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Clinical epidemiology 

Clinical epidemiology
Chapter:
Clinical epidemiology
Author(s):

Vivian A. Welch

, Kevin Pottie

, Tomás Pantoja

, Andrea C. Tricco

, and Peter Tugwell

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199661756.003.0114
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date: 19 September 2019

Clinical epidemiology is the science of critically appraising best available evidence, designing and conducting studies to answer health questions and extrapolating results from best available evidence to individual patients and populations. Global society has reached a level of interdependence wherein there is a need for sharing of public health and healthcare knowledge. It is also important to ensure an effective and fair distribution of intervention effects in the population to improve health equity. Clinical and public health professionals can be united in this effort through their common reliance on clinical epidemiology. Clinical epidemiology and its derivative-the evidence-based medicine movement-have many parallels with public health. Indeed, many clinicians with clinical epidemiology training have moved beyond clinical decision-making to focus on public health such as handwashing, HIV treatment and prevention, alaria bednet distribution, vaccination, and obesity prevention. A methods framework, the ‘equity-effectiveness iterative framework’, is used to demonstrate the interface between clinical epidemiology and public health, with special attention to ensuring that the health of the disadvantaged are explicitly considered. The focus is on evidence-based, action-oriented epidemiology that is based upon the health needs of the relevant community. Clinical epidemiology provides tools to appraise effectiveness where controversy exists about public health effects. Furthermore, clinical epidemiology tools are increasingly being applied to develop and evaluate knowledge translation strategies to move evidence about effectiveness on reducing health inequities into policy.

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