What Is a Public Health Epidemiology Doctor? (With Skills)

Consultant epidemiologists focus more on policies to survey, control and prevent contagious diseases. They are involved in planning the response to local outbreaks and evaluation of existing disease epidemiology. Advice to the public health sector and other organisations and research, training and auditing are part of the working life of consultant epidemiologists (1).

It is difficult to give an example of a typical week in a public health career due to the variation of posts and jobs. It is rare for someone to stay in the same job for their entire public health career as they will accept posts more tailored to their interests and developments. Academia and multi-disciplinary team working is to be expected in most posts.

The entry requirements for ST1 in public health include a MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree or a first degree (1st or 2:1) or a Masters/PhD. For trainees applying with a medical degree, full registration and licence to practice from the GMC is required as well as the completion of a UK foundation programme or two year equivalent overseas.

The second is the Final Membership Examination (MFPH)/Objective Structured Public Health Examination (OSPHE), previously known as Part B of the exam. DFPH is used to examine the understanding of the scientific basis of public health, passing will lead to entry into Diplomate Membership. MFPH/OSPHE examines trainees’ ability to integrate the theory of public health into its practice.

As with any speciality, there is potential to enhance NHS earnings by private practice. JRSM reported in 2008 that the total income for public health medicine consultants was £80,659 with NHS earnings making up £66,427 and private practice earning £14,232 making the ratio 0.21. This is similar to general psychiatry (0.20) and haematology (0.20) but much lower than orthopedics (1.4), plastic surgery (1.9) and many other specialties (8).

The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) publishes three peer reviewed journals. Public Health, Perspective in Public Health and Public Health in Practice. Public Health contains research papers and reviews. Perspectives in Public Health publishes opinion articles as well as peer-reviewed research. Public Health in Practice contains research behind the practicality of delivering public health and the theory behind the issues in the field (9)

Epidemiologists examine patterns of disease among people to determine how best to deliver public health services and combat biological threats. They perform descriptive studies to identify characteristics and patterns of a disease or health issue to prevent negative outcomes.

Epidemiology the backbone of public health

What does a public health epidemiology doctor do?

Most professionals who have a DrPH in epidemiology focus on researching, identifying, developing and administering treatments for chronic and infectious diseases, transmissible illnesses and preventable injuries. If you have a DrPH in epidemiology, you may pursue a job in a clinical role, which allows you to practice medicine and treat patients. You can also seek an academic role, which involves researching public health and epidemiology trends and issues and developing methods for diagnosing, treating and preventing disease.

What is a public health epidemiology doctor?

A public health epidemiology doctor is a medical research professional who has a Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) in epidemiology. The title refers to the type of degree the professional has instead of their actual role. There are many roles in public health and epidemiology you can pursue if you have a DrPH in epidemiology, particularly in health care and academia.

Public health epidemiology doctor duties

The duties of a public health epidemiology doctor depend on their specific role. The responsibilities of a professional in this field who works in a clinical setting may differ from those of an epidemiology scientist who works in a lab, but they often have similar goals. As public health professionals, the duties they perform focus on factors such as:

Requirements for becoming a public health epidemiology doctor

Here are some of the general requirements for becoming a public health epidemiology doctor:


A DrPH in epidemiology is a doctoral degree, so candidates who are interested in becoming a public health epidemiology doctor complete graduate school before starting their careers. Many DrPH graduates first earn a bachelors degree in a biological science or health care field, such as chemistry, health science, nursing, public health or biology. After earning their bachelors degree, candidates pursue a masters degree program that allows them to prepare for a DrPH. They often earn a masters degree in public health, biostatistics, epidemiology or a related field.


Working as a public health epidemiology doctor requires many advanced skills. A combination of soft skills and technical skills can help you succeed in a DrPH role. Here are some essential skills to learn and master:


Your training as a public health epidemiology doctor depends on the specialty you choose. If you choose to work in a clinical setting, you may complete a residency or clinical rotations before getting a permanent position. If you work in research or academia, your training may comprise an internship or a shadowing opportunity that allows you to learn from more experienced researchers through observation.

FAQs about being a public health epidemiology doctor

If youre interested in pursuing a DrPH in epidemiology, you may have questions about the career path. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about being a public health epidemiology doctor:

How much do you earn with a Doctor of Public Health in epidemiology?

What is the job outlook for this career path?

What are some careers I can consider as a public health epidemiology doctor?

If youre pursuing a DrPH in epidemiology, you have many career paths to consider. Many professionals in this field become epidemiologists, researchers or health care practitioners. Other options include:


What is a Epidemiology doctor?

Often called “Disease Detectives”, epidemiologists search for the cause of disease, identify people who are at risk, determine how to control or stop the spread or prevent it from happening again. Physicians, veterinarians, scientists, and other health professionals often train to be “Disease Detectives”.

What do public health epidemiologists do?

Epidemiologists are public health workers who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury. They seek to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes through research, community education and health policy.

Is a epidemiologist a medical doctor?

Are epidemiologists considered medical doctors? No. While epidemiologists study and investigate the causes and sources of diseases in much the same way as medical doctors, they’re not considered actual physicians.

What is the difference between an epidemiologist and a physician?

A physician looks at an individual, whereas an epidemiologist looks at an entire community. While both aim to find a diagnosis, a physician will care for and treat an individual. An epidemiologist is concerned about disease exposure, putting measures in place to stop it from spreading further.

How do you become a doctor of epidemiology?

Epidemiologists need at least a master’s degree from an accredited college or university. Most epidemiologists have a master’s degree in public health (MPH) or a related field, and some have completed a doctoral degree in epidemiology or medicine.

Is an epidemiologist the same as an infectious disease doctor?

“Infectious disease doctors are clinicians who treat individual patients with infections, using their knowledge of epidemiology, pharmacology, and medicine, while epidemiologists ‘treat’ communities through behavioral change to reduce the prevalence of all kinds of diseases, including non-communicable diseases and

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