Broadly speaking, epidemiology is a branch of medicine that focuses on the patterns and causes of disease. Hence, epidemiologists could be described as, “scientists who study the causes of disease in populations, how diseases spread, and what puts people at risk.” (Seltzer, 2016 p. 24). In the past, epidemiologists typically worked with infectious disease, since it was the most common cause of death in the United States. Since then, the detection and treatment of infectious disease has gotten more advanced, so less work is required in that area. Today, epidemiologists focus more on chronic disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease or cancer. They work to determine genetic or environmental risk factors that predispose a person to chronic diseases. Either way, the work of the epidemiologist is based heavily on research and observation.
Usually, epidemiologists will utilize both quantitative and qualitative analysis to study disease, a process known as epidemiologic investigation. The first notable case of epidemiologic investigation occurred in London in 1854. A British ...
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...c disease. Without epidemiologists, infectious diseases would continue to spread uncontrollably. If epidemiologists did not expose the dangers of smoking, instances of chronic diseases such as cancer and lung disease would continue to rise. Epidemiologists can also help with acts of bioterrorism. This has become significantly important since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Public health workers see this attack, “as an opportunity to raise awareness of our mission among the American public: to protect health, promote healthy behaviors, strengthen community prevention and ensure access to quality health care for all.” (DeBuono & Tilson, 2002 p. 5). If an act of bioterrorism were to arise, the epidemiologists would help find the source and control the attack. Overall, epidemiologists are vital to not only the public health system, but to the country as a whole.
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