What is Epidemiology in Public Health?

URL 1:

Date Developed: Unknown. Source: Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. Presenter(s): Victoria Holt, PhD, MPH, RN. Type: n.a.. Level: Introductory. Length: 45 minutes.


This module describes the role of epidemiology in public health. It begins with a definition of epidemiology, as well as an introduction to the difference between descriptive and analytic epidemiology. Next, it describes the core concepts that define epidemiology, as well as a brief history of the field. The module also covers determinants (agent, host and environment), and describes the most common uses of epidemiology in the field of public health: surveillance, disease investigation, and community health assessment, screening, and intervention programs. Learning is reinforced using SIDS as an example, providing short exercises during the lecture, and requiring participants to complete a final assessment.

Learning Objectives

• Describe the components of the definition of epidemiology.

• Recognize and explain basic epidemiologic concepts, principles, and terms.

• List and describe six examples of the use of epidemiology in public health practice.

Special Instructions

Registration to the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice is required. Look to the right of the screen and click "Register in PHLearnLink".

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $180,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.