Department of Epidemiology & Public Health
Professor and Chair
Jay Magaziner, PhD, MSHyg
Modern epidemiology is a discipline at the interface of population science, clinical practice and basic medical research. Preparation for the practice of medicine requires knowledge that bridges these three areas through an understanding of the principles of epidemiology, methods for studying individuals and populations, biostatistics and the social and behavioral sciences.
The department is engaged in teaching, research and service across the spectrum of public health and preventive medicine. The faculty has expertise in epidemiology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, environmental and occupational medicine, molecular epidemiology, pharmacologic epidemiology, clinical preventive medicine, health services research, aging, behavioral sciences, infectious diseases, international health, women’s health and clinical research methods.
I. Teaching - Undergraduate Medical Program
The department introduces principles of epidemiology and biostatistics, clinical research methods and occupational and environmental medicine into the blocks of systems-oriented instruction in the second year curriculum. The emphasis is on providing practitioners with the tools necessary to critically evaluate the scientific medical literature regarding issues such as disease etiology and diagnostic testing, as well as preventive and therapeutic interventions. These concepts are introduced in lectures and applied in exercises in small-group sessions. The exercises complement systems-related material introduced by other disciplines and relate to research papers which address clinically relevant issues.
The applications of preventive medicine to clinical medicine are integrated into clinical rotations both by formal presentations and by patient-related discussions with clinical preceptors. Emphasis is placed on the important role of the physician in health promotion and disease prevention and the application of evidenced-based medicine to clinical problem-solving. Students can opt to spend one of the two months of the senior Area Health Education Center (AHEC) rotation getting “real world” experience in preventive medicine and public health by enrolling for a “selective” coordinated by the department. The objectives of this rotation are to learn a population-based approach to health and health care, complement the knowledge and skills developed and refined at AHEC clinical sites, and link public health to the student’s future specialty choice. The rotation is offered eight times a year and consists of placements at local and state health departments or other public health agencies. Students do small projects developed jointly with the site preceptors and give end-of-block presentations to their peers and preceptors.
As part of the Graduate Programs in Life Sciences, the department is the home of three doctoral programs: Program in Epidemiology and Human Genetics, with a selection of tracks in epidemiology, molecular epidemiology or human genetics; the Program in Toxicology, with tracks in mechanistic toxicology and human and environmental toxicology; and the Program in Gerontology with concentrations in epidemiology, policy, and social, cultural, behavioral sciences. A Master of Public Health degree is offered as are Master of Science degrees in epidemiology and preventive medicine, clinical research, human genetics, and toxicology. Dual MD/PhD, MD/MPH and MD/MS degrees are also available.
A week-long short course, Introduction to Clinical Investigation at UMB, is designed for clinical fellows who are starting the research year(s) of their fellowship as well as new faculty who are starting a career in clinical investigation. The course provides a brief introduction to key topics, including hypothesis generation, biostatistics and bioinformatics, data sources, grants, ethics, the IRB (and IACUC), and campus resources for clinical research.
The department hosts the Health Research Ethics Training Initiative in Egypt (HRETIE) certificate program in June and July. The initiative is sponsored by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP).
The department sponsors an ACGME-approved two-year residency program leading to board certification in preventive medicine. The program prepares physicians for positions in federal health agencies, state health departments, hospitals, medical schools, public health institutes and industry. To be admitted to the residency program applicants must have completed a minimum of one year of clinical training in an ACGME-accredited program. Components of the residency program include required and elective graduate-level course work, a variety of seminars, journal club and workshops, supervised research experiences and field placements in public health or research settings. Course work leads to a Master of Science degree in epidemiology and preventive medicine.
II. Research Interests
Department research activities cover a broad range of faculty interests. Clinical and community intervention studies are directed toward the causes, prevention, and management of major chronic and infectious diseases. Environmental and genetic risk factors associated with disability are an area of active research. Research on hip fracture outcomes and hospital infections exemplify increased attention to the study of medical care effectiveness and outcomes. Campus wide programs in aging and women’s health are housed in the department, and the department is actively engaged in global health and health disparities research, and studies of chronic and infectious disease transmission and prevention in hospitals and long-term care institutions.
Community service activities of the department are carried out in health planning, research and evaluation through active collaboration with hospital clinics, health departments, governmental agencies and voluntary organizations concerned with public health problems.