Psychiatric Epidemiology and the Question of Scale

Alfred Freeborn

Cedars Sinai and The Program in the History of Medicine

Thursday, February 1, 2024 3:00 pm EST

Online Via Zoom. Email to register to attend.

Despite impressive attempts to establish uniform methodsfor comparing patient populations across the globe, serious questionsabout the validity of psychiatric classifications and therapies acrossdifferent cultural contexts remain. This talk will provide an overview of psychiatric epidemiology within the framework of historical epistemology. This means understanding the changing epistemologiesof mental disorder within the historical constraints of infrastructure and expertise. In the project of psychiatric epidemiology there has always been a trade off between surveying large populations and controlling the quality of the survey. Using this framework, the talk will cover several episodes in the field’s history from across the 20th century with a particular focus on the epidemiology of schizophrenia.