Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Discover the Biological Sciences

The introductory information for this site has been contributed as a joint assignment by students in Bio. Sci. 10.

Microbiology - Epidemiology

By: Name: Jessica Brown

1) Biological field or sub-topic chosen:

2) Define field or sub-topic:
Epidemiology is defined as “The study of populations in order to determine the frequency and distribution of disease and measure risks.” (1)

3) Describe in more detail the breath and depth of what could be studied or learned within this topic:

Epidemiology focuses on the spread of disease within a population. This includes implementing “educational programs, epidemiologic research, public service and policy development.” (2) The use of educational programs by epidemiologists helps to educate public health officials as well as the public to certain diseases and there means of transmission. Epidemiologic research aims to identify the means of transmission of infectious diseases, identify risk factors for chronic illnesses such as heart disease or cancer, and also to identify environmental risks for disease among a population. The epidemiologist’s role in public health is to alert and educate public health officials of new research findings and work to implement new more progressive health care policies concerning disease control.

4) Focusing on one major concept, principle, or group of organisms (as appropriate within the topic), describe its importance, relationships, functional aspects, or otherwise explain it in more depth as seems important to you and (potentially) the others in class:

Since AIDS was first identified it has spread throughout the world creating a pandemic that has spread to almost every continent. Epidemiologists play a major role in slowing the spread of this highly infectious disease. Epidemiologists identify high risk populations for the disease, and working with public health officials on education and prevention among risk groups. Epidemiologists work closely with public health officials and researchers to promote “surveillance, research, and prevention of infectious diseases.”(3)

5) In studying and discovering more about this topic, what was the most interesting aspect, fact or some other piece of information that you have learned.
I was not aware that epidemiologist field of study focuses on the spread of all diseases, not just infectious diseases. Epidemiology has sub-fields that focus on cancer, heart disease, environmental risks for disease, and genetic diseases. I had no idea how vast an epidemiologist’s area of study was.

6) References – provide references used and at least two Web sites with additional information on this topic (or sub-topic) for anyone that would like to learn more:

1. "Definition of Epidemiology." Medicine Net. 27 Jan 2008 <>.
2. "Department of Public Health Sciences." UCD. November 2007. UCD Department of Medicine. 27 Jan 2008 < >.
3. "The National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases (NCPDCID)." Center for Disease Control. 27 Jan 2008 < >.

2. hw1 - discover biosci.doc

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