Courses Details

EPID590: Epidemiological Methods

  • Graduate level
  • Online MPH only
  • This is a first year course for Online students
  • Spring-Summer term(s) for online MPH students;
  • 3 credit hour(s) for online MPH students;
  • Instructor(s): Sara Adar (Online MPH);
  • Prerequisites: BIOSTAT 501, PUBHLTH 512
  • Description: In this course, we will teach how epidemiologists study the frequency, patterns, and determinants of health in different populations. Students can expect to learn: The terminology, principles, and methods of population-based epidemiologic research; How to critically appraise epidemiological research. The course will be divided into the following three sections: Section 1 will serve as an introduction as to the way in which epidemiologists measure and describe trends in morbidity and mortality as well as the risk factors for these endpoints. In this section we ask: What are the trends? Do they differ by time or place? Where do we get the data to study these trends and how do we know if our information is any good? In Section 2, students will learn how epidemiologists conduct studies to try to understand causality. Here we address the following questions: What is causality? How do we design studies to determine if something increases or reduces the risk of morbidity or mortality? What are the measures that we use to characterize associations and how certain we are in those estimates? Section 3 teaches students to identify situations in which the data that we collect in epidemiological studies can mislead us and lead us to reach the wrong conclusions. Students will learn different types of problems that can bias our conclusions and will develop instincts as to the directionality and magnitude of these biases.
  • Learning Objectives: Calculate and interpret measures of event frequency to describe population patterns of health-related risk factors and health-related outcomes in terms of person, place, and time. Identify an unusual occurrence of disease or illness (e.g., an outbreak or disease cluster); Recognize the characteristics that help to define causality; Describe the characteristics of different study designs; Choose an appropriate study design for a research question; Calculate and interpret measures of association between risk factors and outcomes; Compare the strengths and weaknesses of different study designs to assess causality; Identify sources of bias that can influence epidemiological findings; Predict directionality of known biases; Understand basic tools of causal inference in epidemiology; Critically appraise and analyze the weight of evidence for causal associations.
Elizabeth Levin-Sparenberg
Sara Adar
Concentration Competencies that EPID590 Allows Assessment On
Department Program Degree Competency Specific course(s) that allow assessment
Population and Health Sciences MPH Compare population health indicators across subpopulations, time, and data sources PUBHLTH515, BIOSTAT592, EPID590, EPID592, EPID643, BIOSTAT595, BIOSTAT501