Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in human populations. In recent years, the epidemiological approach has been used to address a wide range of problems, including infectious diseases, genetic risk, environmental threats, social stratification patterns, substance use, violence prevention, and even the spread of knowledge and innovation through social networks. Epidemiology has proven increasingly relevant to clinical medicine, public policy, social science, law, and other fields; as epidemiology becomes more widely applied, it is more important than ever for researchers and professionals in a variety of fields to become familiar with its basic principles.
This course introduces the basic principles of epidemiologic study design, analysis, and interpretation. Course activities will consist of lectures, computer lab lessons in using statistical software, written assignments, exams, and critical appraisal of both classic and contemporary research articles. We will learn how to calculate and interpret some basic epidemiological measures, and investigate the possibilities of using data to make causal inferences. We will examine the strengths of epidemiological science as well as its limits.
By the end of this course, I hope that students will learn how to:
1. Critically read and understand epidemiological studies;
2. Calculate and interpret measures of disease occurrence and disease-exposure associations;
3. Test deductively derived hypotheses using experimental and other research designs; and
4. Understand the contributions of epidemiology to clinical research, medicine, social science, and public health.||en_US