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This book is designed primarily for undergraduate, professional educational experiences with students and practicing pharmacists. The concepts and methods of pharmacoepidemiology are also of value to other health professionals, public health workers, members of pharmaceutical industry, and anyone who is interested in an introductory review of pharmacoepidemiology.

Pharmacoepidemiology texts and reference books have become available recently for the graduate student in public health, medicine, and the pharmaceutical sciences. Epidemiology has not been as accessible for undergraduate and professional students. There are currently very few instances of required pharmacoepidemiology coursework in the curricula of American colleges of pharmacy. Public health courses, once required in the pharmaceutical curricula up through the 1970s, are no longer available to most student pharmacists. This makes it difficult to introduce epidemiology, the scientific method of public health, without a basis in public health. The first two chapters, then, are an attempt to provide the reader with a sense of the foundation of epidemiology in public health, through the study of populations, in which health problems are identified, assessed, and prevented or resolved.

Our experiences, and input from colleagues in pharmacy, public health, medical sociology, and statistics, have led us to believe that the best focus of our primer would be for students in research methods or drug literature evaluation courses. Our introductory review of the principles and methods of epidemiology, statistics, and their application to drug use and postmarketing surveillance of pharmaceutical products, is intended to provide a basic understanding of what pharmacoepidemiology is and how it works in practice. Along the way, readers also will be introduced briefly to public health and epidemiology. Some readers may become interested enough in this subject to pursue careers in this growing discipline. After finishing our primer, students and other readers, who desire more advanced knowledge, skills, and case studies, are strongly encouraged to pursue graduatelevel and professional texts, as well as the journals, conferences, and organizations that represent pharmacoepidemiology.

We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Rebecca Maki for wonderful illustrations, Tracy Ward for organizational assistance with the manuscript, and our very patient editor at McGraw-Hill, Steve Zollo. Brenda Waning thanks her friend and mentor, Sue Fish, for convincing her to pursue a graduate education in public health. Mike Montagne still is eternally grateful that the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy had required public health courses in their curriculum (at least in the 1970s), and that James Anthony convinced him to be a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University and provided, along with other faculty, an excellent foundation in epidemiology and public health.

We are interested in receiving ideas, case studies, criticisms, and suggestions from our readers. Please send them to us in care of McGraw-Hill. We hope readers enjoy and learn from our primer, and we wish them all the best in their pharmacoepidemiological investigations.

Brenda Waning
Michael Montagne
Boston, Massachusetts

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