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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Stephen Marc Schwartz
EPI 590
Seattle Campus

Selected Topics in Epidemiology or International Health

Tutorials arranged for a small number of students for in-depth examination of an area of epidemiology or international health, usually of current nature. Seminar format. Prerequisite: EPI 511. Also a special summer format presenting introductory material. May be offered with ENV H 590 and/or HSERV 590. For more information and permission, consult department program adviser. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

While general health in the U.S. has greatly improved over the past decades, health among some subpopulations in the country does not approach that of the non-Hispanic white population. Given the growth of some ethnic and racial minorities, these health disparities are reaching an ever-growing portion of the U.S. population. These disparities are found in many diseases, and cancer is not immune from them. Whether the topic pursued is cancer or cancer risk behaviors, there is much evidence that certain groups are more likely to die of cancer and less likely to engage in cancer prevention behaviors. In this course, we will examine cancer health disparities and their theoretical, interdisciplinary, and biological underpinnings.

Student learning goals

• Demonstrate familiarity with the disparities in cancer incidence and mortality, risk factor prevalence, preventive behaviors, and treatment among sub-populations in the U.S.

Critically evaluate the diverse theories and perspectives that have been applied to identify and address cancer health disparities

Describe and critique the design and evaluation of research on cancer health disparities

• Produce an integrated paper that discusses all facets of one cancer health disparity (cancer type, risk factor, preventive behavior, or treatment)

General method of instruction

There are 10 sessions, each consisting of one or more lectures and/or discussion of the literature.

Readings: These will be assigned prior to each session, and each student is expected to have completed the readings so that he/she can participate in the session’s activities.

Recommended preparation

Basic epidemiology or biostatistical coursework.

Class assignments and grading

Leading one journal article discussion: Each student will be assigned to serve as the facilitator for a group discussion of an article, and turn in a written summary of the questions proposed to lead the discussion.

Final Student Project: Each student will prepare a paper, 12 to 15 pages in length, on a particular cancer or cancer risk behavior. In this paper, the student will describe the disease or risk behavior, review the disparate statistics, explain the theory for why such disparities exist, discuss interventions that have been used to eliminate that disparity, and summarize the opportunity for eliminating that cancer health disparity or risk factor. In addition to the paper, each student will be required to present a summary of the paper to the class.

The grade will be based on class attendance and participation (15%), the journal facilitation exercise (25%), the written final student project (40%), and the oral presentation of the final paper (20%).


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.
Last Update by Stephen Marc Schwartz
Date: 12/08/2010