Key Concepts in Public Health identifies fifty key concepts used across the discipline of public health in order to give the reader a broad perspective of the core topics relevant to training and practice. From epidemiology to health promotion, and ethics to leadership, the book offers an exciting guide to the multiprofessional field. Each entry features a snapshot definition of the concept, a broader discussion addressing the main issues and links to practice, key points relevant to the entry, case studies to illustrate the application to practice, and examples of further reading.

Principles of Epidemiology

Principles of epidemiology
Hamed A.Adetunji


Epidemiology is the scientific way to study the occurrence as well as the causes of disease or health-related events in the population. It is the basic science underpinning public health and other clinical investigations. According to Last (2007), epidemiology is defined as ‘the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations and the application of this study to control of health problems’.

Key Points


  • measures disease frequency to quantify it;
  • assesses disease distribution to answer ‘to whom’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ disease occurs;
  • identifies what determines who gets or does not get disease.


Epidemiology is central to the development of public health practice. Its application in public health includes: to assess the need for healthcare services in the community; ...

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