State epidemiology programs and state epidemiologists: results of a national survey.
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State epidemiology programs and state epidemiologists: results of a national survey.

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      In 1983, the State Epidemiologists in 46 States completed a survey questionnaire describing the professional qualifications, training, and experience of State health department epidemiologists and the scope of participation by the State Epidemiologists and their staffs in public health programs. The survey identified 224 State health department epidemiologists (estimated U.S. ratio 1.1 per million population). A State health department epidemiologist was most often male (80 percent), frequently (57 percent) was a physician, had an average age of 41 years, and had worked as an epidemiologist for 9 years. Participation in public health programs (either by supervising or providing consultation) by the State Epidemiologists and their staffs focused mainly on general epidemiology and communicable disease programs; fewer than half had participated in programs relating to the health of women and children, chronic diseases, injuries, or in other programs directed towards preventing premature mortality. Recently, the State Epidemiologists have been trying to broaden their activities into these areas; however, the demands created by the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) will mostly likely slow this process. Based on the overall findings and collective experience, it was concluded that State health departments have too few epidemiologists to address the wide variety of important public health problems facing our communities. It was proposed that each State health department have at least four epidemiologists (including one or more physician epidemiologists) and at least one master's level biostatistician and that the epidemiologists-per-population ratio not be less than 1 per million.
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