John Snow's legacy: epidemiology without borders

Lancet. 2013 Apr 13;381(9874):1302-11. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60771-0.


This Review provides abstracts from a meeting held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, on April 11-12, 2013, to celebrate the legacy of John Snow. They describe conventional and unconventional applications of epidemiological methods to problems ranging from diarrhoeal disease, mental health, cancer, and accident care, to education, poverty, financial networks, crime, and violence. Common themes appear throughout, including recognition of the importance of Snow's example, the philosophical and practical implications of assessment of causality, and an emphasis on the evaluation of preventive, ameliorative, and curative interventions, in a wide variety of medical and societal examples. Almost all self-described epidemiologists nowadays work within the health arena, and this is the focus of most of the societies, journals, and courses that carry the name epidemiology. The range of applications evident in these contributions might encourage some of these institutions to consider broadening their remits. In so doing, they may contribute more directly to, and learn from, non-health-related areas that use the language and methods of epidemiology to address many important problems now facing the world.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Causality
  • Cholera / epidemiology
  • Cholera / genetics
  • Congresses as Topic
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Crime
  • England
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research / education
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / embryology*
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / epidemiology
  • Violence