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Assignment Briefs 11-14-2023

Critically analyse and evaluate the application of the principles of epidemiology in the context of public health and social action

Epidemiology: Principles, Application and Evaluation in Practice

Question: You are a lead epidemiologist in a public health organisation. At a meeting with key stakeholders, members reported suspected high levels of diabetes, obesity, HIV/AIDS and coronary heart disease as major health issues affecting people in the community. You have been given the responsibility to investigate one of the health issues further and propose intervention(s) to support the community address your chosen issue.
In an essay of 3000 words, critically analyse and evaluate ways in which epidemiologic methods (including epidemiologic study designs and investigations) would be used to: assess the levels of the chosen health issue; identify potentially effective interventions; and support the planning and effective implementation of a public health initiative.

Topic: Your chosen
The essay should address the following learning outcomes:
  • Critically analyse and evaluate the application of the principles of epidemiology in the context of public health and social action
  • Critically analyse, compare and evaluate a range of epidemiologic study designs and their appropriate application to public health practice
  • Critically appraise, analyse and evaluate the role of chance, bias and confounding in current literature where epidemiological data are significant
  • Assess, quantify and compare the risk of health-related outcomes in populations and population subgroups
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of alternative evidence-based approaches in the planning, delivery and evaluation of existing and new public health interventions
  • Determine key principles underpinning population-based prevention of ill health including scientific and ethical considerations for population-based disease screening.

The following are examples of subheadings or sections you could use to structure your essay

Title

You are required to identify a title which summarises the key elements of your essay. For instance your title should clearly identify a specific health condition and population.

Introduction

The introduction should provide background and justification for the report. This could include:

Clearly and critically setting out the rationale for your chosen topic and population

Highlighting the public health importance of the chosen health condition e.g. providing and discussing key epidemiologic information (statistics) of the condition in the population e.g. prevalence or incidence of the condition; health consequences and complications associated with the condition; and economic and social consequences or impact of the condition.

The introduction should (usually towards the end) also highlight the aims/objectives of the essay.  The aims/objectives for this particular piece of assessment can be obtained from the question

Epidemiologic methods to investigate the levels of …among …(e.g. minority ethnic populations in Hackney)

This could include discussions around the following in relation to your chosen topic and specific population:

  • Data sources to use (e.g. primary, secondary or both)
  • Measures for determining the frequency of health outcomes (e.g. alcohol abuse) and/or associated risk factors and/or health consequences
  • Relevant measures of association for comparing population groups

Identification of potentially effective interventions to help the community of …(chosen community) address the high levels of…(chosen condition)

This could include:

  • Critical discussion of the methods to be used for identifying relevant interventions taking into account:
  • Discussions on the different epidemiologic designs and how the hierarchy of evidence concept would inform the choice of an intervention for the chosen health condition in the chosen population
  • Critical discussion of ways in which the characteristics, views and perspectives of stakeholders will be obtained and used to inform the choice and implementation of the intervention

Intervention to… (e.g. reduce the levels) of… in (your chosen population)

  • Briefly identify and critically discuss your own specific intervention
  • This could include brief discussion of the procedures, methods to be used in the implementation of the intervention. These discussions should be underpinned by relevant scientific and theoretical evidence.

Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of … (e.g. of your intervention)

Highlight any primary and if appropriate secondary health outcomes that would be used to evaluate the effectiveness of your intervention. Depending on the chosen condition, examples of health outcomes include levels of diabetes, knowledge, dietary choices, lifestyle changes etc.

Critically discuss what epidemiologic methods would be used to evaluate any changes in the primary and secondary health outcomes e.g. reduction in the prevalence of diabetes after the intervention, changes in lifestyle and/or behaviours; increase in knowledge of risky sexual behaviours; reduction in levels of risk factors; improvements in quality of life etc.    

Conclusion

References

NB1: Please note that the above bullet points are guidance notes only and are not meant to be a strict format for every student to follow.

NB2:  Also note that some of the issues identified in the bullet points may not be applicable to some topics or essays.

NB3: All discussions must be founded on contemporary evidence

NB4: It is important that you also refer to the guidance provided in the summative assessment section of the module handbook.

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