35 Bridging the biostatistics-epidemiology gap



  • As stated at the very beginning of this chapter, the science of biostatistics and epidemiology are as much apart from each other as they are intertwined. This chapter has discussed a brief history of both biostatistics and epidemiology, pointed to common aspects which interlink biostatistics and epidemiology, highlighted some gaps between biostatistics and epidemiology, and considered ideas for helping to bridge the gap between biostatistics and epidemiology. The topic of bridging the gap between biostatistics and epidemiology is very broad and simply cannot be covered fully in a mere chapter. Hence, the ideas and points discussed by the author on this topic are not comprehensive and should be augmented with supplemental information such as Sen (1994). In both biostatistics and epidemiology, there is a lack of consensus on a broad range of topics and ideas, so that a comprehensive review on the topic of bridging the gap between biostatistics and epidemiology would be an extremely large undertaking. The ideas expressed by me are undoubtedly flavored by my background as a biostatistician who has spent many years doing both public health biostatistics and clinical biostatistics. I clearly understand that due to the broad nature of biostatistics and epidemiology, I may have only scratched the surface on this topic. Input of experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the biological and health sciences will be required to piece together a more complete picture in helping to bridge the gap between biostatistics and epidemiology. The approach to research into human diseases and their causes has to be a holistic one. The multidimensionality of the health issues facing the world requires a multidisciplinary approach, one which encompasses professionals trained in medicine, public health, environmental research, social work, psychology, economics, law, and many others. Collaboration between academia, private industry, government, and nonprofit agencies will be necessary to effectively provide solutions to the myriad of difficult health issues facing the world. Both biostatistics and epidemiology have played, are playing, and are expected to play a key role in providing solutions to understanding relationships between diseases and risk factors. Though there will perhaps always be gaps between biostatistics and epidemiology, we must stride to make sure that key gaps are narrowed or even eliminated so that biostatistics and epidemiology will continue to thrive in unison well into the 21-st century. © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 1029
  • End Page

  • 1057
  • Volume

  • 18