathematics, and science. Primarily, the role of a biostatistician is to check the validity of the hypothesis using the empirical research method. Thus, the professionals of this field collect data, implement the fundamentals of statistics, and derive medical results based on their research.

These professionals may work in pharmaceutical firms, research centers, governmental agencies, medical equipment manufacturers, or private companies. Biostatisticians generally have an office-based work environment. However, depending on the nature of their jobs, they might also work in laboratory settings.

Responsibilities of biostatistician

On a given day, the job duties of a biostatistician include the following:

  • Collect data about the populations, inspect the impacts of climate change, and study the prevalence of multiple diseases
  • Assess, apply, and report results about the research projects and prepare documents based on the results
  • Implement statistical approaches and scientific methods to unveil the underlying cause of diseases
  • Establish and maintain relationships with professionals of different fields and acts as dedicated specialists for various committees and collaborators
  • Collaborate with data scientists to carry out research studies and ensure that clinical trials accuracy
  • Leverage statistical software to infer valuable information and stay updated with the ongoing trends in the statistical industry

How to become a biostatistician?

All aspiring individuals who wish to pursue their career as biostatisticians should first enroll in an undergraduate degree. A bachelor’s degree in the field of statistics, mathematics, or biostatistics may work. However, to qualify for advanced job roles, it’s advisable to consider a master’s or doctorate.

What subjects do biostatisticians study?

Biostatistics is an honorable profession, which offers high earning potential and job stability. Individuals who have a way with mathematics and statistics and are passionate about stepping foot in the healthcare industry can pursue this field.

Although the curriculum of each degree program varies; however, some of the common subjects that biostatisticians study include:

  • Essential elements of statistical inference
  • Applied biostatistics
  • Generalized linear models
  • Statistical computing
  • Principles of microbiology
  • Analysis of human health and diseases

Epidemiology deals with the risk factors, causes, and prevalence of diseases among communities. The field tends to save millions of lives and extricate the suffering to a greater extent. These public health practitioners accumulate data through interviews, survey forms, or observation and inspect them. They also test the specimens of blood or fluids of the human body to decipher the root cause of diseases. Epidemiologists utilize both qualitative and quantitative approaches to analyze data and extract relevant information.

Epidemiologists can either work for the state, local, private, or public sector. The typical work settings may include healthcare facilities, academic institutions, laboratories, and government offices.

Responsibilities of an epidemiologist

The epidemiologist mandate includes the following job duties:

  • Handle the health surveillance systems and determine the effects of environmental factors and chemical toxins on human health
  • Work collectively with government officials and global public healthcare providers to aid in creating public health policies
  • Keep themselves abreast of the emerging trends and latest developments in the technology and develop public health programs
  • Oversee public health programs, monitor their effectiveness, and figure out ways to improve such programs to overcome public health issues 
  • Travel to various locations to deduce the reasons for the outbreak of diseases and give presentations in the meetings
  • Train physicians, technicians, and students about laboratory methods and medicine research
  • Exploit software to calculate the findings and regulate the drug dosage and immunization methods for the manufacture of biological compounds

How to become an epidemiologist?

There are some educational prerequisites that individuals should meet to become an epidemiologist. First, after obtaining a bachelor’s degree, aspiring students must gain hands-on experience before enrolling in a master’s degree program. 

However, ensure that you acquire a master’s in epidemiology or other relevant fields such as biological or statistical science from an accredited institute. Only then will you be eligible to perform tasks as an epidemiologist.

Which subjects do epidemiologists study?

Epidemiology, beyond doubt, is a challenging yet gratifying profession. As per the statistics by BLS, epidemiology will likely grow by 30% by 2029. You will suit this area of public health if you have top-notch research skills and a solid sense of humanitarian duties.

The following is a list of courses that you may study during your epidemiology degree program. Remember, the subjects may differ depending on the program you choose.

  • Principles of epidemiology in public health
  • Epidemiology of chronic diseases and disability
  • Psychiatric epidemiology
  • Clinical trials and methods
  • Cancer epidemiology
  • Infectious disease and global health epidemiology

Final Words

Epidemiologists and biostatisticians are prominent public health practitioners who capitalize on mathematical, statistical, and scientific methods to inspect disease trends. Not only this, but they also intervene to solve the current health crisis and protect the public from diseases that may arise in a yet unforeseeable future. Thousands of individuals are alive today and living their best lives, all thanks to the endeavors of public health professionals and their initiatives. Therefore, it is fair to state that both of these fields are the mainstays of public health.

And if you wish to harmonize your passion for data analysis with medical knowledge, then look no further ahead. Both of these fields offer exceptional experiences and give the valuable opportunity to facilitate health conditions. All you ought to do is decide which area sits well with your strengths, interests, and career plans.

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By Michael Caine

Michael Caine is the Owner of Amir Articles and also the founder of ANO Digital (Most Powerful Online Content Creator Company), from the USA, studied MBA in 2012, love to play games and write content in different categories.

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