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Welcome Note

Welcome to Porto Alegre, Brazil and the XVIII IEA World Congress of Epidemiology in 2008!

Epidemiology in Brazil is young and enthusiastic. Its style of practice in this large Latin America country has unique features. As a key arm of ABRASCO, the Brazilian Association of Collective Health, epidemiology is committed to the public’s health and to the construction of a strong national health system offering universal coverage. As the organizers of the Brazilian Congress of Epidemiology in 2008, we extend a warm invitation to the IEA and its members to join us, placing its 2008 encounter within this vibrant Brazilian context.

Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre, our venue, is an attractive site for a successful international meeting. Though perhaps lacking a bit of the hustle and bustle of larger Brazilian cities, Porto Alegre, with its million and a half inhabitants, is a modern metropolis. Capital of Brazil’s southernmost state, its population reflects the mixture of German and Italian immigrants of the 1800s with earlier immigrants from the Azores and the gauchos, descents of the region’s Portuguese, Spanish, indigenous and African settlers.
The city’s features can charm its visitors. The sun setting over the Guaíba estuary; its parks and tree-lined streets, its multicultural scenario, including a rich gastronomy reflecting its many pasts, and the gaucho hospitality are just a few of its attractions. With the FIERGS convention center, a modern facility with capacity to hold meetings of over 5000 participants, Porto Alegre has attracted many national and international events over the last 15 years, including four encounters of the World Social Forum.

Our Theme

Our theme: Epidemiology in the Construction of Health for All: Tools for a Changing World will highlight the following issues:

Construction: Epidemiology is one of several disciplines, and epidemiologists one of several categories of social actors involved in improving population health. The word construction emphasizes the key role of epidemiology, a discipline which integrates those around it, in this multi- and trans-disciplinarity task.

Health for All: In reemphasizing this now traditional motto, we highlight epidemiology’s role at national and local levels in developing, maintaining and renovating systems offering health care to whole populations. Within this context, issues related to equity and to inclusion of disadvantaged population groups are essential. The recent Brazilian experience with a universal health system will be highlighted.

Tools: Epidemiology is largely about tools for studying disease frequency, for establishing exposure-disease relationships, for testing health interventions and for evaluating health systems. The idea of tools also extends to the construction and evaluation of preventive and curative health services, so as to permit health workers at all levels to provide evidence-based care.

Changing World: The Congress will highlight the many changes occurring in the early 21st Century: demographic and epidemiological transitions; environmental alterations; the growth in research capacity for addressing health problems around the world; and the widening gap in health status between the rich and poor found both between and within nations and accompanied by a global divide in access to the benefits of scientific progress.

Possible topics are:.

  • Collaboration between epidemiology and other research disciplines
  • Epidemiologists and policy-makers: how to work together
  • Access to scientific information
  • Epidemiology and the Millennium Development Goals
  • Epidemiology and primary health care
  • International and intra-national inequalities in health
  • What can other countries learn from the successes and failures of the Brazilian experience?
  • Epidemiology in health systems and policy research
  • Epidemiology in the development, implementation and evaluation of clinical and public health guidelines
  • Epidemiological methods for decentralized health management
  • Translation of research findings into practice
  • Health promotion, disease prevention and surveillance for non-communicable diseases
  • New paradigms for disease causation: from the molecule to the population
  • Life course epidemiology
  • Global trends in health and in its determinants
  • New exposures and new diseases
  • Terrorism and violence: threats to public health
  • The eminence of new pandemics
  • Environmental change and public health
  • Managing noncommunicable diseases in low and middle-income countries
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