Considers how epidemiologic studies may be designed to maximize etiologic inference. Covers infectious disease epidemiologic studies, randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, case-control studies, cross-sectional studies, ecological and multilevel studies, and selected topics such as meta-analysis. Second in a two course sequence. Prerequisite: EPI 512. Offered: W.
The primary objective of EPI 512-513 is to teach students how to do good epidemiologic research. Secondary objectives are to help students understand and evaluate research reported by others and to enable them to apply epidemiologic principles in other health-related areas, including clinical medicine, public health practice, and health policy.
Student learning goals
1) Define and apply measures of disease frequency as they reflect the health status of a population
2) Apply widely accepted criteria for causal inference
3) Define and calculate measures of association between a given risk factor and disease
4) Describe and interpret variations in disease frequency according to characteristics of person, place, and time
5) Describe the strengths and weaknesses of alternative epidemiologic study designs for determining whether a given factor is a determinant of disease risk
6) Use epidemiologic methods to evaluate public health programs and policies
7) Describe major sources of bias in epidemiologic research (including selection bias, measurement error, and confounding) and how such biases can be evaluated and reduced
8) Explain and use the basic terms and methods used in outbreak investigation, infectious disease epidemiology, chronic disease epidemiology, disease prevention research, and evaluation of screening tests
9) Evaluate effect modification
10) Critically review scientific literature and synthesize findings across studies
11) Correctly interpret epidemiologic research and place the findings into proper context in relation to other epidemiologic studies, biological or social processes, and public health implications
12) Design a randomized trial, cohort study, or case-control study to evaluate whether a certain exposure is causally associated with a certain health outcome
General method of instruction
Sessions generally alternate between lectures and class discussion of a problem set that was distributed previously
EPI 513 is the second course in a two-course sequence on epidemiologic methods. The EPI 512-513 sequence is intended mainly for graduate students majoring in Epidemiology or for others who will actually be conducting research in the future using epidemiologic study designs. Students in EPI 513 must have previously completed EPI 512 successfully and should have taken a first course in biostatistics
Class assignments and grading
Problem sets concern real or hypothetical situations in which topics covered earlier in the course must be applied to solve a study design or data interpretation problem. Other problem sets involve working with data. Still others focus on a published paper and raise questions about how the study was designed and conducted. Students are expected to work on the problem sets in advance and to be prepared to discuss them in class.
Homework: 40% Mid-term exam: 20% Final exam: 40%