HS 360 - Introduction to Epidemiology
Fall 2009
M & W 1:30 - 2:45  KHS 100
Wynn W. Gillan, DrPH  (wgillan@selu.edu)
Office: KHS Bldg., Rm. 112 
Phone: (504) 549-5252   FAX: (504) 549-5119 
Office Hours: 
 Wed: 9-12
 Tues: 9-12; Th 9-12 & 2-4
Description:  Credit 3 hours. Prerequisites: HS 131, 132, or 133 and MATH 161 and 241 or permission of department head. An introduction to the study of distribution of health events in human populations. Methods of assessing health states in populations by the use of morbidity and mortality data. Includes disease tracking and control methods for use in health care decisions. Major types of epidemiological investigations are also studied. 
Objectives: By the end of this course students should be able to (corresponding national health education responsibilities and competencies, The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc (NCHEC)):

    - Define epidemiology and identify at least three applications of the epidemiologic method (VII - A, B, C)
    - Describe how community health is measured. (VII - A)
    - List the strengths and weaknesses of commonly used health indicators (VI - A, C, D; VII - A, B, D)
    - Descripe epidemiological methods - observational, analytic and experimental  (VII - A, B, C)
    - List the strengths and weaknesses of case control and cohort studies (VII - A)
    - Explain the difference between association and causation (VII - A)
    - Outline the procedures for investigating an epidemic (V - A, C; VII - A, B; VIII - B)
    - Obtain rates of selected conditions (VIII - C)
    - Explain the principles of screening programs (VII - A, B)
    - Calculate the sensitivity and specificity of screening tests (VII - A)
    - Calculate specific rates and promotions (VII - A)
    - Distinguish valid from flawed study designs (VI - A; VII - A)
    - Examine data sources before using them (VI - A, C, D; VII - A, B, C, D)
    - Locate existing print and/or electronic data sources (VI - A, C, D; VIII - A)
    - Utilize computer software to manage data, perform statistical analysis, and create presentations (VI - A, C, D; VII - A, B, C, D)
    - Present demographic, statistical, and scientific information to professional or lay audience (VII - A, B, C, D)
    - Act responsibly in conducting sensitive public health practices (X - C)
    - Respect privacy and confidentiality of personal data (X - C)

This course meets components of the following Health Education Responsibilities as established by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
    - Responsibility I: Assessing Individual and Community Needs for Health Education
    - Responsibility III: Implementing Health Education Programs
    - Responsibility IV: Evaluating Effectiveness of Health Education Programs
    - Responsibility VI: Acting As a Resource Person in Health Education
    - Responsibility VII: Communicating Health and Health Education Needs, Concerns, and Resources
        Friis, R.H. & Sellers, T.A.  Epidemiology for Public Health Practice. 4th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers; 2009

I.  Epidemiology Paper (100 pts. total) [Portfolio Project]
    This paper is similar to the project described in Appendix 4 of the textbook. A detailed rubric will be provided. This project will be due in parts. Paper should be double spaced in no less than 10 pt TimesRoman.
        - Each student will choose  a  disease or health-related condition to study
        - Review the current descriptive and analytical data information sources for that condition,
        - Write a paper (5-8 pages with references) that presents that information in a logical sequence,
        - Organization of your paper should include:
            I. Your title should read: "Epidemiology of ______"
            II. Introduction:
                - Introduce the topic (brief definition or description) and present it's importance to human health status
                - Explain why this condition should be studied (increasing trend, affects a large number of people, etc)
                - You might include some prevalence information here to indicate the impact
            III. Descriptive Epidemiology:
                - Describe and/or define the disease or condition using descriptive epidemiology references
                - who tends to get this condition, where do they usually live, and at what age
            IV. Rates:
                - Present the most current national and local prevalence and incidence rates (when available)
            V. Causes and Risk Factors
                - Discuss the (real or theoretical) causes of this disease (if there are any)
                - Provide the currently established risk factors associated with the disease
            VI. Conclusion
                - Summarize this condition and indicate any public health methods that may limit its impact
            VII. Bibliography
                - Reference all statements of fact.
                - All citations should be referenced in the text and in a bibliography at the end of the paper
                - Use the American Medical Association (AMA) 10th edition (2007) Manual of Style in your bibliography. For examples: AMA style.
        - Use of graphs or charts to explain relationships and describe the condition is strongly encouraged
        - Entire paper will be submitted to turnitin.com
        - Due Dates:
                - Part I & II  --  Sept 14 (5 pts)
                - Part III - (includes part I & II) --  Oct 7 (5 pts)
                - Part IV-V - (includes part I-III) --  Oct 21 (10 pts)
            - Entire paper DUE -- Nov 18
II.  Oral report: (25 pts.) Each student will orally present the above epidemiology paper using MS PowerPoint. Turn in your presentation for points.
III. Assignments: (at least 50 pts.) Assignments and other activities will be provided in class with due dates and descriptions for completion. Points offered may vary depending on the task complexity.
IV.  Exams: (300 pts.): Three exams will be provided to determine knowledge and comprehension levels of material. Specific exam objectives will be provided prior to each exam. Material on each exam is comprehensive.

Grading: A = 90%; B = 80%; C = 70%, etc. Grades are calculated on a percentage scale with number points received over number of points possible. Grades will be posted on Blackboard. Exam make-ups will be made for excused absenses only and will be offered only once following the exam. No make-ups are allowed for missing in-class assignments. No "extra-credit" assignments are provided. Due dates are strictly followed. Assignments turned in after the due date will NOT be accepted. Unless otherwise noted, assignments are due in-hand at class time. However, assignments may be turned in before the deadline date.
Attendance: Attendance will be recorded for each class period, according to university policy. If you miss a class, you are responsible for all material covered. Missing class may significantly influence your grade. I will withdraw you from the class on the appropriate date if you have missed more than 10% of the class sessions. An absence must be considered excused if it is for one of the authorized activities listed in the "SLU Attendance Procedures" and the procedures detailed in that section have been followed. Arriving to class more than 5 minutes late is considered an absence.
Writing Style: All assignments will be typed AMA style unless other instructions are provided. All written material should be typed in no less than 10 point size on Times Roman font.
Turnitin.com: Students agree by taking this course that your paper will be submitted to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. Early on, draft versions will be used, but the final paper will be submitted prior to the in-class due date. Failing to submit to turnitin.com will result in a 40 point reduction in score.
Classroom Behavior: Free discussion, inquiry and expression is encouraged in this class. Behaviors that distract fellow students or the instructor is annoying and strongly discouraged. Examples include arriving late or packing up before class is over; leaving early; talking while others are speaking; using noisy electronic devices; or other activities that interferes with the normal flow of the class. Be conscious of these behaviors and work to reduce their occurance. Classrooms are also not the place for children, friends, or relatives that have not enrolled in the course.
SLU Email Policy: SLU policy dictates that all email correspondence between faculty and students be done using the SLU email system. As a result, the instructor will not communicate via email with you using addresses other than the SLU system. You will need to check your email frequently.
Cell phones must be turned OFF completely during class time –VIBRATE is not allowed. All students deserve a quiet environment. Five points off of your final grade may  be deducted each time your cell phone is seen or heard during class.
Academic Integrity: Your written or oral communication provided in this course should represent the best compilation of your own thinking and communication style. Use of material from other sources without due credit such as plagiarism, chicanery, cheating, and other expression of dishonesty are not good for your karma and may result in serious academic consequences. There are many examples of this and include getting material from someone else and giving to or sharing material with someone else.
Study tips: Read the chapters ahead of time and read through your notes as soon as you can after the class. Review your notes again before the next class. Think of questions as you read the text or notes and ask them the next class period.  Some find it helpful to study in groups. You may benefit from the publisher's provided flashcards for this text. For current health updates, try medscape.com or docguide.com (both require a one-time free registration).
Modifications: If you are a qualified student with a disability seeking accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act, you are required to self-identify with the Office of Student Life, Room 203, Student Union. No accommodations will be granted without documentation from the Office of Disability Services.

Tentative Topic Outline
Date Topic or assignment Chapter Reading 
Aug 19 Introduction to course; objectives, requirements, books, grading  Chap 1 (find out why it is important to study epidemiology)
Epidemiology defined
24 Introduction of Epidemiology  -Definition, terms, historical contributors Chap 1  Framingham Heart Study | Milestones of Framingham Heart StudyNurses Health Study  Find out about John Snow
26 Applications of Epidemiology; uses of epidemiology, 
natural history of disease, levels of prevention
Chap 2  Bogalusa Heart Study | Monitoring the Future
31 Measures of Mortality and Morbidity; proportion, ratio, rate, 
prevalence, incidence, risk
Chap 3 Age Adjustment (CDC)
Sep 9 More Rates; crude, specific, cause-specific, PMR, adjusted  Chap 3
Sep 14 Descriptive Epidemiology; hypothesis development, cross sectional studies Chap 4;  -- Part I & II of paper due TODAY
16, 21 Descriptive (cont); person, place, time - exam review Chap 4 
Sep 23 --EXAM #1 think cool, collected
Sep 28, 30 Sources of Data Chap 5  Louisiana Census Data | CDC | Louisiana Office of Public Health  |  State Health Facts Online (Kaiser Foundation) |  NCHS DataWarehouse  |  FedStats  | FirstGov.gov  |  Kaisernetwork.org  | Chronic Disease Surveillance
Oct 5 Study Designs: Cross-Sectional, Ecologic (Correlation) Chap 6
Oct 7 Study Designs; Case-Control, odds ratio calculations, Chap 6: -- Part III of paper due TODAY --
Oct 12 Study Designs: uses of OR Chap 6
14 Study Designs: Cohort Studies; design, considerations Chap 7 Adventist Health Study
19 More Cohort; relative risk calculations, uses of RR Chap 7 
21 Experimental Study Designs Chap 8 -- Part I-V of paper due TODAY  -- Last day to withdraw: Oct 23
26 Review - Measures of Effect - Significance 
28 --Exam #2
Nov 2 Measures of Effect - p value, confidence interval, bias, confounding Chap 9 
Nov 4 Screening for Disease; define, characteristics, reliability & validity Chap 11 -- Turn paper into turnitin.com
9, 11 Screening; sensitivity & specificity, predictive value Chap 11 
16, 18 Infectious Disease; herd immunity, food borne illness Chap 12 -- Turn in entire paper in class on Nov 18
23 Presentations
25 Thanksgiving Break keep cold food < 40 and hot food > 140 
28, 30 Presentations (cont), Exam Review
Dec 10
Final Exam Return your textbook!
Epidemiology Web Sites
  Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
     CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
     CDC Wonder
     Census Data
     A Dictionary of (Ecological) Epidemiology
     Epidemiology for the Unintiated (online text)
     Epidemiology Supercourse
     Emerging Infectious Diseases (CDC)
     Journals and Newsletters - Public Health Resources
     Links to Large Health Datasets
     Public Health Training Network - CDC
     Virtual Library - Epidemiology