- noun the study of diseases in the community, in particular how they spread and how they can be controlled
- (written as Epidemiology)The study of the relationship between risk factors and disease in human populations, including factors that can change the relationship, and the application of such analysis to the design and management of health care systems. Clinical epidemiology is studied in clinical settings, usually by clinician-epidemiologists, and usually with patients as subjects. Experimental epidemiology involves controlled experiments as in laboratory experiments or randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Social epidemiology concerns the social determinants of health and its distribution. Epidemiology of any of these kinds may be descriptive (which merely records the facts as they appear to be) or analytic (usually involving the development of and/or the testing of hypotheses). Of the three, social epidemiology can be the most normative and prescriptive.