Epidemiology on the Internet
As in most other fields, the World Wide Web (WWW) and other Internet facilities have rapidly emerged as a major resource for epidemiologists. The following list has been compiled from various sources, including a resource list prepared by Jean Blackwell of the UNC Health Sciences Library.
Epidemiology discussion forum - you can subscribe to Epidemiol-L, where epidemiologists send questions, announcements, and other messages to each other in an open, public forum with about 800 subscribers (as of 2004). Participation is international and uneven (some people send lots of messages, most send none; some institutions are well-represented, most apparently not at all). Joining the list can be an excellent way to ask questions, read or participate in discussions on methodologic topics, pick up useful tips and information, ask for help and references, and “feel connected". The list is maintained by Dr. Pierre Phillippe and Hassan Soubhi at the University of Montreal. Information in English et en français is available at www.listes.umontreal.ca/wws/info/epidemio-l. An archive of postings is available at www.listes.umontreal.ca/wws/arc/epidemio-lSimilar lists exist for almost every other area you can imagine. Another list of relevance for epidemiologists is STAT-L. To subscribe, send the message subscribe stat-L with your first and last name to email@example.com.
Note to Internet neophytes: lists such as the ones mentioned here are automated. Epidemio-L and Stat-L are unmoderated, which means that messages are posted automatically. Some lists are moderated, in which case the list owner reviews messages and then posts them. LISTPROC, LISTSERV, and MAJORDOMO are the names of software packages that handle e-mail list functions. You will receive information about other commands after you subscribe. Save this information so that you'll know how to unsubscribe and/or suspend your subscription when you go on vacation. Commands must be sent to the computer program (e.g., listproc, listserv, minhlth-request). In contrast, messages intended for subscribers are sent to the list address (which appears as the heading of messages you receive from the list - often the computer does not show the originator's address, so if you want subscribers to know who sent the message and how to contact you, be sure to include your name and e-mail address).
There are many, many lists. For example, the Division of Reproductive Health at the CDC has a list for persons interested in perinatal, pediatric, and reproductive epidemiology. This list is moderated, and anonymous or long postings are not distributed. For information about subscribing to this and other CDC lists, send a message consisting of the word "help" (without the quotation marks) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The primary access method for electronic information for epidemiologists is the Web, which includes the capability for audio, graphics, and video. Many epidemiology-related organizations have "webpages", with more coming on line every day.
Here are a few handfuls of sites among the millions(?) out there.
Internationally-oriented sitesWorld Health Organization (WHO) (www.who.org)
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) (www.paho.org) (españól/English)
Population Reference Bureau (PRB) (www.prb.org) has data, charts, and links to demographic data for all countries of the world
World Resources Institute (WRI) (www.wri.org)
Global Health Council - membership alliance dedicated to improving health worldwide.Global Health Network at the University of Pittsburgh (www.pitt.edu/HOME/GHNet/GHNet.html - case matters!) is attempting to provide referrals to EVERYTHING in international and public health. (Be sure to use upper and lower case as shown.) Information is available in Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Chinese, Turkish & Taiwanese. The Supercourse: epidemiology, the Internet and global health offers a free library of over 3,500 lectures in 26 languages used all over the world. (Note: the Supercourse website has somewhat intrusive pop-up ads.)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - www.os.dhhs.gov
National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) (www.cdc.gov/nchswww)
National Institutes of Health (NIH) - www.nih.gov
National Cancer Institute (NCI) - www.nci.nih.gov
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) - www.niehs.nih.gov
National Library of Medicine - www.nlm.nih.gov
Office of Research Integrity - http://ori.dhhs.gov
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) - www.ahcpr.gov (formerly Agency for Health Care Policy and Research)
U.S. Health Care Financing Administration - www.ssa.gov/hcfa/hcfahp2.html
North Carolina-oriented sites
NC government information via the UNC Institute of Government - ncinfo.iog.unc.edu
State of North Carolina - Public
Information - www.sips.state.nc.us/nchome.html
North Carolina county profiles –www.ospl.state.nc.us/ospl/cnty-indx.html
North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness has an extensive collection of bibliographic and audio training resources, including FOCUS on Field Epidemiology, a periodical offering a hands-on approach to outbreak investigation.
Certificate in Field Epidemiology is a 12-credit hour program of study that addresses outbreak investigation, surveillance systems and methods, infectious disease epidemiology, and field epidemiology methods.
Other health-related sites
HealthWeb - Public Health (www.lib.umich.edu/hw/public.health.html)
Partners in Information Access for Public Health Professionals (www.nnlm.nlm.nih.gov/partners)
Minority Health Resource Center (www.omhrc.gov)
Minority Health Project (MHP) (www.minority.unc.edu)
Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) (www.fas.org/promed)
China Education and Research Network (CERNET) - www.cernet.edu.cn
Some sites have emerged as especially comprehensive nodes for epidemiologists. Several of these are:
The web site of the University of California at San Francisco Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (www.epibiostat.ucsf.edu/epidem/epidem.html) has been characterized by Pierre Phillippe (list manager for EPIDEMIO-L) as "a fantastic compendium of all what one would have always wanted to know of information available in epidemiology".
www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow.html Maintained by Ralph Frerichs at the University of California at Los Angeles Department of Epidemiology, this site is devoted to the life and times of Dr. John Snow (1813-1858), a legendary figure in the history of public health, epidemiology, and anesthesiology".
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Comprehensive Epidemiology Data Resource Program (CEDR) makes available analytic data sets, working data sets, and associated documentation files from the Health and Mortality Study of the DOE work force and related studies conducted during the past 30 years. As the CEDR Program matures, other types of data useful for epidemiologic and health surveillance activities will be added, including data from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory's (LBL's) Socio-Economic Environmental Demographic Information System (SEEDIS), such as census data, geographic base map files, mortality and cancer incidence data, and ecologic summary data. In addition, the CEDR website has links to a vast array of other epidemiology resources, including the tables of contents for the Epidemiology Monitor and some epidemiology journals. Try going to the Comprehensive Epidemiologic Data Resource Reference Desk at: cedr.lbl.gov/CEDRReferenceDesk.html
National Library of Medicine MEDLINE plus Health Information (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus) provides access to extensive information about specific diseases and conditions and also has links to consumer health information from the National Institutes of Health, dictionaries, lists of hospitals and physicians, health information in Spanish and other languages, and clinical trials.
Alfredo Morabias History of Epidemiology site includes several resources and announcements plus the papers from a 1996 symposium in Annecy, France on the history of epidemiologic methods and concepts.
The New York Academy of Medicine (www.nyam.org) has a many links to sources of medical including links to PubMed (and how to use it), other national databases, electronic journals, and much more. A key page is at http://www.nyam.org/library/medinfo.html
The Cochrane Collaboration (www.cochrane.org) is an "international organisation that prepares, maintains and promotes the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions.Evidence-based Medicine Resource Center (www.ebmny.org), maintained jointly by the New York Academy of Medicine Library and the American College of Physicians, NY Chapter
The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) (www.icpsr.umich.edu), located within the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, has the world's largest archive of computerized social science data. The catalog, including abstracts and codebooks, is open to the public. Member institutions can also gain access to the data. If you're designing a questionnaire, this is probably a good place to look.
Free Resources for Program Evaluation and Social Research Methods lists free resources for methods in evaluation and social research. The focus is on "how-to" do evaluation research and the methods used: surveys, focus groups, sampling, interviews, and other methods. Most of these links are to resources that can be read over the web.
Survey data analysis software (www.fas.harvard.edu/~stats/survey-soft/survey-soft.html) describes available software packages for analyzing data from surveys using complex sampling designs and has online reviews of the issues and the packages.
OnlineConversion provides a reference guide and on-line calculator for converting between measurement units of apparently all varieties (featured in Science Magazine 21 Dec 2001;294: p2435)
AuthorAID (for researchers in developing countries) provides a community space for discussion, questions, and advice; information on best practices in writing and publication; training workshops on scientific writing; networking opportunities; and personal mentoring.
Victor J. Schoenbach, 3/6/2008, 11/11/2008, 4/4/2009