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Epidemiology And Vulnerable Populations Essay

1989 words - 8 pages

Epidemiology and Vulnerable Populations
Angela Wilson
NUR / 408
November 4, 2013

Epidemiology and Vulnerable Populations
Health is a state of optimum well-being, a human right and a social goal. The public health mission is to provide and assure conditions that promote health in the community. Public health, ...view middle of the document...

Epidemiology and Vulnerable Populations
“Vulnerable populations are defined as those at greater risk for poor health status and health care access” (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2012) These groups of people often have less of an opportunity in receiving health care including primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention, resulting in complex disease processes and poorer health care results. Vulnerable populations may include those of a certain age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, economic status, or well-being. In the field of nursing, the most vulnerable populations consist of the poor or homeless, pregnant minors, migrant workers and immigrants, the mentally ill, alcohol and drug abusers, victims of violence, those with a communicable disease, or those diagnosed with HIV, hepatitis, or a sexually transmitted disease (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2012).
Epidemiology is defined as “the study of the distribution and determinants of health, disease, or injury in human populations and the application of this study to the control of health problems” (Kanchanaraska, 2008, pg. 7). In the past, epidemiology referred only to infectious diseases but over the years has advanced and includes chronic diseases, mental health, accidents, and injuries. The role of the epidemiologist is to explore the etiology and mode of transmission of a disease, regulate and discover the cause of an outbreak/epidemic in a community, assist with the formation of a plan of prevention, and educate the public on diseases processes and communicability. The goal of epidemiology is to improve health and decrease morbidity and mortality.
One of the major goals of Healthy People 2020 is to develop strategies to reduce the societal determinants of health in the U.S. Researchers have discovered those societal factors such as the community where you live and work, physical activity, education, and financial status outweigh the cause of race and ethnicity when it comes to vulnerability and health care (Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2020, 2010). Examples of the societal determinants that Healthy People 2020 are concentrating on include safe housing, quality job training, community support, segregation, and technology and social media. Strategies in which nurses and other health care professionals can work together with government agencies in meeting the objectives in Healthy People 2020 include assessing and identifying the risk factors of vulnerable populations and reviewing older policies regarding existing social policies and making changes where necessary (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012).
Steps and Methods of Epidemiology
There are three types of data collection used in the epidemiological process: routine, research, and epidemiological. Routine data...

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