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An Introduction 

An Introduction
An Introduction

Katherine M. Keyes

and Sandro Galea

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date: 05 August 2020

Epidemiology is the science of understanding the causes and distribution of population health so that we may intervene to prevent disease and promote health. This chapter outlines the role of epidemiology as a public health science, describes the evolution of epidemiology as a discipline, and explains our philosophy of teaching introductory epidemiologic concepts. The chapter provides an overview of the seven steps for conducting an epidemiologic study, which will form the underlying architecture of the fourteen chapters of the book, including identify a population of interest; measure exposure and health indicators; take a sample; estimate measures of association between exposures and health indicators; rigorously evaluate whether the association observed is causal; assess the evidence for causes working together; and assess the external validity of epidemiologic study results across populations.

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