A Pocket Guide to Epidemiology

A Stand-Alone Introduction Derived from the ActivEpi Web and the Companion Textbook

By David G. Kleinbaum     Kevin M. Sullivan     Nancy D. Barker 

Following publication of the ActivEpi CD-ROM (the predecessor to ActivEpi Web) and ActivEpi Companion Textbook, we authors received several suggestions from instructors of introductory epidemiology courses as well as health and medical professionals to produce an abbreviated version that narrows the discussion to the most “essential” principles and methods. Instructors expressed to us their concern that the material covered by the CD-ROM (and likewise, the ActivEpi Web and the ActivEpi Companion Text), was too comprehensive to conveniently fit the amount of time available in an introductory course. Professionals expressed their desire for a more economically time-consuming version that would conveniently fit their “after hours” availability.

To address these suggestions, we have herewith produced A Pocket Guide to Epidemiology, which provides a much shorter, more “essential” version of the material covered by the ActivEpi Web and the Companion Text. We realize that determining what is “essential” is not a simple task, especially since, from our point of view, the original ActivEpi Web was already restricted to “essential” topics. Nevertheless, to produce this text, we decided to remove from ActivEpi Web a great many fine points of explanation and complicated topics/issues about epidemiologic principles and methods, with our primary goal a “quicker read”.

A Pocket Guide to Epidemiology contains less than half as many pages as the ActivEpi Companion Text. We have continued to include in A Pocket Guide many of the study questions and quizzes that are provided in each Chapter (i.e., Lesson) of the ActivEpi Web, but we have eliminated homework exercises and computer exercises from ActivEpi Web. Nevertheless, we indicate throughout A Pocket Guide how and where the interested reader can turn to the ActivEpi Web (or the Companion Text) to pursue more detailed information.

We authors view A Pocket Guide to Epidemiology as a stand-alone introductory text on the basic principles and concepts of epidemiology. Our primary audience for this text is the public health student or professional, clinician, health journalist, and anyone else at any age or life experience that is interested in learning what epidemiology is all about in a convenient, easy to understand format with timely, real-world health examples. We believe that the reader of this text will also benefit from using the multi-media learner-interactive features of the ActivEpi Web to further clarify and enhance what is covered in this more abbreviated (non-electronic) text. Nevertheless, we suggest that, on its own, A Pocket Guide to Epidemiology will provide the interested reader with a comfortable, time-efficient and enjoyable introduction to epidemiology.



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    Dr Kleinbaum (CDC/EIS) comedy skit