Katrina Hedberg was in her fourth year of medical school in Oregon when one of the most elaborate, but little-known, acts of food bioterrorism in the United States occurred. "The religious cult led by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh had intentionally contaminated salad bars in The Dalles," says Hedberg. Hedberg was involved in efforts to track how salmonella sickened more than 700 people, and got hooked on public health and epidemiology. She's now Oregon's state epidemiologist.
Epidemiologists also might oversee programs designed to help improve the health of their patients, communities or state. Research epidemiologists work mostly at universities, and applied epidemiologists work in governments, and help prevent public health crises.
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