An Introduction

Hello and welcome to my blog. It seems only right that I should introduce myself and tell you why I’m here. So here goes…

Who am I?

I’m an epidemiologist, currently undertaking a PhD in clinical outcomes research (more on this in due course). I actually started out studying genetics and spent a few years in translational research trying to figure out which genes/chromosomes made some cancer cells cancerous. Somewhere along the line I had a serendipitous encounter with epidemiology, which prompted my interests to shift towards health at the population level and I realised that applied research was more my cup of tea.

I was lucky enough to get to do a Masters degree in epi at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (a brilliant institution which deserves to be better known). And now I’ve relocated to do a PhD, looking at ways to improve the predictive models that are used in clinical practice to help make treatment decisions or to monitor performance.

Who are you?

I don’t know yet! Maybe you’re a fellow epidemiologist looking to share ideas? Maybe you’re a medical student or a health researcher in a different discipline trying to learn more about epi? Maybe you’re not a scientist but you read a news story that made you google something and you ended up here? I guess I’ll find out who my audience is in due course, and try to tailor my writing accordingly.

Why am I writing this?

Many reasons. Mainly because I think that a lot of health research can be easily understood by the non-scientific community. But that requires (a) clear communication on the part of the scientists and (b) a willingness on the part of non-scientists to educate themselves a little about the basics so they can critically think about science. Hopefully here I will achieve (a) and play a small part in helping others to achieve (b).

From a more selfish point of point of view, I keep hearing that it’s a good idea in the course of a PhD to get into the discipline of writing regularly, and this is a nice way for me to get some variety. It might also prove a useful way of making contact with other researchers who work on similar areas. We shall see.

What will you find here?

I’m hoping to write about a range of things, from health stories in the news, to basic principles of epidemiology, to my own research interests.

I don’t plan to write essays. Personally I have a short attention span when reading off a screen so I don’t want to write long articles. I hope if I take the ‘little and often’ approach I’ll be more likely to keep this up.

I intend to pitch to the ‘interested non-specialist’ but if ever I become too jargony or too patronising I’d appreciate constructive feedback.

Epidemiology? That’s about skin, right?

Nope, that would be dermatology. We’ll come to a definition of epidemiology shortly.

Right, that should do for now. Let’s begin…

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