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Special Communication
September 1, 2004

Educational EpidemiologyApplying Population-Based Design and Analytic Approaches to Study Medical Education

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Community & Family Medicine (Drs Carney, Pipas, and Stukel), Medicine (Drs Nierenberg and Brooks), and Pharmacology & Toxicology (Dr Nierenberg), Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover and Lebanon, NH; Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (Dr Stukel); Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto (Dr Stukel); Office of the Vice President and Treasurer, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (Mr Keller).

JAMA. 2004;292(9):1044-1050. doi:10.1001/jama.292.9.1044

Conducting educational research in medical schools is challenging partly because interventional controlled research designs are difficult to apply. In addition, strict accreditation requirements and student/faculty concerns about educational inequality reduce the flexibility needed to plan and execute educational experiments. Consequently, there is a paucity of rigorous and generalizable educational research to provide an evidence-guided foundation to support educational effectiveness. "Educational epidemiology," ie, the application across the physician education continuum of observational designs (eg, cross-sectional, longitudinal, cohort, and case-control studies) and randomized experimental designs (eg, randomized controlled trials, randomized crossover designs), could revolutionize the conduct of research in medical education. Furthermore, the creation of a comprehensive national network of educational epidemiologists could enhance collaboration and the development of a strong educational research foundation.