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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: R William Field, PhD, MS (University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description: This is a well thought out and logically sequenced overview of the general concepts and research methods used in environmental epidemiology.
Purpose: According to the author, the book was developed as a primer for an introductory course in environmental epidemiology. While there are several other environmental epidemiology books available, this one is intended as a basic text.
Audience: The audience includes upper level undergraduate students, graduate students, and practicing public health workers. Dr. Merrill is an established professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at Brigham Young University. He is also the author of another basic textbook, Introduction to Epidemiology, 4th edition (Jones and Bartlett, 2006).
Features: The three major sections cover basic concepts and methods in environmental epidemiology; an overview of disease clusters, mapping and geographic information systems, and time series; and the direct application of epidemiologic methods to selected environmental concerns (e.g., air pollution, hazardous substances, global warming, etc.) and to areas of potential exposure (e.g., water-related, electromagnetic spectrum, etc.). Each chapter includes learning objectives, key issues, bolded key words, and study exercises. The concepts in each chapter are well supported using examples, figures, tables, and references. Five appendixes provide excellent reference material on an array of topics including data sources, selected statistical techniques and tests, a sample exposure history questionnaire, and answers to some of the study exercises. Instructors purchasing this book as the primary text for a course in environmental epidemiology will appreciate the supplemental online resources that include PowerPoint presentations for each chapter, an Instructor's Manual, and a Test Bank.
Assessment: The publication of this new book is a welcome addition to the rather small number of contemporary books that exist to aid the teaching of environmental epidemiology. Students will benefit from the user-friendly format of the book that inherently reinforces the major concepts.