Monday, November 17, 2014

Why I am passionate about Epidemiology! 

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds." from The Letter from Birmingham Jail written on April 16, 1963, by MLK.

Over the past few years there has been a strong push for Libertarian ideas in the public arena using constant hyperbolic speech about the rights of individuals. Although, every policy, before being enacted, should face rigorous scrutiny about individual rights, we should keep in mind that if individual rights always win we will get blind-sided by disease.

That is why epidemiology (methods to understand the distribution of disease, exposures and behavior) are so important to society. They confirm the idea put forth above by MLK. Epidemiology teaches us that people are not independent agents walled in and isolated from disease.

One of the important lessons we have just learned from Ebola is that you can not block out disease by isolation. We need to use all our analytic methods to understand how disease travels. So  keeping people together and listening to them is essential to our individual survival.

One last message, if you feel like there are exposures, like GMOs, Vaccines, Fluoridation, etc that are not being addressed to your satisfaction then get together and ask for better information. Please don't poo poo on the medical field or create some elaborate conspiracy theory. If there TRULY is an effect, the tools in epidemiology can demonstrate it much more powerfully than saying the whole system is corrupt!

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