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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nicholas L Smith
EPI 548
Seattle Campus

Social Determinants of Health: Research Methods

Explores study design, measurement and analytic issues applicable to research into the social determinants of health and health disparities. Semi-weekly graduate-level seminar offered to students with a basic knowledge of epidemiological and biostatistical principles. Prerequisite: either EPI 511 or EPI 512/EPI 513; BIOST 511/BIOST 512 or BIOST 517/BIOST 518. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: jointly with HSERV 548; W.

Class description

This 3-unit course will explore study-design, measurement, and analytic issues applicable to research into the social determinants of health (SDH). This graduate-level lecture/seminar course is offered to students with a basic knowledge of epidemiologic and biostatistical principles.

Student learning goals

List at least 4 approaches to assessing causality and explain their strengths and weaknesses when applied to the SDH

Develop a conceptual model to accurately and parsimoniously reflects the core factors related to a social factors influence on health and that presents a testable pathway for a hypothesis

Identify the key features of traditional and non-traditional epidemiologic study designs to test hypotheses related to the SDH with an emphasis on multi-level approaches

Compare and contrast individual and group level measures of the same SDH construct, and describe the relationship between them

Demonstrate competence applying and interpreting models and statistical output for ecologic, multi-level, and longitudinal analytic approaches

Critically review the published literature addressing the SDH and provide a methods-based critique of the scientific approach

General method of instruction

The course consists of 15 lectures/seminars and 5 journal-article critique sessions.

Recommended preparation

Prerequesites include both core epidemiology and biostatistics course. For epidemiology, EPI511 or EPI512/513 is required. For biostatistics, BIOST 511/512/513 or BIOST 517/518 is required.

Class assignments and grading

Students are evaluated on 3 criteria: class participation, journal article critiques, and homework assignments.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Course Website
Last Update by Angelica M. Buck
Date: 09/10/2012