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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


BARATA, Rita Barradas. Trends in the teaching of epidemiology in Brazil . Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1997, vol.2, n.5, pp.334-341. ISSN 1680-5348.

The teaching of epidemiology in Brazil began in the 1920s and has always been connected to public health. The 1970s witnessed an expansion in the number of graduate-level courses in epidemiology. The 1980s were characterized by "social epidemiology," which incorporated the social sciences and their methods into epidemiology; the second half of the decade was marked by the development of biostatistical techniques. Currently, the definition of guidelines for the teaching of epidemiology in Brazil depends on careful reflection regarding a number of issues, among which are the reformulation or elimination of medical residency programs in preventive medicine, social medicine, and collective health; the creation of masters and doctoral programs exclusively in epidemiology; the conflict between a theoretical emphasis and a technical emphasis; and the development of strategies to strengthen new instructional groups that are being created in teaching institutions in less developed regions of the country. A positive trend is that teaching institutions are working more closely with health services, both for training personnel and for providing technical support in planning, organizing, and evaluating health programs. Regarding the teaching of health service professionals, successful training depends on how well teachers can provide in-service training that ties students' learning to real work situations, where the application of theories can be understood in the natural context of real problems.

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