One Health Global Exchange Academy

Global Health and Epidemiology

In today's interconnected world, global health faces a range of pressing threats that demand thorough understanding and effective mitigation. Epidemiology and its related sciences play a pivotal role in identifying, analyzing, and addressing these challenges by the consecution of timely and effective public policies.

Costa Rica’s geographical location in the middle of the continent, bathed by two main oceans and endowed with plenty of sweet water resources, provides to the country the status of “biological filter” encompassing wildlife species from both North and South America and harboring many migratory birds and sea animals.

This internationally recognized high biodiversity represents both an advantage and a challenge when it comes to fighting global threats. This fascinating topic will be explored in depth as part of the Study Abroad Learning Experience for students visiting Costa Rica.

Globally, one of the foremost threats is the emergence and rapid spread of infectious diseases. The recent COVID-19 pandemic serves as a stark reminder of how quickly pathogens can cross borders and impact populations worldwide. Epidemiology not only helps track the progression of diseases but also assesses their risk factors and transmission patterns. By studying the modes of spread and identifying vulnerable populations, epidemiologists contribute crucial insights to designing targeted interventions and preventive measures.

Another significant challenge is the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Lifestyle factors, environmental changes, and urbanization contribute to the global surge in NCDs. Epidemiology aids in unraveling the complex web of causative factors, facilitating the development of strategies to promote healthier behaviors, improve early detection, and enhance treatment outcomes.

The success of Costa Rican public health policies have created an scenario of transition in the local epidemiology, leaving behind transmissible diseases as a main concern, but focusing now in the increase of NCD’s, and changing focus once again, to craft science based national policies and effectively fight NCD’s, including obesity and its related comorbidity.

Are you looking for information about our Clinical Rotations Methodology?

Global health security also faces threats from antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Overuse and misuse of antibiotics have led to the evolution of drug-resistant pathogens, making infections harder to treat and increasing mortality rates. Epidemiology's role in tracking resistant strains, understanding the dynamics of resistance development, and guiding prudent antibiotic use is crucial in preserving the effectiveness of our antimicrobial arsenal. In Costa Rica, students will have the opportunity to learn how to fight AMR from the farm level and above, all as part of the Study Abroad Learning Experience.

Environmental changes and climate-related events have far-reaching health implications as well. From extreme weather events to air and water pollution, these factors contribute to a range of health challenges. Epidemiologists assess the health impacts of environmental changes, helping policymakers make informed decisions to safeguard public health and mitigate risks.

Furthermore, health disparities persist across the globe, with marginalized communities often bearing the brunt of poor health outcomes. Epidemiology uncovers the social determinants of health, shedding light on the root causes of disparities. This knowledge is essential for designing equitable healthcare policies and interventions that address systemic inequalities.

Costa Rica believes that epidemiology and related sciences are indispensable tools in tackling the multifaceted threats to global health. By unraveling the intricacies of disease transmission, identifying risk factors, assessing the impact of environmental changes, and understanding health disparities, these disciplines provide the evidence base necessary for informed decision-making and effective interventions.

Given Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity, the country will aways be in the top destinations for eco-tourism, and as our world continues to evolve, the insights gained from epidemiological research will play a vital role in safeguarding the health and well-being of populations worldwide. All this information will be explored in detail as part of the Study Abroad Learning Experience.

Are you ready to start your
Study Abroad Learning Experience?

If you would like to apply to one of our Academic Programs or you just have questions, please fill up the online form and a representative will contact you shortly.