On behalf of Vanderbilt’s Epidemiology PhD Program, I offer you my greetings and invite you to consider joining this diverse and vibrant community of scholars.
Our discipline is, at its core, engaged in the production of actionable evidence to improve the public health. In an age of infectious disease pandemics, of persistent health disparities, and of chronic diseases that live with us still, there has never been a more important time for us to enlist the best and brightest in this pursuit: the communities we serve, wherever they may reside, are depending upon our abilities to meet and master this moment.
As you think about the next stage of your formal education against this backdrop, I hope you’ll reflect carefully on what you wish to learn from, and contribute to, our field of science generally and our own program in particular. After all, our structure and curriculum differ from many others’ in that we’ve placed them at the hub of a robust research enterprise that spans Departments and Divisions, and indeed entire Schools of our University. That is because we believe that the practice of epidemiology should be truly interdisciplinary and free of silos and sequestration.
Every day at Vanderbilt, we do the important work of epidemiology, designing studies and enhancing participant recruitment, expanding large-scale linkage of DNA repositories to clinical records for research, and moving data and specimens around the country and the globe on a remarkable scale. We conduct descriptive and causal analyses with appropriate methodologic rigor, and we leverage our knowledge and skills to reduce measurement error and bias as barriers to valid study inferences. And we do all of this in a setting in which we work seamlessly with leading epidemiologists, biostatisticians, clinicians, genomics and biomarker experts, informaticians, and behavioral scientists, among others.
Throughout, we remain focused on advancing treatment and prevention– on understanding the causes and mediators of both disease and health. We remain dedicated to improving health equity and protecting the health of vulnerable populations. We remain determined to fulfill our institutional mandate: applying our scientific products to make a measurable difference in the lives of real people.
If, upon reflection, this setting and these goals seem worthy of your time and energy, we hope you will join us. After a campus visit to meet with investigators and prospective mentors, we will match doctoral students with exceptionally productive research teams who excel at mentorship, have ample resources, and who are already in the business of shaking up conventional approaches to research. We are inviting and selecting students to function as co-investigators and intellectual colleagues in that process.
We welcome your novel insights, new concepts, and most audacious goals, and we look forward to all the ways in which you will transform healthcare, improve population health, and translate epidemiologic evidence into public health practice.