Hello and welcome to Mr Epidemiology! I’ve been hoping to start this blog for a while, inspired by colleagues and friends (a list of whom is on the right).

I’m assuming people have some questions, so I’m going to answer some of the most common ones: Who am I? Why am I doing this? What am I going to do? And finally: Does peanut butter and honey taste nearly as good as peanut butter and jelly?

More after the jump.

Who am I?

My name is Atif. I’m a PhD student at Queen’s University, studying the social consequences of obesity among youth. My Masters looked at whether obese youth are more likely to be bullied compared to non-obese peers, and my PhD is going to look at immigrant status and how that ties into health outcomes. I’m currently working on that – I’m sure there’ll be posts about it in the future. I have a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biology and a B.A. (Hons) in Psychology from Carleton University, and a M.Sc. in Epidemiology from Queen’s University.

Why am I doing this?

Almost no one knows what Epidemiologists are, or what we do. I’m hoping to change that. A lofty goal, but one I think is important.

Part of the problem is that there is no strict definition for Epidemiology. Depending on who you ask, you’ll get many different definitions of Epidemiology. For some, it is a toolkit, utilizing statistics and data to make inferences about populations. For others, it’s a set of methods. A definition we had to learn for class was “Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease, and disease related states, in a population.”

In short, we study who is getting sick, why they’re getting sick, how they get sick and what happens to them once they get sick. If you can think of a health problem or outcome, there’s an Epidemiologist studying it.

Above all: we are not skin doctors.

What am I going to do?

I’m going to do a number of things to illustrate what Epidemiology is – both in practice and in theory. I’ll be writing short entries with information about epidemiologic concepts, as well as critiquing articles I find interesting. I’ll also be writing about the graduate school “experience” and passing on articles about skills and any software useful for graduate students (time management, utilities I find helpful, stuff like that). If there’s anything you want to know, or things you would like to me to cover, or just stuff you find interesting and want to pass on, feel free to reply here, or send me a Tweet (@MrEpid – link on the right there).

The site will be going through some growing pains over the next few weeks/months as I develop my WordPress skills, so bear with me. If there are any design elements you think could be improved, feel free to let me know.

Finally: Does peanut butter and honey taste nearly as good as peanut butter and jelly?

No. It’s not even a fair fight. PBJ is so much better.