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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mark G.A. Lebeck, MS (University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description: This book encompasses three critical elements of public health education and each edition has focused on current advances/issues within each discipline. It works as an educational source for students in the health professions, but also provides educators with a practical addition to any public health curricula. The second edition was published in 2001.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a comprehensive overview of the fields of epidemiology, biostatistics, and preventive medicine while taking into consideration the major recent developments worthy of incorporation and emphasis since the previous edition's publication. The authors' objective to emphasize current pertinent public health issues is met by the inclusion of a variety of recent developments.
Audience: According to the authors, this book is intended to be a source of information to not only medical students, but other healthcare professionals who wish to study these topics on their own or for review in preparation for medical board examinations. As a graduate student focusing on infectious disease epidemiology, I would add that this book is an excellent reference for students seeking careers in public health research and administration.
Features: The section devoted to epidemiology not only covers the fundamental concepts of the discipline, but also looks at standard epidemiologic research design, surveillance, and outbreak investigation procedures, as well as interpretation of study results. The biostatistics section provides a good overview of basic statistical concepts used in the data analysis of study results. Chapter 12 is of particular import as it explains sample size considerations, the concept of randomization, and probability theory. The final section on preventive medicine and public health is concerned with the concepts of screening and prevention efforts, as well as issues surrounding public health impact and the factors influencing healthcare policy. As a student, what I found most effective are the end-of-chapter summaries with subsequent review questions. The answers give excellent explanations, furthering the learning experience.
Assessment: I would recommend this book to any student pursuing a career in the health sciences. I only wish I was aware of the previous editions at the beginning of my master's work in order to supplement the required course readings. The review of the material in this book has been of great benefit in my preparation for doctoral entrance exams. The question/answer sections at the end of each chapter and the end-of-book comprehensive exam are the biggest factors in my recommendation of this book to students and health professionals. The book reads easily and provides a practical approach to self-tutoring, while demonstrating the synergism among the three fields of study. The latest edition is most certainly justified based on recent public health developments.