Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 May 2022
Disasters have short and long-term negative effects on a large array of physical and mental health outcomes. Epidemiology offers a variety of tools and methodologies for conducting a needs assessment, surveillance, and longitudinal research aimed at identifying adverse outcomes and developing strategies for preventing disease and promoting health. The application of epidemiological methods has advanced our understanding of pervasive morbidity and mortality often experienced in the aftermath of disasters. Findings from epidemiological studies have implications for improving the allocation of resources and developing interventions targeting these adverse outcomes. In this chapter, we briefly highlight developments in the epidemiology of disasters. We present common study designs employed in disaster response and research and provide examples of applications of these methods in studying the consequences of the 1988 Spitak earthquake in Armenia. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of recent developments in research methodology and their potential implications for disaster researchers and public health practitioners focusing on prevention and mitigation.