Data Science and Public Health
Data science is an emerging field that blends techniques from computer science, statistics, and epidemiology, among other domains. Data science often focuses on large or novel data sources and the application of sophisticated mathematical methods such as machine learning or natural language processing. New data science approaches show promise in addressing critical public health needs, including injury and violence prevention. These approaches can help improve the timeliness of health information, respond to public health threats earlier, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of prevention campaigns.
Public health data science blends techniques [PDF – 1 page] from computer science, statistics, and epidemiology to extract insights from data
The Injury Center’s Data Science Strategy outlines the goals and activities being pursed to improve CDC’s data science work in injury and violence prevention. To advance these goals, the Injury Center will strengthen its internal data science workforce, expand public health partnerships, advance information technology infrastructure, and increase investments in data science activities.
The Injury Center’s specific goals include:
- Expand the availability and utility of more timely data for injury and violence prevention
- Improve rapid identification of health threats and response to communities
- Increase access to accurate health information and prevent misinformation
- Enhance the usefulness of current data systems by improving data linkage
- Share information in compelling, useful, and accessible ways
- Advance ethical practices for data science for injury and violence prevention
- Increase efficiency of analytic and scientific processes for injury and violence prevention
- Evaluate promising state and local data science efforts for injury prevention and expand the capacity of state and local health partners in data science methodologies
Advancing Safe Reporting on Suicide: CDC partnered with Facebook to better understand adherence to suicide reporting guidelines in news articles shared on social media. The work resulted in the first scientific evidence that greater adherence to suicide reporting guidelines in news articles not only is beneficial for the health of individuals but also increases publisher reach and engagement—helping to motivate better use of safe reporting practices for suicide news online.