International Epidemiological Association Handbook

1.1 Introduction to the International Epidemiological Association

The Association’s mission is to promote the highest quality epidemiological practice and its use to solve public health and related problems throughout the world. All Association activities and decisions will be undertaken according to the principles of universality, decentralization, and volunteerism.

The aims of the Association are to:

  • Facilitate communication among those engaged in research and teaching of epidemiology throughout the world;
  • Support the development and use of epidemiological methods in all appropriate fields of health including but not limited to social, community and preventive medicine and health services administration.

The Association was first established in 1954 under the name The International Corresponding Club. The first activity was The Bulletin, starting in 1955, and this was quickly followed by the first meeting in London in 1956. Regional meetings have been held since 1968 and these contributed to the foundation of many national epidemiological associations. The success of the Association’s international approach is shown by the fact that, by 1971, the Association already had members in 54 countries. In 1966 the Association was recognized by the World Health Organization as a Non-Governmental Organization. For a full list of past regional meetings, see here .

In 1967 the Association was registered as a corporation in Maryland in order to have the benefits associated with non-profit status, such as tax relief.

In 1971 the decision was made to launch a journal, the International Journal of Epidemiology (the Journal), and Oxford University Press (OUP) was contracted as publisher. It was first published in 1972 with Dr. Walter Holland as editor and appeared quarterly in its early years. It has grown over time and now publishes six issues per year. As of 2020, its Impact Factor of 8.360 ranks it 4th out of 180 journals in the Public, Environmental and Occupational Health category. The Journal provides most of the Association’s income, but roughly half of this is invested in the running of the Journal’s editorial office. The contract with OUP is normally renegotiated every five years.

The Association owns the World Congress of Epidemiology (the Congress), which generally occurs every three years. The Congress is held in a different region each time, in liaison with a regional or local association and the location is elected by members in accordance with the Bylaws . For details of past meetings, see here .

A fuller history of the Association is available on the web site .

1.2 Documents | Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, Bylaws, and Handbook

The official Articles of Incorporation establish the Association as a legal entity, registered in the US State of Maryland. The Association is therefore subject to taxation and other laws and regulations of the US and Maryland. The Articles of Incorporation are supplemented by the Constitution , which lays out the operating principles of the Association. The Constitution can only be amended by vote of the members. The Bylaws , which can be amended by Council, describe the specific rules governing the Association and its operation. These two documents were updated in 2018.

This Handbook provides practical guidance to the Executive Committee and councilors and documents the policies and practices of the Association. The Handbook can be changed as necessary to update practices and policies. No practice or policy may conflict with the Constitution or the Bylaws.

1.3 Governance of the Association

The Association is governed by an elected council that consists of the officers – the President, President-Elect, Immediate Past President, Secretary, and Treasurer – and 8-12 members, including one member from each of the regions (known as Regional Councilors) and as of 2021, an Early-Career Epidemiologist. The Council is elected at each triennial Congress and generally serves for three years. It meets at each Congress and once in between Congresses. The day-to-day management of the Association is the responsibility of the Executive Committee, comprised of the officers, who may also invite others to participate. The Executive Committee is supported by the Association management provider, currently FirstPoint Management Resources Inc., based in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.      

A list of past Council members is available online.