This article of the International Epidemiological Association commissioned paper series stocktakes the population health and status of epidemiology in 21 of the 53 countries of the WHO European Region. Published data were used to describe population health indicators and risk factors. Epidemiological training and research was assessed based on author knowledge, information searches and E-mail survey of experts. Bibliometric analyses determined epidemiological publication outputs.
Between-country differences in life expectancy, amount and profile of disease burden and prevalence of risk factors are marked. Epidemiological training is affected by ongoing structural reforms of educational systems. Training is advanced in Israel and several Eastern European countries. Epidemiological research is mainly university-based in most countries, but predominantly conducted by governmental research institutes in several countries of the former Soviet Union. Funding is generally external and limited, partially due to competition from and prioritization of biomedical research. Multiple relevant professional societies exist, especially in
Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Few of the region’s 39 epidemiological academic journals have international currency. The number of epidemiological publications per population is highest for Israel and lowest for South-Central Asian countries.
Epidemiological capacity will continue to be heterogeneous across the region and depend more on countries’ individual historical, social, political and economic conditions and contexts than their epidemiologists’ successive efforts