Considered the scientific discipline on which the Public Health is based, epidemiology is the science that studies diseases and related risk factors, as well as the complex relationships between causes and effects, using observational studies of the population and experimental clinical studies.
Given the spread of new and old diseases and the progress of research, the epidemiological approach is of particular importance in the various sectors of the biomedical sciences and health disciplines both for the understanding of diseases' natural history and the planning of interventions in Public Health.
Epidemiological studies allow to increase knowledge on the distribution and spread of diseases and risk factors, in order to address effective prevention interventions and formulate correct diagnoses, on the base of consolidated scientific evidence and in compliance with criteria validated at the international level. In fact, only valid information on the real state of health of the community can allow to increase the efficiency of the Health System and make appropriate choices with respect to the multiple changes that occur over time, to the changes in socio-health and environmental conditions, and variations in lifestyles.
To this end, a macro-area of Epidemiology has been operating within the Institute of Clinical Physiology since its inception. The macro-area currently consists of three main research guidelines: “Epidemiology and Research on Health Services”, “Environmental epidemiology and pathology registriesi" ed “Pulmonary Epidemiology”.
Researchers and technicians belonging to the Epidemiology macro-area have documented experiences in the different branches of epidemiology and consolidated skills in planning and conducting clinical and population epidemiological studies, competence on the most advanced biometrics tools and medical statistics, expertise on methods for epidemiological surveillance, biomonitoring, large population surveys and sample studies, stakeholders involvement and public communication.
The whole of the studies carried out and the archives and registers managed by the three groups constitute a valuable source of scientific knowledge and a fundamental resource for biomedical research developed within the Institute in collaboration with several partner institutions, for the planning and evaluation of social policies and prevention measures to support both national, local and regional bodies, as well as European and international institutions.