Epidemiology of Chronic and Communicable Diseases

Responsable de Grupo: Pilar Amiano Etxezarreta

Dep. Salud – Subdirección de Salud Pública de Gipuzkoa epicss-san@euskadi.eus
Ms. Pilar Amiano Etxezarreta has a Degree in Pharmacy from the University of Santiago de Compostela; Master’s Degree in Public Health and Environment, Free University of Brussels. Since 2019, she has been Leader of the Epidemiology of Chronic and Communicable Diseases Group at the Biodonostia HRI, in turn belonging to the Basque Government Sub-Office of Public Health and Addictions. Member of the Carlos III Health Institute Network Centre for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health, specialising in the Epidemiology of Non-Communicable and Chronic Diseases, and Nutritional Epidemiology. She is the Principal Researcher in Gipuzkoa of the European EPIC Project: European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and of the MCC-Spain study, Multicase-control, a cross-cutting project of CIBEResp. She has more than 300 publications in high-impact journals.
She collaborates in different sub-projects in the framework of the EPIC project (INTER-Act, PANACEA-project, ESCAPE, EPIC HEART and Neuro-Epic); nationally in the framework of the EPIC and MCC-Spain projects, and locally she is a member of the research team of the INMA (Environment and Childhood) project. Since March 2020, she also collaborates with the Epidemiology Unit of the Gipuzkoa Sub-Office of Public Health and Addictions, with the carrying out of Covid-19 case studies and contacts, the management of outbreaks within the community and interpreting results for the purposes of handling cases.

Strategic Objectives

  • To generate scientific knowledge that is directly relevant to controlling chronic diseases, which are the main causes of loss of health and the use of Health Services in Spain; also to generate scientific knowledge about these communicable diseases that can act as a base on which to support the actions carried out by the Health Authorities.
  • To promote cooperative research among different groups, encouraging collaboration between researchers and boosting the internationalisation of their activities, and to develop strategies to improve the researchers’ scientific capacities.
  • To assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the interventions carried out with a Public Health services perspective.
  • To foster the transfer of knowledge to the Health Service to help design and implement health policies.

Specific Objectives

Epidemiology and surveillance of communicable diseases:

  • Survey of seroprevalence in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.
  • Study of the effectiveness of the flu vaccine (cycEVA).
  • Tuberculosis and social inequality in Gipuzkoa in the period 2003-2009.
  • Study of the high incidence of cases of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.

Epidemiology and control of chronic diseases:

  • Strategy integrated into the municipal health area to promote physical exercise in fragile elderly people. Tipi-tapa.
  • Study of the distribution of COPD and asthma in Gipuzkoa.
  • Escape (European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects).
  • Assessment of the equity, variability and results between centres and Autonomous Communities in Spain.
  • Preparation of cancer profiles in different regions.
  • Socio-economic inequalities in the risk of cancer.
  • Assessment of the health and cost benefits at a population level of the early breast cancer detection programme in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.
  • MCC-SPAIN Population multi-case control study, including tumours with a high incidence in Spain.
  • Contaminants and cancer: biomarkers of exposure, genetic susceptibility and early damage markers.
  • Epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases. Linked with the EPIC-Heart and EPIC-CVD projects. Study of the association between alcohol consumption, meat/protein consumption, fish/omega-3 consumption and stroke in the Spanish cohort of the EPIC study.
  • Surveillance of accidents in people over the age of 64 and resident in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country through a lookout network.
  • Ageing and neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Social networks for elderly people: identification, characterisation and analysis of their relationship with lifestyle habits related to health.

Nutritional epidemiology:

  • Alcohol consumption and genetic susceptibility: Case-control study.
  • Development of EPic-soft: diet assessment methodology.

Main lines of research

  • Epidemiology and surveillance of infectious and communicable diseases:
    • Flu.
    • Vaccine-preventable diseases caused by viruses (measles, rubella and mumps) or bacteria (whooping cough, pneumococcal disease or meningococcal disease).
    • Epidemic outbreaks
    • Tuberculosis.
  • Epidemiology and Control of Chronic Diseases:
    • Environmental and genetic determining factors of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
    • Other chronic disorders of high social impact.
    • Eating habits and their effect on health.
    • Epidemiology and prevention of accidental injuries.
    • Assessment of quality of care and quality of life.
    • Inequalities in health according to social class, gender, geographical location and environment.
    • Epidemiology of neurodegenerative diseases. Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease and other cognitive disorders.
    • Genetic-environmental interaction in chronic diseases.
  • Nutritional epidemiology:
    • Diet and chronic diseases: cancer, cardiovascular or diabetes.
    • Research in methodology to assess diet: new instruments.
    • Assessment of diet in epidemiological case-control studies and cohorts.

Team Members

Name Surname Center E-mail
Eunate Abilleira Cillero Public Health Subdirection
Jone Miren Altzibar Arotzena Dep. Health – Osakidetza jonemiren.altzibararotzena@osakidetza.eus
Miguel Ángel Azpiri Luzar Dep. Health – Subdirection PH Gipuzkoa koor-tolosa@euskadi.eus
Leire Gil Majuelo Dep. Health – Subdirection PH Gipuzkoa l-gil@euskadi.eus
Jose Fernando Goñi Irigoyen Dep. Health – Subdirection PH Gipuzkoa   f-goni@euskadi.eus
Liher Imaz Goienetxea Dep. Health – Subdirection PH Gipuzkoa l-imazgoienetxea@euskadi.eus
Olatz Mokoroa Carollo Dep. Health – Subdirection PH Gipuzkoa o-mokoroa@euskadi.eus
Rosa María Sancho Martínez Dep. Health – Subdirection PH Gipuzkoa r-sanchomartinez@euskadi.eus
Cristina Sarasqueta Eizaguirre Biodonostia HRI cristina.sarasquetaeizaguirre@osakidetza.eus
Carmen Urtiaga Martín Dep. Health – Subdirection PH Gipuzkoa koor-zarautz@euskadi.eus


Scientific Output


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