NURS 8310 Assignments Epidemiology And Population Health Papers

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health or disease in populations to respond to and control health problems.

The Epidemiology and Population Health Department provides training in quantitative methods, which can be used to understand population health needs and the patterns and etiology of disease, as well as to evaluate health interventions in the community. It also offers courses in methods of epidemiological surveillance and in methods of research design, data collection, analysis, as well as courses in population theory and methods of analysis that examine the link between health and population concerns.

Epidemiology is the study of disease in populations. Veterinarians and others involved in the preventive medicine and public health professions use epidemiological methods for disease surveillance, outbreak investigation, and observational studies to identify risk factors of zoonotic disease in both human and animal populations. Knowledge of these risk factors is used to direct further research investigation and to implement disease control measures. 

The use of hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) systems depends greatly on information produced by epidemiological studies. Epidemiological methods are used for disease surveillance to identify which hazards are the most important. Epidemiological studies are also used to identify risk factors which may represent critical control points in the food production system.

Introduction To Epidemiology And Public Health

On an almost daily basis, people read or hear about new drug discoveries and adverse reactions supposedly caused by drugs on the market. Sometimes panic sets in because a drug seems to be responsible for the death of some of its users, but how can people evaluate what they read and hear? How are adverse reactions and side effects studied and measured? How are a drug’s beneficial effects determined? To answer these questions and many others about medications and drugs used in society, data and information are gathered and analyzed through pharmacological study.

In this book, the principles and practice of psychopharmacology are presented and discussed in the contexts of epidemiology and public health. In an attempt to prevent or reduce the occurrence of disease, public health professionals realized a scientific method was needed to assess diseases and their causes. In essence, they needed to develop a logical, standard approach to counting events (e.g. births, deaths, disease) and calculating results from the data.

The field of epidemiology was born in the 19th century to address this need. In the latter half of the 20th century, epidemiologists applied the basic principles of their discipline to study the occurrence of drug use and associated problems. Thus, at the foundation of psychopharmacology is epidemiology.

In this chapter, the basic aspects of epidemiology and public health are introduced as the basis for understanding psychopharmacology. The host–agent–environment model is presented as the guide to comprehending disease occurrence and transmission in a population.

Whereas epidemiology is the study of disease occurrence and transmission in a human population, epidemiological studies focus on the distribution and determinants of disease. Epidemiology may also be considered the method of public health—a scientific approach to studying disease and health problems. Epidemiology consists of research methods and specific strategies for counting and calculating the occurrence and risk of disease. 

Therefore, epidemiological studies of drug use employ these methods and statistical measures to study the occurrence and distribution of drug use and its associated problems. Examples of epidemiology applied to drug use include adverse drug reaction reporting, post marketing surveillance studies, and clinical drug trials.

One major difference between the clinician’s and the epidemiologist’s perspective is the focus on individual patients versus the population at large. For example, health professionals are educated to focus on individual patient problems, and pharmacists are trained to consider individual patient variability in response to drug therapy. The focus in both of these areas in health care emphasizes interactions with individual patients. 

Health professionals sometimes assume that if their patient has a problem with a drug, then many other patients also have the same problem. This assumption may be flawed because the nature and extent of the problem in other patients cannot be known by these health professionals. Only by studying large groups of people (ie, populations) can the magnitude and reasons for a problem be determined.

Epidemiology is the study of those factors affecting the health of a given population. Public Health is the management of those factors. Together, they act as a concept known as preventive medicine.

The work of communicable and non-communicable disease epidemiologists ranges from outbreak investigation to study design, data collection and analysis including the development of statistical models to test hypotheses and the documentation of results for submission to peer-reviewed journals. Epidemiologists may draw on a number of other scientific disciplines such as biology in understanding disease processes and social science disciplines including sociology and philosophy in order to better understand proximate and distal risk factors.

The goal of public health is to improve lives through the prevention or treatment of disease. The United Nations’ World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” In 1920, C.E.A. Winslow defined public health as “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals.”

The public-health approach can be applied to a population of just a handful of people or to the whole human population. Public health is typically divided into Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Health services. Environmental, Social, Behavioral, and Occupational health are also important sub fields.

The Role Of Epidemiology In Chronic Disease Prevention And Health Promotion Programs.

Although the role for epidemiology is widely accepted in public health programs in general, its role in chronic disease programs is not as widely recognized. One possible barrier to improving epidemiological capacity in chronic disease prevention and health promotion programs is that chronic disease program managers and public health decision makers may have a limited understanding of basic chronic disease epidemiology functions. 

We describe the assessment process of data collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination, and, using examples from two states, illustrate how this approach can be used to support program and policy development in three areas: by defining the problem, finding programs that work, and evaluating the effects of the program over time. Given the significant burden of chronic diseases in the United States, the scientific guidance provided by epidemiology is essential to help public health leaders identify priorities and intervene with evidence-based and effective prevention and control programs.

Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where) and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations.

It is the cornerstone of public health, and shapes policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare. Epidemiologists help with study design, collection, and statistical analysis of data, amend interpretation and dissemination of results (including peer review and occasional systematic review). Epidemiology has helped develop methodology used in clinical research, public health studies, and, to a lesser extent, basic research in the biological sciences.[1]

Major areas of epidemiological study include disease causation, transmission, outbreak investigation, disease surveillance, environmental epidemiology, forensic epidemiology, occupational epidemiology, screening, bio monitoring, and comparisons of treatment effects such as in clinical trials. Epidemiologists rely on other scientific disciplines like biology to better understand disease processes, statistics to make efficient use of the data and draw appropriate conclusions, social sciences to better understand proximate and distal causes, and engineering for exposure assessment.

Epidemiology Epidemiology, literally meaning “the study of what is upon the people”, is derived from Greek, Modern epi, meaning ‘upon, among’, demos, meaning ‘people, district’, and logos, meaning ‘study, word, discourse’, suggesting that it applies only to human populations. However, the term is widely used in studies of zoological populations (veterinary epidemiology), although the term “epi zoology” is available, and it has also been applied to studies of plant populations (botanical or plant disease epidemiology).[2]

The distinction between “epidemic” and “endemic” was first drawn by Hippocrates,[3] to distinguish between diseases that are “visited upon” a population (epidemic) from those that “reside within” a population (endemic).[4] The term “epidemiology” appears to have first been used to describe the study of epidemics in 1802 by the Spanish physician Villalba in Epidemiología Española.[4] Epidemiologists also study the interaction of diseases in a population, a condition known as a endemic.

The term epidemiology is now widely applied to cover the description and causation of not only epidemic disease, but of disease in general, and even many non-disease, health-related conditions, such as high blood pressure and obesity. Therefore, this epidemiology is based upon how the pattern of the disease causes change in the function of everyone.

Principles Of Epidemiology

Public health workers use epidemiological principles as the foundation for disease surveillance and investigation activities.

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations, and the application of this study to the control of health problems.

Every public health worker should be familiar with the basic principles in this definition and how they are useful.

  • Distribution – Epidemiology is concerned with the frequency and pattern of health events in a population. Frequency includes not only the number of events in a population, but also the rate or risk of disease in the population. Determining the rate of disease occurrences (number of events divided by size of the population) is critical for making valid comparisons across different populations.
  • Determinants – Epidemiology is also used to search for causes and other factors that influence the occurrence of health-related events. The occurrence of a health-related event is usually related to multiple determinants that should be considered. Examples of determinants include host susceptibility to a disease, and opportunity for exposure to a microorganism, environmental toxin, insect vector or other infected individual that may pose a risk for acquiring disease.
  • Specified populations – Epidemiologists are concerned with the collective health of people in a community or other area and the impact of health events on that population.
  • Application – Epidemiology provides data for directing public health action. An epidemiologist uses the scientific methods of descriptive and analytic epidemiology in “diagnosing” the health of a community, but also must call upon experience and creativity when planning how to control and prevent disease in the community. Disease surveillance usually begins with descriptive epidemiology — defining the what, who, when and where of health-related events.
  • what – Define the disease events and/or its determinants
  • who – Descriptions of demographic characteristics are helpful in determining which groups are at risk for some outcome. The demographic characteristics usually include age, sex and race/ethnicity. Other categories include socioeconomic status, history of occupation, or smoking habits, which provide useful information about exposures that may present a risk. A history of underlying diseases may be useful for determining susceptibility to certain conditions.
  • when – Following changes in disease rates over time, following long-term disease trends and knowledge of the seasonality of certain diseases helps identify unusual occurrences that may define epidemics. Temporal associations between particular exposures on illness give information about incubation periods and exposures posing a risk to others.
  • where – Insight into the geographical extent of health-related events gives an idea of where the agent that causes a disease normally lives and multiplies, what may carry or transmit it and how it spreads.

The Primary Applications of Epidemiology in Public Health

To set policy and plan programs, public health officials must assess the health of the population they serve and must determine whether health services are available, accessible, effective and efficient. Epidemiology provides data for directing public health action. The information is used when planning how to control and prevent disease in the community. Through public health surveillance, a health organization systematically collects, analyzes, interprets and disseminates health data on an ongoing basis. By knowing the ongoing pattern of disease occurrence and disease potential, a health agency can effectively and efficiently investigate, prevent and control disease in the community.

Uses of Epidemiology

  • Count health-related events
  • Describe the distribution of health-related events in the population
  • Describe clinical patterns
  • Identify risk factors for developing diseases
  • Identify causes or determinants of disease
  • Identify control and/or preventive measures
  • Establish priorities for allocating resources
  • Select interventions for prevention and control
  • Evaluate programs
  • Conduct research
    • risk factors and causes
    • drug trials / vaccine trials
    • operational research