• Ozzie Paez

Epidemiology beyond pandemics

It’s only natural, in the shadows of COVID-19, for Epidemiology to become synonymous with the study and modeling of infectious diseases. It is much more than that. Epidemiology is a core science behind public health practices and policies. Epidemiologists travel the world to study, understand, and respond to social, environmental, and other factors affecting community health.



The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines epidemiology as:


“…the study (scientific, systematic, and data-driven) of the distribution (frequency, pattern) and determinants (causes, risk factors) of health-related states and events (not just diseases) in specified populations (neighborhood, school, city, state, country, global). It is also the application of this study to the control of health problems.”[1], [2]


Good data and information as indispensable components of epidemiology. They are also its biggest challenges because of limitations including comprehensiveness, quality, representativeness, and objectiveness. Field surveys, including observations, polling and interviews always include subjective biases that epidemiologists work hard to reconcile.

New innovative health monitoring technologies can deliver streams of data ideal for advanced analytical methods, including artificial intelligence.


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References

[1] What is epidemiology, referenced on 7/15/2021, https://www.cdc.gov/careerpaths/k12teacherroadmap/epidemiology.html

[2] Principles of Epidemiology, 3rd Edition

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