1. Define epidemiology.
Epidemiology is the study of how disease is distributed in populations and the factors that influence or determine that distribution. Epidemiology is the a cornerstone methodology of public health research, and is highly regarded in evidence-based medicine for identifying risk factors for disease and determining optimal treatment approaches to clinical practice.
2. List four objectives of epidemiology.
a. determine the etiology of disease b. determine the extent of the disease in a population c. study the natural history of disease d. evaluate existing and newly developed preventive and/or therapeutic measures e. provide the foundation for the development of public health policy
3. Describe the importance of epidemiology in clinical medicine.
Epidemiology provides population data for clinical practice, and often leads the diagnosis, treatment, knowledge of prognosis, etc. of disease. This facet of medicine, as dependent on epidemiologic fact can be both helpful and detrimental to clinical practice. Epidemiology studies populations, and therefore percentages and probabilities; medicine treats individuals, any of whom could fall outside the scope of epidemiologic study.