25 Years of Summer Epidemiology

25 Years of Summer Epidemiology

The University of Michigan Summer Session in Epidemiology—or Epid Summer Session, as it's commonly known—celebrated 25 years at the University of Michigan School of Public Health this year. Founded in 1965 at the University of Wisconsin, the three-week program moved to Michigan in 1988 under the aegis of SPH Professor Emeritus David Schottenfeld and has since shepherded more than 6,800 students through the rigors of training in the principles, methods, and applications of epidemiology. The oldest such program in the nation, it offers both three-week and one-week courses taught by faculty from academic centers and governmental agencies throughout the United States and around the globe.

EPID by the numbers

  1. The University of Michigan Summer Session in Epidemiology lasts three weeks, during which time students can choose from as many as 30 courses on a range of topics, from the basics of epidemiology to global health, scientific writing, and social epidemiology. Shown here: Epid 701: Fundamentals of Biostatistics, a three-week, three-credit class that meets Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Aided by yogurt, granola bars, coffee, and water—in BPA-free bottles!—students learn and practice the rudiments of statistical analysis.
  2. A graduate student instructor conveys e-mail questions from Epid 701's eight distance-learning students to the classroom, so that "it's almost as if they're in the class," says Jody Gray, administrative coordinator of the Epid Summer Session program.
  3. A microphone lets distance-learning students from as far away as South Africa and Japan get the lowdown from Professor Donna Stroup on such topics as Gaussian distribution, Z scores, and other principles of biostatistics. Oregon-based physician Bill Muth, a distance-learning student in this year's Epid 701, says he took the summer class because he wanted to boost his knowledge of statistics. "As a hospital epidemiologist, I'm charged with trying to understand rates of surgical-site infection and other hospital-acquired infections, and I'm often trying to use statistics to understand whether we have an outbreak of disease."
  4. Students at the 2012 University of Michigan Summer Session in Epidemiology range in age from 22 to 70 and represent 29 U.S. states and 15 countries, among them Brazil, Denmark, Ethiopia, Korea, Mongolia, Switzerland, and Haiti. Most students have master's or doctoral degrees, but newcomers to public health are also welcome. The program offers graduate-degree credit and CME credit as well as a certificate program (Certification of Academic Competencies in Epidemiology), but students can also sign up for non-credit hours. In addition to classes, there are hospitality hours, a 5K fun run, receptions, and three named lectures by renowned experts in epidemiology.
  5. Epid 701 takes place in in the heart of SPH, in a video-conferencing classroom equipped with a sound booth, two white boards, and teledata wiring that enables live two-way communication with faculty, students, and community partners around the globe.