Overview and History of Epidemiology

by Raywat Deonandan, PhD

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    00:00 Hello and welcome to epidemiology, one of the most exciting and fastest-growing of the medical sciences, of course I'm biased, I'm an epidemiologist, but maybe after you hear a little bit about it you'll feel the same way as me. The thing about epidemiology that makes it so fascinating is first of all, in my opinion, it's the only medical science that probably doesn't involve a lot of medicine and also some epidemiologist are sort of like medical detectives. They are on the ground collecting data, talking to people, solving mysteries about what causes diseases in a population. It can be quite sexy, quite exciting, kind of like a police investigator, except around medicine. So today we're going to learn about the differences between descriptive and analytical studies in epidemiology, we're going to learn a little bit about the historical origins of epidemiology, where it came from and maybe even where it's going. And we're also going to learn a little bit about the triumphs of epidemiology, because I think it's important to brag a little bit about the things that we've done for society over the last couple of hundred years.

    01:00 So when we talk about epidemiology, it's traditional to define at first, it's difficult to define however. This is one particularly popular definition, it's offered by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta Georgia and they say that epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease or health status in a population, okay. Wikipedia offers a little more complicated definition, calling it the branch of medicine that deals with incidences, distribution and so forth, I would add in prevalence and mortality and so forth, it gets complicated pretty fast and pretty dry. Most text book definitions of epidemiology land somewhere between the two poles, the CDC and Wikipedia, I will offer you another definition. In my opinion, it's the science of science, or if you want to be a little dryer, it's the science of looking at the health of populations, rather than of individuals. Hopefully this will all be clear to you when we're done with the lecture.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Overview and History of Epidemiology by Raywat Deonandan, PhD is from the course Epidemiology and Biostatistics: Introduction.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. The study and analysis of the distribution and determinants of health status and disease in defined populations.
    2. An area for study, research, and practice that prioritizes improving health and achieving health equity for all people worldwide.
    3. A medical specialty devoted to comprehensive health care for people of all ages.
    4. A branch of medicine that deals with healthcare issues affecting communities as a whole.
    5. A branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of pain.

    Author of lecture Overview and History of Epidemiology

     Raywat Deonandan, PhD

    Raywat Deonandan, PhD

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