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Conclusion: Epidemiology and What Matters Most 

Conclusion: Epidemiology and What Matters Most
Conclusion: Epidemiology and What Matters Most

Katherine M. Keyes

and Sandro Galea

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date: 05 August 2020

Epidemiology has a foundational responsibility to improve the health of populations. This concluding chapter advocates for a consequentialist view toward epidemiologic research questions. The chapter explains the consequentialist approach to epidemiology and leaves the reader with several key messages from the book overall. This includes the trade-off between comparability and external validity that epidemiologists must sometime make; the concept of small effects translating to large improvements in population health and the implications of this for public health planning and study evaluation; and finally, the chapter discusses epidemiology within the global context of health and disease and whether the effect estimates obtained in epidemiologic studies translate into actual cases of illness and disease that may be prevented through public health action.

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