PurposeTo identify macro-level trends that are changing the needs of epidemiologic research and practice and to develop and disseminate a set of competencies and recommendations for epidemiologic training that will be responsive to these changing needs.
MethodsThere were three stages to the project: (1) assembling of a working group of senior epidemiologists from multiple sectors, (2) identifying relevant literature, and (3) conducting key informant interviews with 15 experienced epidemiologists.
ResultsTwelve macro trends were identified along with associated actions for the field and educational competencies. The macro trends include the following: (1) "Big Data" or informatics, (2) the changing health communication environment, (3) the Affordable Care Act or health care system reform, (4) shifting demographics, (5) globalization, (6) emerging high-throughput technologies (omics), (7) a greater focus on accountability, (8) privacy changes, (9) a greater focus on "upstream" causes of disease, (10) the emergence of translational sciences, (11) the growing centrality of team and transdisciplinary science, and (12) the evolving funding environment.
ConclusionsAddressing these issues through curricular change is needed to allow the field of epidemiology to more fully reach and sustain its full potential to benefit population health and remain a scientific discipline that makes critical contributions toward ensuring clinical, social, and population health.