Population Health: Concepts and Methods

Population Health: Concepts and Methods

Population Health: Concepts and Methods

Population Health: Concepts and Methods

Synopsis

Population health encompasses traditional public health and preventive medicine but emphasises the full range of health determinants affecting the entire population rather than only ill or high-risk individuals. The population health approach integrates the social and biological, the quantitative and qualitative, recognising the importance of social and cultural factors in practice and research. Incorporates many new topics that reflect changes in contemporary public health concerns and our response to them; as well as shifts in research directionsNew or expanded discussions of confidence intervals for commonly used rates, the impact of population aging on mortality trends, health survey questionnaires, summary measures of population health, the new International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, migrant studies, race and ethnicity, psychoneuroendocrine pathways, social epidemiology, risk perception, communicating the SARS epidemic, ecologic studies, the odds radio, paticipatory research, suicide, evidence-based community interventions, evaluation methods and health economics, the Cochrane Collaboration, and systemic reviewsContents:IntroductionMeasuring Health and Disease in Populations (I)Measuring Health and Disease in Populations (II)Modeling Determinants of Population HealthAssessing Health Risks in PopulationsDesigning Population Health StudiesPlanning Population Health InterventionsEvaluation of Health Programs for PopulationsImproving Health of PopulationsIndex

Excerpt

Why the term population health was chosen as the title of this textbook is explained in some detail in Chapter 1. The book is intended for introductory and intermediate courses in epidemiology community health, or related course work given primarily in schools or graduate programs of public health. It arose from a graduate course on the principles of epidemiology that I have taught for over 10 years, first at the University of Manitoba, and more recently at the University of Toronto. Despite the proliferation of epidemiology texts, I have had surprising difficulty finding one that suits the needs of students who intend to work in public health, health planning, or program management. These students should be exposed to the excitement of both research and practice. Numerous editorials and articles in recent years have lamented the “drifting away” of epidemiology from its roots in public health. Indeed, there are books on epidemiology where “population” does not matter, and where “health” is not even a focus. It is also increasingly evident that epidemiology as a quantitative science alone is an inadequate tool to understand or to investigate the full complexities of the health of populations.

In writing this book, I have had an ambitious aim: to spark the development of a new type of interdisciplinary, broadly based foundation course in population health. Such a course would, for sure, have epidemiology as its core, but this would be integrated with the methods and concepts of relevant social sciences and the humanities, including demography, sociology, anthropology, history, and ethics. The course would focus on defining and measuring population health status, determining health risks and inferring causation, and planning and evaluating interventions.

This book does not intend to replace the standard encyclopedic texts in public health. It is not meant to be a reference text, and I would actually recommend that it be read from cover to cover. Doing so is not to indulge the author in his delusion, but to enable students to take a guided tour of the entire field (with some detours) and to get a good grasp of its key features.

Extensive use is made of boxes throughout the text. These provide explanations of technical terms—etymology, nuance, and usage; worked examples of computations using actual data; supplementary information to . . .

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