Epidemiology and Population Health

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution, determinants, and control of illness and impairment in human populations. It is the cornerstone of population health and informs policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for treatment and prevention. The Department of Epidemiology and Population Health (EPH) provides the analytical foundation for research conducted at the Stanford School of Medicine, offering expertise, research, and training on collecting and interpreting the scientific evidence essential to improving human health. 

The scholars within EPH conduct a wide variety of health-related research. Using observational and experimental research methods, our scholars uncover environmental, social, genetic, and behavioral factors to aid in human disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Further, the faculty train physician investigators in techniques of clinical research and are committed to advancing knowledge in epidemiology and population health through educational programs for undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students. 

Recent News

Parental deaths due to guns or drugs harmed nearly 100,000 kids in 2020  

Professor Mathew Kiang and fellow researchers found about 1.2 million children have experienced the death of at least one parent due to drugs or firearms since 1999. This problem has gotten worse over time, and in 2020, drugs or firearms accounted for one in four parental deaths.  Their findings suggest children currently face a dual epidemic — they are at high risk of dying from guns and drugs but are also at very high risk of experiencing parental deaths due to guns and drugs.

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We are EPH: Meet Alice Whittemore

Alice Whittemore, PhD, Professor Emerita, has dedicated her career to understanding cancers' genetic and environmental mechanisms by integrating mathematics and biology. Her research focuses on statistical methods for epidemiological studies of site-specific cancers, particularly cancers of the prostate, breast, ovaries, and skin. 

Read Alice's profile

Food as Medicine Interventions Can Reduce Cardiovascular Risk

March 23, 2024 - EPH Professor Lisa Goldman Rosas recently presented a new study at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Scientific Sessions 2024. The study shows that implementing a Food as Medicine program improved diet and physical activity and reduced cardiovascular risk factors among participants. After 16 weeks of free, weekly home delivery of fresh produce, study participants boosted their fruit and vegetable consumption by almost 1/2 of a serving per day and added 42 minutes to their weekly level of physical activity. A year later, participants had better blood sugar control, lower bad cholesterol levels, and improved cardiovascular health measures.

Study Estimates Nearly 70 Percent of Children Under Six in Chicago may be Exposed to Lead-Contaminated Water

March 18, 2024 - EPH Professor Mathew Kiang is the senior author of a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics that estimates that 68 percent of Chicago children under age 6 are exposed to lead in their drinking water. Kiang and fellow researchers developed AI models that made citywide estimates of the number of children under 5 living in homes with lead-contaminated drinking water and determined that Black and Hispanic children were more likely than white children to live in homes where the water contained lead. 

Melissa Bondy awarded American Society of Preventive Oncology Fraumeni Distinguished Achievement Award

March 1, 2024 - EPH Chair Dr. Melissa Bondy is the recipient of the 2024 Fraumeni Distinguished Achievement Award, the highest honor awarded by the American Society of Preventive Oncology (ASPO) . The award is given annually to an outstanding scientist in the area of preventative oncology, cancer control, and/or cancer prevention. Dr. Bondy and EPH's Dr. Ann Hsing were part of the 2017 ASPO executive committee that renamed the award after Dr. Joeseph Fraumeni in recognition of his contributions to cancer etiology and prevention.

Alexis Reeves provides input to California Committee of Reproductive Health on incorporating menopause into health policy

February 21, 2024   – EPH Postdoc Alexis Reeves recently provided input to a California Committee of Reproductive Health on incorporating menopause into the state's health policies.