What Would a Structured Public Health Practitioner Education Look Like?

In the United States, if you want to become a physician, there is a structured way of going about it. You go to college to get an undergrad degree, preferably in some science field. From there, you apply to medical school after taking the MCAT. Once you get into a medical school, you do four years of it and then go into a residency program of some sort and of varying lengths based on what specialization you wish to pursue. At the end of that residency period, you can become board-certified in that specialization and you’re off to the races… Let’s not talk about the cost, though. Sure, there are some people who take a less “traditional” route into becoming a physician and go get a master’s degree before medical school because they didn’t do too well in their undergrad program. Or they go to a medical school outside the United States and then come back and take a series

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The Thing About Hotspots

No, I’m not talking about wifi hotspots that help you connect to the internet so you can watch cat videos. I’m talking about the symbology used on maps in order to emphasize an area (or areas) where there is a lot of something going on. For example, in infectious disease epidemiology, I might use a map to show where there are a lot of cases in a relatively small area, or where the number of cases observed has exceeded the number of cases expected. You know, something like this: This map was created using a geographic information system (GIS) and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It took incidence of deaths from heart disease and mapped them out, then broke down the data to show where there were increased levels of heart disease deaths, where there were the expected levels, and where there were the lower levels (aka “cold spots”). As you can see, Texas has a

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Epidemic Curves and Homicide Counts in Baltimore

One of the tools that we use in the investigation of outbreaks is the epidemic curve, or, as we say in the biz, the “epi curve.” An epidemic curve is a simple graphical representation of the number of cases per a unit of time over a span of time. For example, you could graph the number of new cases of diarrhea when you’re investigating an outbreak of cholera. You’d be able to see when the epidemic began, if it has peaked, and in which direction is it heading… Is it ending or continuing. Epi curves are also useful in helping epidemiologists understand what kind of outbreak they’re dealing with. For example, the epidemic curve below is a point source epidemic, where the source of the infection was one single source. The cases had one exposure to the causative agent, and the agent was somehow removed from the environment and did not cause any more cases. As you can see, the epidemic started

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Epidemiological Podcast S0E2: The Weight of the Evidence

On today’s podcast, I talk to you about a recent tragedy in our family and how it helped me understand anti-vaccine parents a little more. Not completely, but just enough to realize that there is very little in the way of a debate that one can have with them.

See, When people who don’t believe that vaccines save lives tell you that there is no evidence that vaccines are safe, they’re either misinformed or lying. On the flip side, when they tell you that there is evidence that vaccines cause autism, they’re either misinformed or lying again. There is plenty of evidence for both arguments out there, but only one set of “studies” pass the biological plausibility test (not to say anything about ethics).

However, because an injury (perceived or real) to a child triggers such a deep-seeded, primal reaction, it’s hard to be logical or reasonable. When parents see autism as death (when it’s not), their search for answers becomes chaotic and full of inferences that are misguided. Anti-vaccine people looking to make a buck take advantage of that, and then we’re off to the races on trying to stop further harm, encourage critical thinking, and have an actual debate based on facts.

In about 33 minutes, I tell you about the different kinds of studies out there, and I explain to you why we cannot do a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study like the antivaxxers want, but we’ve done plenty of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies in an ethical and scientific way.

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Epidemiological Podcast S0E1: The Perfect Epidemiological Surveillance System

Today, I thought I’d share with you a 15-minute presentation I gave in Mexico City last about two weeks ago. It was on a paper I wrote based off a previous blog post. I talk about what I imagine to be the perfect system for keeping track of the population’s health… That is, if money, technology, laws, and ethical considerations were not in the way of such things.

Yes, I’m giving the podcast a season and names. The first season runs from now until the end of the year and will be season zero, along with previous episodes. Kind of like “the lost season” if you will. Then, starting in 2018, I’ll have a first season of six podcasts with pre-planned topics and a little more preparation. You guys deserve it… And it’s a good way to be just creative enough to be doing something but not too busy to forget about the dissertation (which should be almost done when 2017 ends and 2018 begins).

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