Epidemiology is the study of disease in populations, an objective different from the traditional focus of medicine on the individual. It asks questions about where, when, and in whom diseases develop on the broad scale among communities and societies. Studies center on improving public and individual health, and focus on interdisciplinary research into the behavioral and social basis for major chronic diseases, exploring methodology to prevent and control such conditions.
Epidemiology and Disease Prevention Research
Problem-focused research, which uses an experimental approach designed to test and disseminate disease prevention and control methods is done in collaboration with a wide array of health professionals and social and behavioral scientists. A majority of the studies focus on heart disease and stroke prevention. Additional studies investigate the dietary prevention of breast cancer and osteoporosis, environmental influences on children’s food intake and the effect of diet on the development of cancerous cells.
Quality, Safety, and Efficiency in Health Care
Stanford investigators are studying the adoption of medical technology, organization, and health care costs and options in 21 advanced nations. Our large domestic agenda is exploring the current Medicare program, focusing on improvements, and readiness for its new influx of beneficiaries.
Medical decision making, and guideline development and implementation contribute to an understanding of how the various aspects of care can be integrated in “best practices.” Our researchers have created programs to improve medication-taking behaviors, and self-management of chronic disease. Stanford investigators are also developing new measures that will work to prevent medical errors, which will form the foundation of practices needed to improve the quality of national health care.
Stanford Center for Population Sciences
The Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences brings together scientists and physicians from across the university and its medical institutions to develop innovative solutions to improve the health of populations.
Population health is the study of health outcomes, patterns of health determinants and disease states in populations. Looking at social, environmental, cultural and physical factors, the term “population” looks beyond geographic boundaries, encompassing a variety of subsets such as “people with jobs” or “patients served by a specific medical care system.”