Introduction to Epidemiology and Population Health Essay Assignment
Imagine walking out of your home to a chaotic scene of disaster relief personnel dressed in hazmat suits. Hollywood has long played upon fears of a catastrophic epidemic with movies such as Outbreak (1995) and Contagion (2011). In films such as these, the protagonist races to identify the origin of a fast-spreading disease, determine the potential course of the outbreak, and develop a method to control the spread of harm. Although these films are designed to entertain, they show how epidemiologic methods can be used to analyze and control a health event that has the potential to debilitate a large population.
It is important to note, however, that epidemiology relates to more than just acute outbreaks of illness; it addresses many chronic population health problems that nurses and health care professionals deal with every day, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. This first week of the course introduces the principles of epidemiology, as well as how epidemiology is used to study and address population health problems. As a nurse engaged in advanced practice, it is essential that you understand these concepts and appreciate the importance of epidemiology.
This week, you will examine one of the great success stories of the application of epidemiology to improve population health: the eradication of smallpox. You use this historic example to explore current population health problems, and you will consider how epidemiologic principles can be applied to address them. Finally, you will begin to consider the cost effectiveness of addressing a health problem at the population level versus the individual level. Introduction to Epidemiology and Population Health Essay Assignment
- Apply principles of epidemiology to population health problems
- Evaluate cost effectiveness of population health care versus individual health care
Discussion: Epidemiology and Population Health
Reflect on your nursing practice for a moment. If you could wipe out one illness, what would it be? How would that impact not just an individual patient, but your entire patient population? What would be the long-term benefits of eliminating that one illness?
The eradication of smallpox by 1979 provides an excellent example of this scenario. This eradication came about as a result of global collaborative efforts involving many countries and organizations, as well as the application of epidemiologic methods. In spite of high initial financial costs, it is estimated that millions of dollars continue to be saved around the world each year as a result of the eradication of this disease.
The eradication of smallpox illustrates the rich history of epidemiology and demonstrates the cost/benefits and implications of improving health at the population level. The application of epidemiologic methods and principles to other critical population health issues continues to play an essential role in improving health and health outcomes.
For this Discussion, you will identify a current population health problem, and you will examine how, and if, the problem is being addressed through the application of epidemiologic principles. You will also discuss the cost-effectiveness of dealing with the problem at the population level. Introduction to Epidemiology and Population Health Essay Assignment
- Review the Learning Resources, focusing on the smallpox epidemic of the 1960s and 1970s and how health organizations applied principles of epidemiology to eradicate this disease.
- In light of this example, consider the cost effectiveness of addressing smallpox at the population level.
- Using the Learning Resources, research a current population health problem (local or global). Select one on which to focus for this Discussion.
- Think about how principles of epidemiology are being applied—or could be applied—to address the problem.
- What lessons from the use of epidemiology in the eradication of smallpox might be applicable to this selected problem? What are the financial benefits of addressing this issue at the population level as opposed to the individual level?
By Day 3
Post a cohesive response that addresses the following:
- Briefly summarize your selected population health problem and describe how principles of epidemiology are being applied—or could be applied—to address the problem.
- Are there any lessons learned from the use of epidemiology in the eradication of smallpox that can be applied to your selected problem?
- Evaluate the cost effectiveness of addressing this health problem at the population level versus the individual level.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.
By Day 6
Respond to at least two of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
(Make sure that you respond to at least one colleague who selected a population health problem different than the one you selected.)
- Ask a probing question, substantiated with additional background information, evidence or research.
- Share an insight from having read your colleagues’ postings, synthesizing the information to provide new perspectives.
- Offer and support an alternative perspective using readings from the classroom or from your own research in the Walden Library.
- Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
- Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.
- Expand on your colleagues’ postings by providing additional insights or contrasting perspectives based on readings and evidence. Introduction to Epidemiology and Population Health Essay Assignment