Selecting a Population Health Problem

As you know, promoting positive social change is a part of the Walden mission. To be an effective agent for social change, nurses must be able to logically and critically analyze population health issues using epidemiologic concepts, and then communicate insights in a succinct and professional manner. This exercise will afford you such an experience.

This week, you will complete Assignment 1 in preparation for Major Assessment 7, in which you will apply epidemiologic principles and develop an intervention for a health problem.

For this Assignment, you will examine a health problem of interest to you, and you will develop a brief paper (2 pages) outlining the significance of the health problem and describing it in terms of person, place, and time. This outline will help your Instructor determine if the topic you selected is appropriate for the Major Assessment paper.

Prepare for Assignment 1 as follows:

  • Review      the Major      Assessment Overview (see attached).
  • Determine      a population health problem that is viable for completing this paper. You      may use the problem you identified in the Week 12,      or Week 3 Discussion, or you may select a new one.
  • Determine      the characteristics of the health problem in terms of person, place, and      time.
  • Using      the Walden Library and credible websites, conduct additional research on      your selected population health problem. Consider the significance of this      health problem.
  • Examine      how Healthy People 2020, listed in the Learning Resources, supports the      importance of addressing your selected health problem.
  • Develop      a preliminary research question or hypothesis appropriate for your topic.

To complete:

Write a  2-page paper that addresses the following:


1) Introduction (must end with a purpose statement, e.g. “the purpose of this paper is …)

2) Describe the population health problem in terms of person, place, and time.

3) From the primary research literature and Healthy People 2020, briefly explain the significance of this health problem.

4) Include your preliminary research question or hypothesis. (PICOT format for the research question).

5) A conclusion

By Day 7 (tomorrow Sunday 03/18/2018 at 4 pm latest Submit your a 2-page paper in order to receive feedback on your topic

Required Readings

Friis, R. H., & Sellers, T. A. (2014). Epidemiology for public health practice (5th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Chapter 6, “Study Designs: Ecologic, Cross-Sectional, Case Control”

Chapter 7, “Study Designs: Cohort Studies”

Chapter 6 presents an overview of analytic study designs used in epidemiology, differentiating between experimental studies (which will be addressed next week) and observational studies (the focus of this week). In the chapter, the authors address three varieties of observational studies—ecological, cross-sectional, and case control. Chapter 7 addresses cohort studies, another form of observational design.

Doll, R., & Hill, A. B. (1999). Smoking and carcinoma of the lung. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 77(1), 84–93.

This landmark case-control study established the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.

Framingham Heart Study. (1998). Epidemiological background and design: The Framingham study. Retrieved from

The Framingham Heart Study is one of the first and largest cohort studies that measured the distribution of suspected risk factors in a large population and then tracked the development of heart disease in that cohort.

Papathanasiou, A. A., & Zintzaras, E. (2010). Assessing the quality of reporting of observational studies in cancer. Annals of Epidemiology, 20(1), 67–73. 

In this article, the authors assess the quality of reporting of observational cancer studies, noting opportunities for improvement.

Von Elm, E., Altman, D. G., Egger, M., Pocock, S. J., Gøtzsche, P. C., & Vandenbroucke, J. P. (2007). Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology (STROBE) statement: Guidelines for reporting observational studies. Annals of Internal Medicine, 147(8), 573–577.

A consortium of scientists and medical researchers created a checklist of 22 recommended items that should be included in reports about three common observational study designs: case-control, cohort, and cross-sectional studies. This collaborative effort is an important step toward the goal of improving the quality, credibility, and generalizability of analytical research.

Healthy People 2020. (2011). Topics & objectives index. Retrieved from

Healthy People 2020 focuses on improving population health locally and nationally. Review the topics and objectives of Healthy People 2020 as you prepare for Assignment 2.

Required Media

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Epidemiology and population health: Observational studies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 9 minutes.

In this week’s program, the presenters discuss observational studies as a means of establishing an association between an exposure or risk factor and a disease outcome. Two types of observational designs are featured: cohort and case control studies.

Optional Resources

The following ERIC notebook guides present information in a reader-friendly study guide format.

Ibrahim, M., Alexander, L., Shy, C., & Farr, S. (1999). Cohort studies. ERIC Notebook, 3, 1–4. Retrieved from

Ibrahim, M., Alexander, L., Shy, C., & Farr, S. (1999). Incidence measures in cohort studies. ERIC Notebook, 4, 1–4. Retrieved from

Ibrahim, M., Alexander, L., Shy, C., & Farr, S. (1999). Case-control studies. ERIC Notebook, 5, 1–4. Retrieved from

Ibrahim, M., Alexander, L., Shy, C., & Farr, S. (1999). Cross-sectional studies. ERIC Notebook, 7, 1–4. Retrieved from

Ibrahim, M., Alexander, L., Shy, C., & Farr, S. (2000). Ecologic studies. ERIC Notebook, 12, 1–4. Retrieved from

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