|This is the fifth of six programs in the FJC's Science in the Courtroom series. Dr. Leon Gordis, Professor of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, explains the basic principles of epidemiology, the field of public heath and medicine that studies the incidence, distribution, and causes of disease in human populations. Judges and juries are frequently presented with epidemiological evidence as the basis of an expert's opinion on causation in toxic tort cases. |
Dr. Gordis distinguishes the different types of study designs commonly used by epidemiologists. He then discusses how the results of epidemiologic studies can be interpreted, what sources of error might produce a false result in a study, how to evaluate the credentials of an epidemiologist who is a potential expert witness, and the role epidemiology plays in establishing general and specific causation. Dr. Gordis is a coauthor of the "Reference Guide on Epidemiology" in the Center's Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence (2d ed.).