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Increasing Chronic Disease Epidemiology Capacity Without Increasing Workforce: A Success Story in Ohio

Duffy, Rosemary E. DDS, MPH; Siegel, Paul Z. MD, MPH

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000346009.51651.c5
Article
Abstract

In many states the epidemiology capacity of specific chronic disease programs, for example, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, is limited by the skill set of a single epidemiologist who has been assigned to that program. To improve epidemiology support across categorical programs, the Division of Prevention at the Ohio Department of Health initiated a new policy early in 2003 whereby each program epidemiologist is responsible for learning to analyze data from at least two datasets as well as continuing to be the lead data person for his or her program. Now, for each critical dataset at least one epidemiologist is capable of conducting data analysis and providing support to other programs. Without the addition of new epidemiology staff, this policy has enabled the Ohio Department of Health to produce reports that better describe the burden of chronic diseases, make more informed decisions on what populations to target, and plan well-thought-out interventions.

In Brief

This study focuses on policies that enable the ODH to produce reports that better describe the burden of chronic diseases, make more informed decisions on what populations to target, and plan well-thought-out interventions.

Author Information

Rosemary E. Duffy, DDS, MPH, Deputy State Epidemiologist, Chronic Diseases, Ohio Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Assignee, Columbus, Ohio.

Paul Z. Siegel, MD, MPH, is Director, Field Epidemiology Activity, Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Corresponding Author: Rosemary E. Duffy, DDS, MPH, State Epidemiology Office, 246 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215 (rosemary.duffy@odh.ohio.gov).

The authors thank Deborah Arms, PhD, RN, Director, Division of Prevention; Forrest Smith, MD, State Epidemiologist; Robert Campbell, PhD, Chief, Bureau of Health Surveillance, Information, and Operational Support; Nan Migliozzi, MSN, RN, Chief, Bureau of Health Promotion Risk Reduction; and Robert Indian, MS, Chief, Chronic Disease and Behavioral Epidemiology, the Ohio Department of Health.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.