Descriptive Epidemiology

HIV/AIDS was first recognized as an epidemic in the United States in 1981. At the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the life expectancy for infected persons was less than 7 years. Today, because of research and new treatment options, people who begin treatment soon after diagnosis can expect to live a nearly normal life span (Cairns, 2010). The HIV/AIDS epidemic was identified through descriptive epidemiology.

Descriptive epidemiologic studies are often conducted as precursors to analytic studies. Epidemiologic concepts are used to gather data to better understand and evaluate health trends in populations. Data such as characteristics of the persons affected, place where an incident occurred, and time of occurrence are collected and analyzed to look for patterns in an effort to identify emerging health problems. In this Discussion, you will apply the epidemiologic concepts of time, place, and person to a specific population health problem.

To prepare:

  • Consider      a variety of population health problems, and then select one on which to      focus for this Discussion.
  • Identify      a specific population affected by your selected health problem.
  • Research      the patterns of the disease in your selected population using the      epidemiologic characteristics of person, place, and time.
  • Explore      three to five data sources presented in the Learning Resources that could      aid you in describing the population and magnitude of the problem. Analyze      the strengths and limitations of each data source.
  • Consider      methods for obtaining raw data to determine the variables of person,      place, and time for your health problem. Ask yourself: How would the      methods I select influence the accuracy of case identification,      definition, and diagnosis?

By tomorrow Wednesday 03/07/18 by 4pm, write a minimum of 550 words in APA format with a minimum of THREE scholarly references from the list of required readings below. Include the level one headers as numbered below:

Post a cohesive response that addresses the following:

1) Evaluate your selected health problem in the population you identified by describing THREE to FIVE characteristics related to person, place, and time.

2) Appraise the data sources you utilized by outlining the strengths and limitations of each.

3) Discuss TWO methods you could use to collect raw data to determine the descriptive epidemiology of your health problem, determine how these methods would influence the completeness of case identification as well as the case definition/diagnostic criteria used.

Required Readings

Friis, R. H., & Sellers, T. A. (2014). Epidemiology for public health practice (5th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Chapter 3, “Measures of Morbidity and Mortality Used in Epidemiology”

Chapter 4, “Descriptive Epidemiology: Person, Place, Time”

Chapter 5, “Sources of Data for Use in Epidemiology”

Chapter 3 examines several measures of disease frequency that are typically utilized in epidemiology.

In Chapter 4, the authors address a basic premise of epidemiology: that disease occurs in patterns reflecting underlying factors (rather than occurring randomly). Using the tools introduced in Chapter 3, it is possible to take a more detailed look at the occurrence of disease, focusing on characteristics related to person, place, and time. This chapter also notes the distinction between descriptive versus analytic epidemiology; descriptive studies characterize the amount and distribution of disease within a population, whereas analytic epidemiology is concerned with the determinants of disease.

Chapter 5 provides information about various data sources that are available to the general public, and the authors examine some of the critical issues related to data collection and use that require careful attention.

Nash, D. B., Fabius, R. J., Skoufalos, A., Clarke, J. L. & Horowitz, M. R. (2016). Population health: Creating a culture of wellness (2nd ed). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Chapter 12, “Information Technology”

In this chapter, the authors examine the use of information technology, noting that research based on richer, more real-time data will inform policy decisions in all parts of the health care system. The challenge of integrating individual patient is mobile applications into the electronic health record are presented.

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012). Epidemiology and population health [Interactive media]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

“Descriptive Measures”

This presentation introduces you to the concept and calculation of important descriptive measures used in epidemiology—namely, incidence and prevalence. In addition, you will see how to use direct and indirect age-adjustment to compare mortality rates in two populations.

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