What is Applied Epidemiology?
Applied epidemiology is a term used frequently in public health, but how many people know what it actually means? It’s a hard question to answer. After all, from talking about eliminating the world’s population of mosquitoes to determining whether nutrition can play a factor in cancer, applied epidemiology is everywhere and yet rarely discussed, according to Forbes. Here’s what every citizen should know about this critical field.
Epidemiology is a scientific field that focuses on developing and researching probable public health concerns; applied epidemiology refers to the application of the practice of epidemiology to produce outcomes or research efforts designed to address public health issues. It is therefore considered to be a discipline ensconced in public health, an issue that is of great interest to every governmental. Epidemiologists are the professionals who work in the scientific field to research and develop specific efforts to influence the outcomes of such issues, such as the spread of infections or diseases among a population. In America, most applied epidemiologists work at the Centers for Disease Control and other government-controlled agencies to protect society as a whole.
More Than Just a Scientific Study
Applied epidemiology is more than just academic or scientific study; it is not a field that is regulated strictly to labs or experiments with no effect on societies in general. Instead, it is an actionable field that concerns a vast population, especially when viewed in terms of a nation or, in some cases, the world. It is a field in which scientists are just as important in the lab as they are in the field or as advocates. Those that study this field are critical to ensuring the health and vitality of a population, ensuring that any potential threat that can be eradicated never reaches the population that may be affected.
Examples of Applied Epidemiology
There are a variety of examples of applied epidemiology, especially when viewed as a national concern. One example is learning whether dietary differences between populations can increase or reduce the chance of a particular population developing cancer or another potentially terminal disease. Another example is analyzing historical data and trends in order to determine whether or not a population is benefitting from current public health resources; if not, then further study is needed to ensure the proper information is disseminated through proper means. One last example is designing and distributing an awareness campaign and studying whether or not that public health campaign has been useful to the population. There are more examples, but it suffices to say that applied epidemiology is at the heart of all public health policy.
Uses in Public Health
Public health is aided by applied epidemiology. In fact, this field is considered to be the most important factor for public health officials who are attempting to determine what information is necessary to give to their population. Because the United States is a large geographical area, certain public health factors influence some populations more than others; that’s where applied epidemiologists use their expertise. If one population is dealing with an increase in chemical factors based on the industry that is located in their region, the epidemiologists in that area will endeavor to discuss these factors at length with that population. This helps keep all populations safe and healthy, no matter what public health matter may concern them.
Very few people realize how much of their public health is affected by this field. Everything from public warnings about epidemics to nutrition information is aided by this field’s research. This primer on applied epidemiology will help private citizens understand the breadth and scope of the field as well as it’s importance on national public health; hopefully, the information will challenge those interested in the field to do further research.