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Department of Epidemiology

Welcome to the Department of Epidemiology

Eva Schernhammer, MD, DrPH, MPH, MSc - Head of Department

The mission of the Department of Epidemiology is to improve the public’s health by training epidemiologists and by advancing knowledge concerning the causes and prevention of disease and the promotion of health.

Our department has a tradition of excellent teaching and innovative, interest-driven research in the epidemiology of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases, as well as in epidemiologic methodology. The department is young, dynamic, international, and collaborative, and continuously refocuses on a strong commitment to empower policy makers and individuals in making positive changes in the world of Public Health.

Goals of the Department

The goals of the Department of Epidemiology are to provide the highest quality education in epidemiology and train the next generation of epidemiologists, use epidemiological methods to investigate the etiology of diseases in human populations, translate epidemiologic research findings into clinical medicine, and develop approaches for applying the findings of epidemiologic research in the formulation of public policy. 

Research Areas of the Department

Students and Faculty in the Department of Epidemiology specialize in one of the following research areas:

  • Cancer Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention
  • Cardiovascular Epidemiology
  • Circadian Epidemiology
  • Clinical Epidemiology
  • Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
  • Epidemiology of Aging
  • Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • Molecular Pathology Epidemiology
  • Neuro-Psychiatric Epidemiology
  • Nutritional Epidemiology
  • Obesity Epidemiology and Prevention
  • Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Epidemiology
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences / Social Determinants

History of the Department

The Medical University of Vienna has a rich history of the application and development of epidemiology and related fields in social medicine. Today’s Department of Epidemiology evolved from the combined Sector Social Hygiene/Epidemiology within the Institute of Hygiene of the Medical University of Vienna.

In 1983, the Department of Epidemiology (initially “Department for Epidemiology of Neoplasms”) was founded. Its first chair was Prof. Karl Karrer (1983-1988), followed by Professor Christian Vutuc (1993-2011), and interimistically Assoc. Prof. Gerald Haidinger (2011-2015). In September 2015, Professor Eva Schernhammer became Head of the Department.

In 2004 The Center of Public Health was put into place, which combines several related departments, including the Department of Epidemiology, under its roof.

Milestones that have had an impact on the Department as it operates today include:

  • May 1974 | The Institute for Social Medicine (first chair: Prof. Kunze), based within the Institute for Hygiene (head: Prof. Flamm) at the Medical University of Vienna, Faculty of Medicine, is founded.
  • 1983 | Foundation of Department for Epidemiology of Neoplasms (head: Prof. Karrer), based in the Institute of Cancer Research at the University of Vienna, Faculty of Medicine.
  • 1993 | Department is renamed to “Department of Epidemiology”, chaired by Prof. Vutuc (1993-2011).
  • 2004 | Formation of Center for Public Health (as part of the now autonomous Medical University of Vienna) and integration of the Department of Epidemiology into the Center for Public Health
  • 2015 | Appointment of Eva Schernhammer as Chair of the Department of Epidemiology, and to become first Professor of Epidemiology in Austria.