Epidemiology by Design: A Causal Approach to the Health Sciences

Epidemiology by Design: A Causal Approach to the Health Sciences
1st Ed.
2020 © Oxford University Press
Daniel Westreich
Epidemiology, Evidence Based Medicine



Epidemiology is recognized as the science of public health, evidence-based medicine, and comparative effectiveness research. Causal inference is the theoretical foundation underlying all of the above. No introduction to epidemiology is complete without extensive discussion of causal inference; what's missing is a textbook that takes such an approach.

Epidemiology by Design takes a causal approach to the foundations of traditional introductory epidemiology. Through an organizing principle of study designs, it teaches epidemiology through modern causal inference approaches, including potential outcomes, counterfactuals, and causal identification conditions.

Coverage in this textbook includes:

  • • Introduction to measures of prevalence and incidence (survival curves, risks, rates, odds) and measures of contrast (differences, ratios); the fundamentals of causal inference; and principles of diagnostic testing, screening, and surveillance
  • • Description of three key study designs through the lens of causal inference: randomized trials, prospective observational cohort studies, and case-control studies
  • • Discussion of internal validity (within a sample), external validity, and population impact: the foundations of an epidemiologic approach to implementation science

For first-year graduate students and advanced undergraduates in epidemiology and public health fields more broadly, Epidemiology by Design offers a rigorous foundation in epidemiologic methods and an introduction to methods and thinking in causal inference. This new textbook will serve as a foundation not just for further study of the field, but as a head start on where the field is going.

Doody's Reviews

Doody's Core Titles (DCT)
Score: 96/100
4/5 Stars
Specialty Score: 2.87 Health Sciences - Epidemiology
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Quotes, Reviews or Testimonials

"This book adds to the existing collection of epidemiology books by incorporating causal inference while introducing and explaining new topics. This is an ideal text for aspiring health services researchers, clinician-scientists, and epidemiologists looking to begin learning about conducting and appraising health sciences research. Explanations provide a thorough introduction to the field, and references provide pathways to continue study."

-- Morgan Swanson, BS (University of Iowa College of Public Health) Doody's Review


This book is geared toward learners beginning their epidemiologic or clinical investigation/research training. The author is an epidemiologist with impressive research, teaching, and journal/editorial experience. Peer reviewers include many seminal leaders in the field.

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