Epidemiologists are not skin specialists
Dharam J Kumbhani explains how studying epidemiology has influenced his clinical practice
What does a formal training in epidemiology entail? I came to the Harvard School of Public Health to do my masters degree in clinical epidemiology right after medical school. Many people found this appalling, mainly because I was expected to follow the general trend of completing medical school and getting a good house job--like most medical students. A disbelieving aunt thought that it meant that I was going to become a skin specialist.
Epidemiology programmes, at least in the United States, are mainly offered by schools of public health. Most schools require students to have taken the graduate record examination and the test of English as a foreign language, if applicable. The courses are usually a blend of epidemiology and biostatistics (box 1). You gradually begin to understand how all the numbers and ubiquitous P values in the BMJ find their way there. As part of a clinical research team,