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Kaufman, Jay S. (2010). Toward a More Disproportionate Epidemiology. Epidemiology, 21(1), 1-2.


I was lured into epidemiology by a friend in environmental engineering. “But don’t worry,” he assured me. “You don’t have to take any classes or anything. It’s not a real science like chemistry or physics.” Years later, a fictional department chair heard this story and was intrigued by the idea that teaching epidemiology might offer no benefit whatsoever for a large number of graduate students. He decided to save scarce funds by paying me for teaching only those students who would pass my course because they attended the class. There are 3 kinds of students, he reasoned: the type (A) who would pass the examination with or without attending the lectures, the type (B) who would pass the examination if they attended but fail if they did not, and the type (C) who were doomed to fail the examination regardless. He told me to figure out the number of type Bs in the student population, because this is the only group worth teaching.


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Kaufman, Jay S.