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Looking ahead to 2014-2015

Posted By Alfred DeMaria, Thursday, July 03, 2014
The CSTE Annual Conference was stimulating and thought provoking—there were many excellent examples of “epidemiology in action.” Attendees shared ideas and experiences, and created a real “community of practice.”
Now that we’re back from Nashville, I’m looking ahead to 2014–2015. Issues raised at the annual conference reinforced ideas I had about priorities for this coming year:
  • Informatics capacity continues to be a struggle, but we’re making progress. CSTE’s advocacy efforts educate policy makers to increase awareness and encourage funding. CSTE’s workforce development initiatives improve existing and new epidemiologists’ competencies in informatics skills. These continued efforts are important to sustain progress in this area.
  • Developments in laboratory technology are just beginning to have a huge impact on public health surveillance. We will have to adapt to these changes to preserve our ability to do effective surveillance.
  • Public health must align with the changes occurring in healthcare delivery and the focus on accountable care. Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are going to be responsible for the health of the populations in their care, not just their medical care. Public health epidemiologists should be the ones who are recognized as monitoring population health, identifying needs and holding ACOs truly accountable.
  • Hepatitis C, as a public health challenge, is entering a whole new level of complexity. Literally millions of cases are diagnosed and being diagnosed. We are entering an era of cure with more easily tolerated, shorter course, highly effective, but expensive therapy. We will be called on to define the burden and monitor trends, but we have never had the needed resources.
Together we can improve applied epidemiology, improve public health, and improve the health of our communities.
Alfred DeMaria, Jr. is the president of CSTE and the State Epidemiologist at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Tags:  healthcare  infectious disease  informatics  laboratory 

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