Erasmus Summer Programme Courses

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History of Epidemiologic Ideas [ESP53]

Course highlights



Start date

14 August 2017

End date

18 August 2017

Course days

Monday to Friday (5 mornings)

Course time

From 08:45 till 11:45


Prof. Alfredo Morabia

Course fee

€ 710


Erasmus MC, Rotterdam NL




No absolute pre-requisite but familiarity with the material taught in introductory and intermediate-level epidemiology courses is useful as the lectures move rapidly from basic to more advanced material.


  • Epidemiology

Course Materials

Online, download instructions will be sent in August by e-mail. A laptop is required.

Recommended books:

1) A History of Epidemiologic Methods and Concepts
• ISBN-10: 3764368187
• ISBN-13: 978-3764368180

2) Santé : distinguer croyances et connaissance,

• ISBN-10: 2738126286
• ISBN-13: 978-2738126283

Required textbook: A Morabia. Enigmas of Health and Disease. Columbia University Press, 2014,

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Detailed information about this course:


Faculty: Prof. Alfredo Morabia, MD PhD

This is a methodology course, which focuses on the historical evolution of methods (e.g., study designs) and concepts (e.g., confounding, bias, interaction and causal inference) that constitute today’s epidemiology. For each topic, we review and discuss the historical contexts and some landmark studies that led to specific innovations in terms of performance of group comparisons, population thinking and framing of hypotheses. We finally discuss the historical conditions for the emergence of epidemiology as a scientific discipline, the phases it went through and its potential, future developments.


- Describe the historical context of the emergence and the evolution of epidemiologic methods and concepts;
- Identify historical phases in the construction of theory for epidemiologic research;
- Identify landmark studies that led to specific innovations in terms of group comparisons, population thinking and framing of hypotheses;
- Integrate a historical perspective in your own teaching of epidemiology.