Welcome to the Department of Epidemiology.

Epidemiology is a scientific discipline commonly defined as the study of the distribution and determinants of disease and injury in human populations. This broad scope includes understanding the distribution, patterns and causes of adverse health outcomes as well as those associated with their control and prevention, and the complex interaction of factors that play a role in these processes. The key element that distinguishes epidemiology from other health sciences is its focus on groups and populations, rather than individuals, and thus it can viewed as the foundation of public health research and evidence-based practice.

What do we do? Epidemiologists observe, investigate and analyze how the distribution of disease varies by age, gender, race, behavior and lifestyle choices, occupational and environmental exposures, genetic determinants, pre- or co-existing conditions, screening and medical interventions, health protective laws and other factors. This makes epidemiology inherently multi- and cross-disciplinary, and is evidenced in the breadth of courses offered in our department such as infectious, chronic, cancer, cardiovascular, oral, environmental and occupational and managerial epidemiology, as well as by the range of research topics engaged in by our faculty and students.

What do we offer? We are committed to the practice of epidemiology in our teaching, our research and our service. We teach basic epidemiologic principles to all students in the various programs in our college, as well as to students and professionals in a wide range of disciplines, including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and veterinary sciences. The more advanced and specialty courses are usually targeted to individuals seeking a career or more in-depth training in epidemiology. Our faculty conduct research across a number of areas of interest, such as cancer prevention and survival, infectious diseases, environmental effects on health, pharmacoepidemiology and health effects of injury, trauma and abuse. Students have opportunities to work with faculty in research projects, both as research assistants and as part of their capstone requirements.

Erin Haynes, DrPH, MS
Phone: 859.562.2119

Epidemiology Faculty and Staff


With a $1.16 million cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission, Dr. April Young takes a community approach to battling the opioid epidemic in Eastern Kentucky.

Study Finds No Causal Link Between Smoking and Dementia

Dr. Erin Abner used competing risk analysis to determine whether there was a connection between smoking and dementia once the competing risk of death was included.

Current Funded Projects

Currently funded projects with principal investigators in the Department of Epidemiology.

Learn more about the PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Graduates of this program are prepared to address the practical challenges of conducting population-based, clinical and translational research in the multidisciplinary work environments of academia, government, and industry.