Bayesian statistical methods in public health and medicine

Ruth Etzioni, J. B. Kadane

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

38 Scopus citations


This article reviews the Bayesian statistical approach to the design and analysis of research studies in the health sciences. The central idea of the Bayesian method is the use of study data to update the state of knowledge about a quantity of interest. In study design, the Bayesian approach explicitly incorporates expressions for the loss resulting from an incorrect decision at the end of the study. The Bayesian method also provides a flexible framework for the monitoring of sequential clinical trials. We present several examples of Bayesian methods in practice including a study of disease progression in AIDS, a comparison of two therapies in a clinical trial, and a case-control study investigating the link between dietary factors and breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-41
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual Review of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes



  • decision theory
  • estimation
  • hypothesis testing
  • likelihood
  • posterior distribution
  • prior distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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