Epidemiology is the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health-determinant patterns in a population. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive medicine. Epidemiologists are involved in the design of studies, collection and statistical analysis of data, and interpretation and dissemination of results (including peer review and occasional systematic review). Major areas of epidemiological work include outbreak investigation, disease surveillance and screening (medicine), biomonitoring, and comparisons of treatment effects such as in clinical trials. Epidemiologists rely on a number of other scientific disciplines such as biology (to better understand disease processes), biostatistics (to make efficient use of the data and draw appropriate conclusions), and exposure assessment and social science disciplines (to better understand proximate and distal risk factors, and their measurement).
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