biostatistics public health meaning

What is Biostatistics in Regard to Public Health?

Biostatistics is the application of statistics to the study of biology. Biostatistics is also sometimes referred to as biometry. Biostatistics is vital to so many aspects of medical sciences, including genetics, pharmaceuticals, neuroscience, environmental health, genomics, and more. Here, we’re going to focus on what biostatistics means in public health, and why becoming a biostatistician is such an excellent professional prospect.

What is a Biostatistician?

A biostatistician is a data scientist who focuses on studies relevant to the advancement of public health. Becoming a biostatistician is a possible outcome with a master’s degree in Public Health (MPH). A bachelor’s degree and advanced mathematics, computer science, biology, and of course, statistics, are all precursors to becoming a biostatistician. A master’s degree curriculum, however, builds on these foundational subjects with classes in biostatistics, research methods, and epidemiology—providing aspiring biostatisticians with the skills they need to qualify for top jobs in this field.


Looking to specialize in biostatistics and gain a more advanced understanding of its relationship to public health? Learn more about earning your Master’s in Public Health at Goodwin University!


Why Use Biostatistics in Public Health Ventures?

The purpose of applying biostatistics to public health is so that healthcare administrators, researchers, health scientists, policymakers, program managers, and other healthcare leaders can have the data needed to make decisions. Why is data convincing? There are so many reasons:

  • Biostatistical data is persuasive.

Numbers speak, in every industry. The visionary thinkers at the helm of all types of businesses and organizations may conjure grand ideas. Yet, new ideas must be examined for operational viability. Data must be collected to inform whether it is possible to make that new acquisition, prototype that new tool, or hire aggressively. In public health, biostatistics helps to draw guardrails around project scopes and methodology, and informs all the logistical choices around new initiatives, such as test subjects, budgets, and ultimately, their potential for scientific influence on the public health field.

  • Biostatistical studies are examined for bias.

You are only as good as your data. Public health is a field that takes equitability seriously. The discipline is committed to increasing access and education around public health, and these same principles govern biostatistical data collection processes. Bias in data leads to unfair conclusions. Luckily, public health professionals are trained to design fairly and objectively vet experiments for potential bias.

  • Biostatistical data must be anonymized and safeguarded.

Biostatistical researchers are obligated to protect their data subjects. For public health data to be stored, analyzed, and published, the personal information collected must be anonymized and kept safe. Now more than ever, unsecured personal information, particularly biometrics, represents a risk to both the organization storing the data, as well as to the individual. Removal of PII is a necessity.

Now that you understand how biostatistics makes a difference in science, we can discuss the biostatistician job.

What Does a Biostatistician Do?

As integral members of the public health discipline, biostatisticians may analyze cancer and infectious disease treatment, partner with environmental and occupational health science groups, or use their research to assist governments, healthcare centers, and non-profits. Their work contributes to clinical trials. They may conduct epidemiological research studies, work on genome sequencing to discover disease variants, support public health programs, and peer-review the work of other researchers. They may work in laboratories, offices, universities, private research foundations, or for the government.

On any day in the life of a biostatistician, they might be found collecting data in the field, such as distributing surveys or combing through files such as medical records and disease databases. Classifying, analyzing, and interpreting the data are important steps the biostatistician takes to prepare their findings. Biometry scientists remain invested in the impact of their data, because it may influence and change the course of a health care initiative, community intervention, or new trial.
Working in public health is never a solo endeavor, and a biostatistician may need to collaborate with local community centers, government agencies, businesses, education facilities, correctional facilities, hospitals, other healthcare spaces, laboratories and libraries, to do their job. Biostatisticians use information processing and statistical analysis tools and software, and spend a lot of time at a computer, crunching data samples, and presenting data to inform studies. Biostatisticians should have excellent communication and problem-solving skills, think critically, and work well autonomously.

What is the Biostatistician Salary and Job Outlook?

Biostatisticians fit into the scientific research category of statisticians, and make, on average, $122,600 annually. The scientific research industry also represents the highest concentration and levels of employment of all statisticians, followed by the federal government. The most stunning news is that statisticians in Bridgeport, Stamford, and Norwalk, Connecticut, are the highest paid of all metropolitan areas nationwide, with an annual mean wage of $176,420 annually.

Between 2021 and 2031, the employment of statisticians is expected to grow by 33%, or much faster than average for all occupations. The industry anticipates a continued demand for data analytics, interpretation, and storage. This need is found not just in business and government, but also in healthcare. The job outlook for statisticians is superb.

How Does Biostatistical Data Make a Difference in Public Health?

Biostatisticians have the power to contribute to preventing new epidemics and pandemic disease spread. Their work may change lives, as new data informs treatments and medicine, and expands the knowledge of fellow healthcare practitioners. In addition, biostatisticians might increase the affordability of treatments, bringing health within reach for the economically disadvantaged. They might be involved in data collection and analysis that will impact clinical trials, new treatments, or treatment program amendments.

Now that you understand the meaning of biostatistics in public health, ask yourself what biostatistics can mean for you. Discover how a master’s degree in Public Health can prepare you for a meaningful and impactful career as a biostatistician! Call Goodwin University today at 800-889-3282 to learn more.