Epidemiology, the branch of medicine that deals with the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health, is arguably a complex field of study. This course introduces participants to epidemiology by exploring the history of causation, the definition of epidemiology and epidemiological evidence and process. With observational studies among the most common types of epidemiological studies, participants will explore the design, advantages and disadvantages of:
- case control;
- occupational epidemiological and cross-sectional studies; and
Evaluating the studies and understanding the analytical methods used to measure the strength of association are discussed, including:
- attributable risk;
- relative risk;
- odds ratio;
- standardized incident ration;
- standard mortality ratio;
- and errors
To further understand the study results, participants discuss statistical analyses and the factors that can affect the ability to detect an effect when one is present.
Problems (bias, misclassification, confounding and statistical variation) with epidemiological studies and the Bradford Hill criteria used to establish the minimal criteria to establish a causal relationship are explored and the limits of epidemiology, specifically how Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal considers epidemiological evidence, are discussed.