While many people think that choosing a career related to the health field would make them stay away from math, the truth is that it’s impossible to not use it. Think about it! Now that many countries are developing vaccines for COVID-19, mathematicians worldwide are contributing to the understanding of the epidemic.
How is math related to health?
According to the CDC, epidemiology is the method used to find the causes of health outcomes and diseases in populations. To break it down further, it’s the study (scientific, systematic, and data-driven) of the distribution (frequency, pattern) and determinants (causes, risk factors) of diseases, exposures and events (like natural disasters). In what environments? Epidemiology studies populations that include neighborhoods, schools, cities, states, countries and global scales. Epidemiology also governs the control and treatment of health problems (Source: Principles of Epidemiology, 3rd Edition).
So how does math particularly relate to epidemiology? Researchers analyze existing data (such as behaviors and their outcomes) and build models to create new scenarios to predict a number infections in a population. During this process, researchers apply mathematical analysis to build solid, working models for forecasting future outbreaks.
Empiric Empire – A math video game about a pandemic
In our latest game, Empiric Empire, you have landed in the Aztec Empire. It’s the Year 1520 and you are on the outskirts of what was–well I suppose, what right now–is one of the greatest cities in the world: Tenochtitlan. In this game, you’ll learn middle school math through the context of public health science.
We’re super-excited to release Empiric Empire not just because we love exciting educational video games, but because we know that it will help students understand the importance of mathematics as it applies to reality. Whether our students want to become doctors, epidemiologists, mathematicians or whatever they dream of, it all starts with learning mathematics.