Biostatistics is the science that applies statistical theory and mathematical principals to research in medicine, biology, environmental science, public health and related fields. Public health biostatisticians use mathematical and scientific methods to determine the cause of disease and injuries, to identify health trends within communities, and to evaluate programs. For instance, if you go into this career, your research may include estimating the number of deaths from gun violence or analyzing trends in drunk driving injuries. Other examples of using statistical methods in public health could be:
- Analyzing the effectiveness of new drugs in comparison to current treatments
- Determining the relation of specific risk factors to a disease or other health outcomes
- Explaining the probability of biological phenomena and health outcomes
- Evaluating health programs
If you like collecting and studying information, forecasting scenarios and drawing conclusions, this may be the perfect health career for you. This career is in high demand and provides individuals with a wide range of career opportunities. If you are interested in exploring multiple facets of public health in your career you could end up in an academic or clinical setting or as a private consultant with this degree.
Career opportunities for graduates offer competitive salaries. Positions are available in data management, pharmaceutical and clinical trials, data analysis and academia. In addition, biostatisticians are needed at the federal, state and local levels.
Before applying to a biostatistics program, you should have a broad knowledge of biology and a solid understanding of mathematics and statistical methods and measures. However, this is not required of all schools and programs in this area of study. You can search for schools in this field and sample courses on the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health’s (ASPPH) website. SOPHAS is the centralized online application service for students applying to a school or program of public health accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). A complete list of accredited schools and programs can be found on the CEPH website.
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- American Public Health Association
- Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health
- Council on Education for Public Health
- Delta Omega
- National Board of Public Health Examiners