Thomas Songer (EPI ’86, ’90) is an assistant professor and the director of doctoral programs in the Department of Epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. Consistently one of the most highly rated teachers in the school, he is the primary instructor for graduate courses in injury epidemiology and injury prevention and control as well as the undergraduate Introduction to Research and Introduction to Epidemiology classes. Since 2007, Songer has been the primary instructor for the core course Principles of Epidemiology, which lays the foundation for epidemiology, research design, and critical evaluation of hypotheses based on valid methods and data and has guided the thinking of thousands of students as they embark on their public health studies.
Songer led the effort to develop the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program in epidemiology, which trains public health practitioners—many of whom have gone on to work at county and state health departments, the Department of Defense, and Federal Drug Administration. As a member of the department’s curriculum committee, Songer has documented competencies in the MPH and DrPH programs as described by national public health and epidemiology associations, created appropriate competencies for the MS and PhD programs, and ensured the coursework appropriately covers these competencies. Songer's research interests focus on applying epidemiologic methods to the evaluation of the economic, social, and health consequences of the opioid epidemic; youth-onset diabetes and obesity; and injuries. He examines the costs and benefits of interventions focused on opioid addiction and unintentional overdoses, childhood diabetes treatment, and diabetes prevention. Related to this work, Songer has served on several NIH and CDC review panels and a steering committee for the Injury Community Planning Group for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Finally, he has been an integral member of two groups setting the guidelines for training initiatives in injury and highway safety.
Songer received his MPH and PhD in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1986 and 1990 respectively.