The PHG Foundation's latest report, Epidemiology, Risk and Causation has just been released.
In 2007 the PHG Foundation began funding research into conceptual and methodological issues arising in connection with epidemiology and population health. In contrast to the focus of traditional bioethics, the aim of this research has been to explore methodological (rather than purely ethical) issues, concerning population (and not merely individual) health. These issues include the nature of causation, methods for causal inference, the nature and communication of risk, the proper use of statistical significance testing, and the social determinants of health.
The project described in the report was led by Dr Alex Broadbent and took place at the University of Cambridge. It produced a number of academic articles and included a series of workshops held at Cambridge during 2010. Papers presented there form the basis of a recent special section of the journal Preventive Medicine: ‘Epidemiology, Risk, and Causation’, Preventive Medicine 53(4-5), 213-59 (2011). A book on the philosophy of epidemiology by Dr Broadbent is now under contract with Palgrave Macmillan.
The report explains the goals and academic outputs of the project in more detail. In addition, a substantial portion is devoted to analysis of the key issues identified in the course of the research.
Dr Philippa Brice
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