U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Environmental Factor

Environmental Factor

Your Online Source for NIEHS News

February 2023

Epidemiology named best science job for 2023

Dale Sandler, Ph.D., weighs in on epidemiology as a career in the latest U.S. News and World Report annual “Best Jobs” report.

The annual U.S. News and World Report Best Jobs report is out and this year’s No.1 science job is epidemiology. Epidemiology is a medical science that investigates all the factors that determine the presence or absence of diseases and disorders in populations. The report featured NIEHS Epidemiology Branch Chief and Senior Investigator Dale Sandler, Ph.D. She weighed in on what it is like to work as an epidemiologist.

Dale Sandler, Ph.D.
Sandler was selected by U.S. News and World Report to represent epidemiology as the No. 1 “Best Job” in science in 2023. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw / NIEHS)

“The thing about epidemiology is it’s a career that can go in many different directions,” Sandler told U.S. News. She explained that epidemiologists work in hospitals and practice infection control, and they work for governmental agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track outbreaks of infectious or noninfectious illnesses, develop vaccines, and help eradicate diseases. She also explained that they study non-infectious disease and mentioned her work in large population cohorts.

Epidemiology at NIEHS

The NIEHS Epidemiology Branch is made up of eight epidemiology research groups led by intramural scientists.

Sandler leads the Chronic Disease Epidemiology Group.

NIEHS epidemiological studies

Among their work, NIEHS intramural scientists lead numerous long-term prospective epidemiological studies.

  • Sister Study
    The Sister Study is a prospective cohort study examining the environmental and genetic risk factors for breast cancer and other diseases among 50,884 sisters of women who have had breast cancer. The Sister Study will commemorate its 20th anniversary in October.
  • The GuLF Study
    The Gulf Long-term Follow-up Study investigates potential health effects associated with response and clean-up activities following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly 33,000 individuals who performed oil spill related work or received safety training but did not participate in the oil spill response are enrolled in the study.
  • Agricultural Health Study
    The Agricultural Health Study is a collaboration among NIEHS, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow a prospective study cohort of licensed pesticide applicators and their spouses from North Carolina and Iowa, all of whom were recruited in 1993-1997.
  • SELF Study
    The Study of the Environment, Lifestyle, and Fibroids follows 1,700 participants to better understand uterine fibroids, follow fibroid growth, identify risk factors for fibroid development, and develop less invasive treatment interventions.

Visit the Studies page for a full list of NIEHS epidemiological studies.

NIEHS resources for epidemiologists

NIEHS offers various resources for epidemiologists, too.

“The NIEHS Epidemiology Branch is the ‘crown jewel’ of our intramural research program,” said NIEHS Scientific Director Darryl Zeldin, M.D. “NIEHS epidemiologists enhance the public health relevance of our work by helping us translate our basic and clinical research findings to human populations in addition to the primary data that they generate from their large prospective cohort studies and novel hypotheses. Their ability to go from lab bench to population and back again is a major strength of our intramural program.”

U.S. News ranks jobs by calculating seven component measures: 10-year growth volume, 10-year growth percentage, median salary, employment rate, future job prospects, stress level, and work-life balance. See 2023 Best Jobs report for the full article.

(Jennifer Harker, Ph.D., is a technical writer-editor in the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.)

Back To Top