CB 399: Public Health 101: Introduction to Epidemiology

Public Health 101: Introduction to Epidemiology

Course Instructors: Aisha Dickerson, PhD; Jacqueline Cohen, PhD; Vy Nguyen, SM
Curriculum Fellow: Bradley Coleman, PhD bradley_coleman@hms.harvard.edu
Faculty Advisor: Francis Cook, SD
Course Director: Eric Rubin, MD PhD

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations, and the application of this study to the control of health problems (Last 2001).

Graduate students, fellows, staff, faculty, and community members without direct training in public health often have limited opportunities to gain a basic understanding of the field of epidemiology. To provide a succinct overview and introduction to the field, we have developed the “Introduction to Epidemiology” nanocourse. This nanocourse is intended for individuals who are interested in gaining a brief introduction to the scope of epidemiology and its basic principles. The goal is to help participants better understand the validity of epidemiologic evidence typically included in grant and manuscript submission, and enhance their ability to critically read health news.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this nanocourse, participants will be able to:

•Recognize the key components of a focused research question
•Describe three types of bias: selection bias, information bias, confounding
•Calculate a risk difference, risk ratio, odds ratio
•Report the null hypothesis for different measures of association
•Determine the type of study which would best address a question regarding rare exposure, common outcome vs. common exposure, rare outcome
•Evaluate the validity of findings presented in the lay press by recognizing the evidence that contributed to the conclusions and potential biases that may distort the results of an epidemiological study

Course descriptions

Session I: 4 lecture modules

•Scope of epidemiology, components of a research question, association vs. causation
•Observational study designs and effect estimates, statistical significance
•Selection bias, information bias
•Confounding, effect modification
Session II:

•Review: Recap of concepts from session 1
•Practice I: Identify the research question and study design from published abstracts
•Practice II: Discuss a news article and the corresponding scientific article it is based on. Does the news article provide an accurate summary of the research? What are the threats to study validity that may or may not have been highlighted in the news?

Schedule:
First Session: Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Location: Armenise 125 (D) Amphitheater

Second Session: Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Location: TMEC 106 Learning Studio (Peabody).

Those interested in the course who are not Harvard students interested in and eligible for course credit should RSVP HERE: https://goo.gl/forms/5KNJgVfYx9dr7mNI2

THOSE TAKING THE NANOCOURSE FOR ACADEMIC CREDIT MUST ENROLL THROUGH THIS WEBSITE (LOGIN AND ENROLL BELOW).

AUDITORS (Post-Docs, Faculty, or Staff) DO NOT NEED TO SIGN UP TO ATTEND THE 1st SESSION. PLEASE DO NOT ENROLL