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A PUB-540: Principles of Epidemiology course introduces epidemiological principles and methods to study, quantify, and assess the distribution and determinants of disease among populations. Learners examine the influence of biological and social factors on population health, including epigenetics, infectious disease, and foodborne illnesses. Learners evaluate epidemiologic study designs and apply measures of association as methods for determining relationships. Prerequisite: PUB-520 or PHN-600.
What is Epidemiology?
Epidemiology is the basic science of Preventive and Social Medicine. It can also be defined as the scientific discipline of public health to study diseases in the community to acquire knowledge for the health care of the society. Modern epidemiology is a vast subject. It has the following sub-categories:
- Infectious disease Epidemiology.
- Chronic Disease Epidemiology.
- Clinical Epidemiology.
- Genetic Epidemiology.
- Occupational Epidemiology.
- Cancer Epidemiology.
Epidemiological principles and methods can be used in Clinical research, Disease prevention, health promotion, health protection, and health services research. The results of epidemiological studies are also used by other scientists, including health economists, health policy analysts, and health services managers.
Importance of epidemiology.
- To eliminate or reduce the health problems of the community.
- To promote the health and well-being of society as a whole.
- Epidemiology helps to describe the distribution and magnitude of health and disease problems in the human population.
- To identify etiological factors (risk factors) in the pathogenesis of the disease.
- To provide data essential to the planning, implementation, and evaluation of services for the prevention, control, and treatment of disease and setting priorities among those services.
- Count health-related events.
- Epidemiology helps to describe the distribution of health-related events in the population.
- Identify risk factors for developing diseases.
- It helps identify causes or determinants of disease.
- Identify control and/or preventive measures.
- Establish priorities for allocating resources.
- Select interventions for prevention and control.
- Epidemiology helps to evaluate programs and to describe clinical patterns.
Basic principles of epidemiology.
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 (the number of events divided by the size of the population) is critical for making valid comparisons across different populations.
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 disease and opportunity for exposure to a microorganism, environmental toxin, insect vector, or another infected individual that may pose a risk for acquiring the disease.
Epidemiologists are concerned with the collective health of people in a community or other area and the impact of health events on that population.
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.