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Modern Epidemiology

Steven D. Helgerson, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1987;258(3):389-390. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400030105047.
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Modern Epidemiology is a good book. In a thorough, usually clear manner, Rothman presents the topics an epidemiologist must understand to practice and teach epidemiology correctly.

The first third of the book concerns basic epidemiologic concepts such as the meaning of causal inference, ways to measure and assess disease frequency, and strategies for choosing and using types of epidemiologic studies. The discussion of these basic concepts is not superficial; in fact, many public health specialists would benefit from careful reading of these insight-filled chapters. Chapter 5, which describes direct and indirect standardization and compares the two techniques, is an especially good example of the author's ability to select contemporary illustrations and develop thought-provoking critique. His mastery of epidemiologic concepts is evidenced further in the discussion of bias and confounding in chapter 7.

The final two thirds of the book focuses on data analysis. The chapters are not those of a


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