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Kimball's failed replication of Reinhart-Rogoff finding cited in argument for tempered public response to social science research results

Edin and Shaefer's book on destitute families in America reviewed in NYT

Johnston says rate of daily marijuana use among college students now greater than rate of daily cigarette smoking

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Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

David Lam is new director of Institute for Social Research

Elizabeth Bruch wins Robert Merton Prize for paper in analytic sociology

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 12
Joe Grengs, Policy & Planning for Social Equity in Transportation

psc brown bag iconThe Acute Problem of Chronic Disease in Twentieth Century Epidemiology

Aaron Mauck (School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Research Fellow, Epidemiology)

09/19/2011, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

archived video

The early twentieth century marked a moment of triumph for public health, as bacteriological tools developed in the laboratory were put to work in the field to control many infectious diseases. But the declining death rate from infection exacerbated incipient professional anxiety over diseases that persisted, especially chronic diseases lacking an apparent infectious cause. Anecdotal evidence had long suggested that such diseases were on the rise, although the origins, extent, and implications of this increase remained hotly debated. Researchers looking to better understand the threat such diseases posed were confronted with serious methodological challenges, many of which were overcome by reorienting public health research away from the laboratory towards increasingly complex population-based studies. In designing these studies, researchers often sought the advice of social science experts who lacked formal training in public health, but were statistically adept and familiar with a range of survey techniques. This collaboration between social scientists and public health researchers proved instrumental in raising the profile of chronic disease as a pressing public health concern. In this talk, I will discuss how the techniques of epidemiological research were developed in response to three widely-discussed chronic diseases of the twentieth century— cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Despite significant advances in our understanding of these conditions, many of the methodological problems researchers identified early in the twentieth century have never been adequately resolved, and remain a source of interesting research questions.


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