U.S. Health

Public Health & Epidemiology

Improving the health status of populations requires the implementation of public health policies and strategies using the three core functions of public health – assessment, policy development and assurance. Priority public health issues include infectious disease—including influenza and HIV/AIDS—chronic disease, health equity and disadvantaged populations, nutrition and obesity, and women’s and children’s health.

Public Health and Epidemiology (PHE) conducts community-based evaluations of public health interventions, population-based epidemiologic research and surveillance , and population-based community surveys to understand the determinants of health and which interventions improve health status of individuals and populations. In addition, PHE conducts and supports research around risk factors and prevention of chronic disease, social and environmental determinants of health outcomes, and the impact of community interventions on population health outcomes.

Our clients include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and several institutes (e.g., National Cancer Institute) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Examples of recent accomplishments include:

  • Designed and now implementing epidemiologic studies of the H1N1 vaccine effectiveness on three populations (pregnant women, children in NICUs and health care workers) for CDC.
  • Developed alternative methods and sample estimates for the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data collection for CDC.
  • Designed and implemented the National Evaluation for the national Healthy Start Program for MCHB/HRSA.
  • Conducted epidemiological study of cancer patients for the VA.
Read about HealthRise, a five-year, $17-million program that supports community-based demonstration projects specifically designed to expand access to care and management of chronic diseases. 


UNITED STATES: How do you track and prepare for a potential influenza epidemic when the virus is ever-changing?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have long relied on Abt Associates to monitor and provide vital research in the epidemiology of influenza, including estimating the effectiveness of influenza vaccines and antivirals. Having already built and implemented systems to evaluate vaccine effectiveness and monitor the virus in children, health care providers and pregnant women, Abt and its survey research arm, Abt SRBI, were chosen to establish the first research infrastructure for epidemiologic studies of the influenza illness and prevention and treatment strategies in advance of a pandemic. This new research platform will allow the CDC to quickly ascertain the presentation and severity of any new pandemic strain of influenza, as well as evaluate antiviral and vaccine effectiveness.
CLIENT: CDC / PROJECT: The Epidemiology of Novel Influenza Virus Infection and Evaluation of Antiviral and Vaccine Effectiveness