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DESCRIPTIVE EPIDEMIOLOGY for Public Health Professionals Part 1. Ian R.H. Rockett, PhD, MPH Department of Community Medicine West Virginia University School of Medicine. Prepared under the auspices of the Southeast Public Health Training Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2005.
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Ian R.H. Rockett, PhD, MPH
Department of Community Medicine
West Virginia University School of Medicine
Prepared under the auspices of the Southeast Public Health Training Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2005.
To introduce some key historical contributors to the evolution of epidemiology
To present basic models of disease and injury
To address data sources, classification, and measurement
To build a bridge between descriptive and analytic epidemiology
To be sensitive to the history of epidemiology against the background of broad population change
To identify mortality and morbidity data sources
To calculate basic measures
To generate hypotheses from descriptive data
Source: Joseph A. McFalls, Jr. Population: A Lively Introduction. Third edition. Population Bulletin 53(3); 1998: 38.
The demographic transition framework illustrates population growth in terms of discrepancies and changes in two crude vital rates – mortality and fertility (ignores the third component of growth, migration)
epi – upon
The scientific study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations, and the application of resulting knowledge to the prevention and control of health problems
An accessible low-technology science, which incorporates the “scientific method, analogic thinking, deductive reasoning, problem solving within constraints, and concern for aesthetic values”
David Fraser, New England Journal of Medicine, 316(6); 1987:309-314.
On Airs, Waters, and Places (5th century BCE)
miasm– pathogenic emanation dispersed in the atmosphere
(malaria – bad ‘air’)
contagion – vehicle of person-to- person disease transmission(forerunner of germ theory)
Source: Ian R.H. Rockett. Population and Health: An Introduction to Epidemiology. Second edition. Population Bulletin 54(4); 1999: 6.