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Epidemiologists are familiar with the concept of type I and type II errors in epidemiological research, but type I and type II errors exist in a different sense in public health practice. With the move towards multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary public health it is not unknown for some to rejoice at the absence of physicians from the public health field. This is, however, equally erroneous to the medical domination of public health. Environmental, social and biomedical perspectives make up the three legs of the public health stool, set as it is within a public health context. We can conclude that type I errors occur when there is a narrow, biomedical perspective and domination of something which needs to be holistic. Type II errors occur when biomedicine has no seat at the table—a bit reminiscent of Pol Pot’s attitude to professionals in Cambodia.
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