Health and Community Services Department
1st Wing, 2nd Floor
Frequently Asked Questions: Epidemiology
- Monitors and analyzes local, state and national communicable and chronic disease data. Conducts surveillance of local health status.
- Provides epidemiological expertise as a consultant.
What is Epidemiology?
Epidemiology is the study of how disease (or health) is distributed in populations and of the factors that influence or determine this distribution. It operates on the assumption that disease is not randomly distributed in a population. Each of us has characteristics that predispose us to, or protect us from, disease.
Epidemiology is a broad discipline and includes sub-disciplines such as chronic disease, hospital, environmental, infectious disease, and psychosocial epidemiology to name a few. The common thread through all of them is that their practitioners take a systematic approach to describing the health of people and the factors that either improve or diminish health.
Where can I find out more about particular diseases?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resources and materials available on the web about numerous diseases and conditions. The CDC web site also contains links to web sites belonging to organizations that may have more detailed information available.
Where can I get health-related statistics for the United States, Michigan, and Kalamazoo County?
National statistics can be accessed through the National Center for Health Statistics web site.
Michigan and County statistics can be accessed through the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics web site. Count data for several areas in Kalamazoo County are also available through this web site (City of Kalamazoo, City of Portage, Comstock Township, Kalamazoo Township, and Oshtemo Township). Count data for other areas in the county are not available due to their smaller population sizes; this is done to avoid releasing health information that could potentially be linked to particular individuals in the less populous areas. Rates are not available for sub-county areas because the U.S. Census Bureau has not released sub-county population estimates, which are needed to calculate rates, for recent years.
For detailed statistical reports on health in Kalamazoo County, please refer to Health and Community Services's Data and Reports web page.