What is epidemiology? Why is this important to community health? Provide an example of its importance from your community. According to “An Encyclopedia Britannica Company: Merriam-Webster Dictionary” (2013), “Epidemiology is a branch of medical science that deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population.” It is also considered “the sum of the factors controlling the presence or absence of a disease or pathogen.” Epidemiology is important to community health because it studies diseases within populations and communities, and allows us the opportunity to take proper steps to control them. As the text states there are a number of ways epidemiology affects communities, for example, studying the rates of cancers such as lung cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer.
Age is a huge factor, as it allows us to determine at what age certain diseases and illnesses occur or reappear. Certain cancers, illnesses, and diseases also affect different populations, so it is important to determine the population affected before studies can come into play. Perfect example, as stated in the text, is that cervical cancer only pertains to women, while prostate cancer only affects men. But lung cancer can affect both genders, and a variety of ages. (Riegelman, 2010) Any type of epidemic, from a flu, to a typical cold virus can also be determined and monitored through epidemiology. An epidemic is specific to one city, region or country, and an epidemic occurs when the number of people who become infected rises well beyond what is expected within a country or a part of a country. An example in my area right now is one of the common cold viruses that includes a sore, inflamed throat accompanied by a fever. Now that school is back in full swing, lots of germs are being shared and spread. My son, who is only 11 months old, caught it unfortunately.
It could have come from anywhere, so it’s hard to pinpoint. It merely has to run its course, but we are lucky it wasn’t something worse! An Encyclopedia Britannica Company: Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epidemiology Riegelman, R. K. (2010). Public health 101: Healthy People–Healthy Populations. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
1) What is the relationship between research- and evidence-based care? Provide an example from your experience that shows why this relationship is important. Evidence-based practice is “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.” (Sackett D, 1996) This means that the information a professional uses is based on sound research, not on an opinion. Typically, that means one must locate the best published research studies on the topic under inquiry.
The published article (sometimes in paper, but most often in electronic form) presents the actual research results so that we can see how the conclusions were reached. In addition, the researcher provides data to support those conclusions. According to “Medical Dictionary – The Free Dictionary” (2013), Research-based care is “the practice of health care in which the practitioner systematically finds, appraises, and uses the most current and valid research findings as the basis for clinical decisions. The term is sometimes used to denote evidence-based medicine specifically but can also include other specialties, such as evidence-based nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry.”
Examples of the differences between evidence-based versus research-based care in my personal life would be having a doctor who listens to my comments, thoughts, and concerns, and answers my questions in a manner that makes sense to me as a person, treating me with respect and as though I am another human being instead of just another chart or number. Being given different options instead of being faced with a doctor who has an I-know-what-is-best-trust-me-I’m-the-professional attitude is significant in health care.
Medical Dictionary – The Free Dictionary. (2013). Retrieved from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/evidence-based+practice Sackett, D. Evidence-based Medicine – What it is and what it isn’t. BMJ 1996; 312:71-72. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/312/7023/71