Clinicians make decisions daily based supposedly on the principle of causation, however often incorrectly assume ‘relationships’ or ‘associations’ to be causal. The current world we live in is largely media-based and often both clinicians and patients are confused about what causes what. When announcements from reliable sources such as the American Heart Association are made stating there is “no connection between gum disease and heart disease,” clinicians may incorrectly assume there is also no ‘association’ between the two. Causality, demonstrating a “cause and effect” relationship between an exposure and an effect, is difficult to prove. One classic example is how long it took to “prove” that cigarette smoking “causes” lung cancer.

The purpose of this course therefore is to assist clinicians with their evidence-based-decision-making and dialogue with patients when discussing matters of causality. From a public health and epidemiological perspective, this course will provide participants with the tools to evaluate cause and effect relationships and to better understand the principles of determining causality.