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Open Education Initiative at Virginia Tech


Epidemiology is an openly licensed text designed for medical degree–seeking clinical students without a prior background in public health. Using sports medicine and injury prevention examples and applications, it aims to provide students with the basics of epidemiology terms and concepts and is intended to guide medical school students as they prepare for the USMLE Step 1 Exam and to transition from student to clinician. It includes an introduction to general concepts and terminology of epidemiology, study designs and their relationship to clinical questions, and the use of epidemiology in clinical diagnosis and screening of disease. Concluding sections of the book present sources of errors in epidemiologic studies, including bias, confounding, and effect modification. The book is notable for its use of accessible, inclusive figures and examples, and end-of-chapter study guides that summarize the chapter visually.

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How to access the book

ISBN (PDF): 978-1-957213-63-7
ISBN (Pressbooks): 978-1-957213-65-1
ISBN (EPUB): 978-1-957213-64-4
ISBN (print): 978-1-957213-62-0

Table of contents

  1. Epidemiology in Sum
  2. Measuring Things in Epidemiology
  3. Study Designs
  4. Diagnostics and Screening
  5. The Wrecking Ball: Bias, Confounding, Interaction and Effect Modification

About the author
Charlotte Baker, DrPH, MPH, CPH
Charlotte is the director of Epidemiology and Health Equity Lead at Truveta. She was formerly a member of the faculty in the Virginia Tech Data and Decisions Destination Area and PI of the analytic epidemiology I-SPY DATA Lab in the Department of Population Health Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. As a certified data nerd, her research lab and consulting efforts prioritize bridging the methodological and data gaps in sports injury research by using advanced statistical analysis and large data sets, especially to address disparities in sport and recreation caused by social and structural determinants of health. A former epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, her favorite use of data includes helping communities improve themselves, keeping kids safe when being physically active, and helping all of us to live our best (and healthy) lives no matter where we started.

Project support
Support for editorial work, graphic design, accessibility, publication assistance, and project management was provided by the Open Education Initiative of the University Libraries at Virginia Tech.

Suggested citation
Baker, Charlotte (2023). Epidemiology. Blacksburg: Charlotte Baker. https://doi.org/10.21061/epidemiology. Licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

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Virginia Tech is committed to making its publications accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Open Education Initiative is committed to continuous improvement regarding accessibility. The text, images, headings, and links in the PDF and HTML versions of this text are tagged structurally and include alternative text, which allows for machine readability. Please contact openeducation@vt.edu if you are a person with a disability and have suggestions to make this book more accessible.

Cover image: Clay Banks via Unsplash | Unsplash license
Illustration and cover design: Kindred Grey