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EACPR Board - Epidemiology & Public Health Section Chairman

Harry Hemingway

Vision Statement l CV

A cynical view
Epidemiology is dead! At least for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The main causes of CVD have been established, and shown to operate in all inhabited continents around the world, surely the focus of effort should now firmly be on prevention?

A restorative
This view, which one sometimes hears, is anti-thetical to science. Globally, larger numbers of people are at risk of, or living with, cardiovascular disease than at any time in history, yet conundra of public health importance abound in the current population patterning of CVD. In many higher income countries, where cardiovascular disease mortality has been falling, there is an epidemic of obesity and diabetes. The pattern of morbidity is changing with growing importance of chronic coronary disease. Many, but not all, ethnic minority populations have higher rates of CVD than observed in majority populations. Yet our understanding of the causes, and consequences, of these epidemiological trends – and others besides - is limited.

The vision
The Section of Epidemiology and Public Health should aim to be the pre-eminent forum where novel scientific understanding of the current burden, and future impact, of cardiovascular disease in ESC populations, and globally, is presented, debated and advanced. Working with other sections in EACPR, this work will seek to influence policy responses.

“Big science,” and the way it is nurtured and marshalled, is key to achieving the vision. Big science is increasingly what commands research funding, is published in the most prestigious journals and, ultimately, is most likely to have policy impact. We need to make EACPR the forum where the scale and scope of science is big in relation to five inter-related themes:

  • Big collaborations e.g. of healthy population studies: by stimulating and fostering existing and new collaborations across multiple research groups which lead to novel meta-analyses.
  • Big patient collections e.g. disease registers / electronic health record epidemiology particularly where Europe has special strengths (population based, rich clinical data, linkage to other datasets).
    Big blood- based biomarker and genomic collections which can situate the genomic and proteomic revolution in the context of what is already known epidemiologically.
  • Big geographical sweep by widening participation from, and scientific interest in, all member states of the ESC (which substantially exceeds EU membership) and beyond including China, Russia and India (where most CVD deaths occur).
  • Big scientists! The future of the Association as a showcase for cutting edge epidemiological research lies in the ability of today’s leaders to attract and inspire the young investigators who are the future of big population science.

Long live epidemiology!