Tag: #epidemiology

A Web-Based Application to Visualize Homicides in Baltimore City Between 2005 and 2017

“How many African American women were killed by firearm in the Cherry Hill Community Statistical Area of Baltimore in 2016?” None. I was able to answer this question for you quickly because I have a dataset on homicides in Baltimore between 2005 and 2017. The dataset is the result of data from 2005 to 2016 collected by The Baltimore Sun and…

R Programming and the New Epidemiologists

When I started working as an epidemiologist at a state health department, one of the most often used tools was the Microsoft Office Suite of programs. I used Excel for data analysis and visualization, Access to create and manage databases, Power Point to create presentations, and Word to create reports. Nevertheless, I’ve always been an early adopter when it comes…

EpiRen’s Journal Club: Firearm-Related Hospitalization and Risk of Bad Stuff Thereafter, in Washington State, Between 2006 and 2011

This study is pretty interesting… Researchers in Washington State took hospital records from 2006 and 2007 and found all the firearm-related hospitalizations (FRH) through diagnosis codes. They then matched those cases with hospitalized patients who were not hospitalized for FRH. They used frequency matching, which is one of the various types of matching you do when conducting a case-control or retrospective cohort…

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…

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…

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…

A new public health surveillance tool?

When my wife and I found out that we were going to be parents, we kind of freaked out a little. It wasn’t that we were not ready. We were, mostly. It’s just that we were aware that a little person would soon be joining us, and we would be responsible for their life. We had to keep them alive,…

When and Where Matter in Understanding Violence in Baltimore

If you been paying attention, Baltimore has been in the grip of an epidemic of violence going on two-plus years now. If you look closely at the crime statistics, you’ll see that there was an increase in the rate of homicides per day starting around March or April of 2015. The riots/uprising/call-it-what-you-will that happened at the end of April were,…

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.