A clinical pediatric nurse has noticed a rise in childhood cancer diagnoses among the Hispanic population served by the local clinic. The nurse is concerned about this increase in cancer incidence in the patient population and turns to the literature to explore current research on this topic. The nurse finds through the reading that there appears to be an association between parental smoking and childhood cancer and wonders if this could be the cause of the rise in cases.
This type of suspected association between a risk factor (exposure) and a particular outcome (childhood cancer) can be evaluated using an observational study design. This week, you were introduced to observational study designs used in epidemiology. For this Discussion, you will identify an epidemiologic association of interest (e.g., smoking and lung cancer, obesity and heart disease, hormone replacement/modification therapy and breast cancer) and determine an appropriate observational study design for exploring that association.
- Review the different types of observational study designs presented in the Learning Resources: ecologic, cross-sectional, case-control, and cohort.
- Carefully examine the characteristics, strengths, and limitations of each design.
- Consider an association between a risk factor and a particular health outcome that is of interest to you. Then, select the observational study design you think would be the most appropriate for exploring this association.
- Consider how using observational study designs can lead to improvements in population health.
By Day 3
Post a cohesive response that addresses the following:
- Identify the association between the risk factor and health outcome you selected, and suggest which observational study design you feel is most appropriate for examining that association.
- Support your selection of the observational design, noting its strengths and limitations for addressing the health problem.
- What might you be able to learn by using your selected study design that might lead to improvements in population health? Support your response with evidence from the literature.
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