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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UNC: Westreich Publishes New Text to Teach Epidemiology Through Causality

Dr. Daniel Westreich, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, has authored a new textbook for first-year graduate and advanced undergraduate students in the fields of epidemiology and public health. Epidemiology by Design: A Causal Approach to the Health Sciences, published in November by Oxford University Press, is an introductory text that explores the foundations of epidemiology through the lens of causal inference – the science and philosophy that addresses understanding the differences between correlation and causation, particularly when evidence from randomized trials cannot be relied upon.

Causal inference has long been thought to be at the heart of epidemiology and public health research. It helps identify opportunities for health interventions, shape public health policy, and determine how to increase or decrease exposure to certain beneficial or harmful agents in order to improve health.

Dr. Westreich’s new book is the first introductory textbook that frames fundamental, first-semester epidemiologic methods through a modern causal inference lens.

“The study of epidemiology is, to a large extent, about learning to ask good questions in population health,” Dr. Westreich states in the overview of the text.

Through the analysis of study designs that apply a causal approach, Dr. Westreich’s goal in Epidemiology by Design is to arm students new to epidemiology with the tools to ask better questions that will produce more relevant data and ultimately improve public health outcomes.

“I’m excited to share this textbook with students as well as anyone who wants to reexamine the fundamental methods of epidemiology through a causal lens,” said Dr. Westreich.

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