Discussion: Epidemiology and Population Health

NURS 8310 Discussion: Epidemiology and Population Health

Discussion: Epidemiology and Population Health

Epidemiology entails the study of distribution and determinants of health-related events or states such as disease and applying this study to manage the disease and other health issues (Evensen, 2019). As an NP, the place I work, patients suffer from different health conditions like obesity, coronary artery disease, kidney failure, and uncontrolled hypertension. Diabetes mellitus is another major comorbidity that needs to be addressed. According to the World Health Organization, the number of diabetes patients has increased since 1980 from 108 million to 488 million in 2014. Most of the patients are in the lower and middle classes (Evensen, 2019). In addition, diabetes-related deaths are estimated to be 1.5 million annually.  Public awareness is encouraged to lower the number of diabetes cases (Friis & Sellers, 2021). The public should be educated about complications related to diabetes like blindness, kidney damage, stroke, and heart disease. Prevention is also possible through ensuring a healthy weight, exercise, and healthy diet.

After reading the Smallpox Eradication Programme, I realized the primary emphasis was on a worldwide scale and involved collaborations from countries across the globe (Center for Global Development, 2012). Diabetes mellitus affects people globally, and awareness should be based on a global approach. Diabetes is a global problem, and just like the smallpox issue, it would require collaborations among nations to bring awareness and minimize the number of patients diagnosed annually.

In 2012, the United States center for disease control estimated $245 billion in medical-related diabetes costs. Such costs relate to medical services and goods, and indirect costs like early death, disability, and lost workdays (Center for Global Development, 2012). Minimizing the prevalence in the population may drastically plummet annual costs for individuals, insurance companies, and health care facilities. Bringing awareness to people would be ineffective; however, addressing the health issues as a population would prove more effective.


Center for Global Development. (n.d.). Case 1: Eradicating smallpox.


Evensen, E. K. (2019). Overweight/obesity, body composition and bone mass in late adolescence: the relation with birth weight, childhood body mass index and growth. The Tromsø Study: Fit Futures, a longitudinal cohort study. Fit Futures. https://munin.uit.no/handle/10037/14589

Friis, R. H., & Sellers, T. A. (2021). Epidemiology for public health practice (6th ed.). Jones

& Bartlett.

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Brief Summary of Selected Population Health Problem

     The concept of population health is seeking to reveal patterns among multiple systems and develop approaches that respond to

Discussion Epidemiology and Population Health

Discussion Epidemiology and Population Health

the needs of populations using rigorous analysis of outcomes to prevent reoccurrence in the future (Nash et al., 2019). Dementia is

one of the most devastating diseases affecting Americans in the United States (U.S.). Death rates for cancer and heart disease are

declining, while death rates for Alzheimer’s disease are increasing, even with many of these deaths being under-reported on death

certificates (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], n.d.).

     It is estimated that more than 5 million Americans 65 years or older are living with dementia, and by 2060 the number will have

grown to 13.9 million (American Pubic Health Association [APHA], 2020). The sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. is Alzheimer’s

disease, accounting for 60% to 80% of all dementia cases (APHA, 2020). Dementia affects the person living with the disease and their

family members, who are frequently their caregivers.

Applying the principles of Epidemiology  

     Despite the many challenges to reducing the impact of dementia worldwide, translating research findings into customizing policy

and practice approaches has great potential to transform dementia prevention (Sexton & Yaffe, 2019). Applying four of the seven uses

of epidemiology would be valuable in studying patients with dementia. For instance, searching for the cause, identifying the

syndromes, and accessing health services are beneficial concepts in eradicating dementia in the future.

Lesson learned from the Eradication of Smallpox

     Like smallpox in this week’s discussion example, dementia is a global phenomenon affecting millions of lives internationally.

Globally in 2018, an estimated 50 million people were living with dementia, with an expected 152 million by 2050, which is an increase

of 204% (Alzheimer’s Research UK, 2018). The financial burden on a nation’s economy has a similar effect as the smallpox outbreak.

Cost-Effectiveness of Population-Level vs. Individual Level of Dementia

     When looking at the cost-effectiveness of dementia patients at the population and individual levels, the amounts are staggering. In

2020, the total cost of caring for a dementia patient cost approximately $305 billion, with Medicare and Medicaid covering about $206

billion of this cost (APHA, 2020). Families’ out-of-pocket expenses in 2020, amounting to about $66 billion, and by 2050 an increase of

more than $1.1 trillion annually is expected, raising public and private costs (APHA, 2020). In caring for the dementia population there

is no cost saving to the nation or families, so finding an alternative method to care or a cure is essential.


Alzheimer’s Research UK. (2018). Global prevalence. https://www.dementiastatistics.org/statistics/global-prevalence/

American Pubic Health Association. (2020, October 24). Strengthening the dementia care workforce: A public health priority. https://www.apha.org/Policies-and-Advocacy/Public-Health-Policy-Statements/Policy-Database/2021/01/13/Strengthening-the-Dementia-Care-Workforce

American Public Health Association. (2020, October 24). Strengthening the dementia care workforce: A public health priority. https://www.apha.org/Policies-and-Advocacy/Public-Health-Policy-Statements/Policy-Database/2021/01/13/Strengthening-the-Dementia-Care-Workforce

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Retrieved 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/aging/aginginfo/alzheimers.htm#what-to-do

Nash, D. B., Skoufalos, A., Fabius, R. J., & Oglesby, W. H. (2019). Population health: Creating a culture of wellness (3rd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning. https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781284205367/cfi/6/2!

Sexton, C. E., & Yaffe, K. (2019). Population-based approaches to dementia prevention. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 70(s1), S15–S17. https://doi.org/10.3233/jad-190104

RE: Week 1: Main Discussion- Epidemiology and Population Health


Thank you for your insightful post. You make a very important point about the importance of recognizing diabetes and the importance of managing it effectively. In a very interesting article by Schultze et al. (2019), the authors had nursing students use virtual reality simulations to assess nursing students’ ability to interview and educate patients with diabetes. The results were that older nursing students asked fewer questions, but provided more education and empathy than younger students. Additionally, Casagrande et al. (2018), point out that ethnic minorities are less likely to be diagnosed than Caucasians. These points combined reinforce your statement about the need to raise awareness.  It may also give us insight into a population that needs to be targeted and techniques that should d be deployed for effective screening.


Casagrande, S. S., Menke, A., Aviles-Santa, L., Gallo, L. C., Daviglus, M. L., Talavera, G. A., Castañeda, S. F., Perreira, K., Loop, M. S., Tarraf, W., González, H. M., & Cowie, C. C. (2018). Factors associated with undiagnosed diabetes among adults with diabetes: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice146, 258–266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diabres.2018.11.004


Schultze, S. R., Mujica, F. C., & Kleinheksel, A. J. (2019). Demographic and spatial trends in diabetes-related virtual nursing examinations. Social Science & Medicine222, 225–230. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.01.002


Discussion: Epidemiology and Population Health



According to Laureate Education (Producer). (2012), the term epidemiology refers to the study of the distribution and the determinants of health-related states and events in a specified population, and how it can be applied to curb health issues.

Population Health Problem and How the Principles of Epidemiology Can Be Applied to Address the Same

COVID -19 is a current health problem which has been reported globally. It was first reported in Wuhan, China as a unique and unexplained cases of pneumonia, novel corona virus disease (Friis & Sellers, 2021). The World Health Organization in the quest to contain the issue came up with stringent health measures which was adopted globally in order to curb the spread of the pandemic (Excite, 2004). It is claimed that, it’s widespread outbreaks is associated with psychological distress and symptoms of mental illness which poses a threat.

The principles of epidemiology have been used essentially in the fight against COVID-19 across the world. It has facilitated for the study process of how the disease spread, it’s cause, respond measures and the containment strategies (Nash, et al., 2021). Through it, data of the infection rate and deaths are analyzed and possible projections made based on the studies that model the virus’s spread. Hence, viable and valid decisions and policies are set up and adopted globally (Center for Global Development, n.d.). For instance, locking down countries, imposing quarantines, mandating social distancing and mask-wearing are common containment measures and strategies that were incorporated globally in the quest to control and curb the spread of the pandemic (Excite, 2004).

Lessons learned from the use of epidemiology in the eradication of smallpox that can be applied in eradicating COVID-19

Notably, to eradicate a disease calls for a combined responsibility of all the parties involved in the care sector, as seen from how the smallpox was managed (Nash, et al., 2021).  It is eminent that, the most paramount approach is to first ensure that we live in a very hygienic condition, the environment we dwell in should always be ensured neat and germ free (Laureate Education (Producer), 2012).

Additionally, there should be no or minimal exposure to airborne microbes, this can be attained by avoiding crowded spaces as well as ensuring that all living rooms have enough space for the occupants. Moreover, water for drinking should be ensured safe and fit for human consumption (Center for Global Development, n.d.). All the containment measures put in place by WHO should be fully adhered. Smallpox had posed a global threat, but measures put in place were fully implemented and incorporated as well as executed at all levels, leading to the containment and eradication of the disease which looked detrimental and formidable nut to crack (Nash, et al., 2021).

Concurrently, COVID-19 can possibly be eradicated only if the due and diligent containment procedures are executed and followed with proper vaccination approaches put in place. Change is inevitable, thus the problem posed by the disease can be countered by adopting a unique lifestyle such as the containment measures (Friis & Sellers, 2021).

Cost Effectiveness of Addressing COVID-19 At Population Level Versus at The Individual Level

The cost of mitigating the spread and control of the health problem is far much costly at population level compared to individual level. It is more efficient to curb the spread of the disease at a personal level than letting it to carelessly spread out to the entire population (Excite, 2004). The government is always concern and reminds it’s citizens to adhere the essential measures and report any impending health threat (Center for Global Development, n.d.). A lot of funds have been channeled to educating the mass on the importance of observing the laid down procedures of mitigating the disease and the need to receive the vaccine (Nash, et al., 2021).


Center for Global Development. (n.d.). Case 1: Eradicating smallpox. Retrieved March 5, 2012, from http://www.cgdev.org/doc/millions/MS_case_1.pdf

Excite. (2004). An introduction to epidemiology. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/excite/classroom/intro_epi.htm

Friis, R. H., & Sellers, T. A. (2021). Epidemiology for public health practice (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012). Epidemiology and population health: Epidemiology in nursing practice [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Nash, D. B., Skoufalos, A., Fabius, R. J. & Oglesby, W. H.  (2021). Optimistic culture for healthCare: Population health from philosophy to practice. In Population health: Creating a culture of wellness (3rd ed., pp. xviii–xxxii). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Week 1 Discussion

Epidemiology and Population Health

A current health population problem is malaria. It is an illness resulting from a protozoan attack by the Protozoan species Plasmodium vivaxP. ovaleP. malariae, P. falciparum, and P. knowlesi. It is sometimes terminal and affects humans and animals.

Application of principles of epidemiology

The employment of epidemiological principles has been used in combating malaria. Firstly, its means of spreading was deduced and is being limited. It is spread by the female anopheles mosquito and rarely through blood transfusion. Similarly, its symptoms have been documented to allow quick diagnoses (Schoepke, Steffen & Gratz, 1998). These include headaches, joint aches, sweating and fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, shivering, and full-body chills (Tangpukdee et al., 2009). A cure was then developed for the disease. This has lowered fatality rates, but the condition has yet been eradicated.

Lessons learned

Complete eradication of disease took place in the case of Smallpox. Similar epidemiological principles can be applied to both malaria and Smallpox. Quick diagnosis and testing measures were introduced in both. However, Smallpox was only eliminated in the natural environment by using vaccines. Similarly, a malaria vaccine is in development and has been in clinical trials in recent years (Arama & Troye‐Blomberg, 2014). Despite difficulties due to morphology, tests in animals show that a malaria vaccine could provide long-term immunity (Arama & Troye‐Blomberg, 2014).


Financially, it is logical to focus on fighting malaria at a population level. This enables quick mass production of medicine and mosquito nets. Similarly, mosquitoes spread malaria, making their control at an individual level expensive. This is because mosquitoes mass-reproduce and are prevalent in large portions of land. Instead, it is more economical to make community efforts to destroy their breeding grounds, use insecticides, among other control measures (Schoepke, Steffen & Gratz, 1998).


Arama, C., & Troye‐Blomberg, M. (2014). The path of malaria vaccine development: challenges and perspectives. Journal Of Internal Medicine275(5), 456-466. doi: 10.1111/joim.12223

Schoepke, A., Steffen, R., & Gratz, N. (1998). Effectiveness of personal protection measures against mosquito bites for malaria prophylaxis in travelers. Journal of travel medicine5(4), 188-192.

Tangpukdee Tangpukdee, N., Duangdee, C., Wilairatana, P., & Krudsood, S. (2009). Malaria diagnosis: a brief review. The Korean journal of parasitology47(2), 93. Tangpukdee, N., Duangdee, C., Wilairatana, P., & Krudsood, S. (2009). Malaria diagnosis: a brief review. The Korean journal of parasitology47(2), 93.