HS 637 - Epidemiology
Fall 2009
Monday 5-7:50  KHS 125
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; Thurs: 9-12 & 2-4
Description:  Credit 3 hours. An introduction to the principles and practices of epidemiologic methods used in chronic disease investigations. Selected diseases will be examined to clarify the role of epidemiology in understanding disease processes across populations. Specific application will be made concerning the prevention of disease and promotion of behavior change.
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.

        Gordis, L. (2009)  Epidemiology (4th ed.) Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Publishers.
        Hebel, J.R., & McCarter, R.J. (2006). A study guide to epidemiology and biostatistics (6th ed.). Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers, Inc.

I.  Epidemiology Paper (100 pts. total)
  • Select a  disease or health-related condition to study
  • Review the current descriptive and analytical data sources on that condition,
  • Write a paper (5-12 pages with references) that presents that information in a logical sequence,
  • Information covered should include:
  •                 -    Who gets this condition (what age, race, or sex, and where do they live)
                    -    How is this condition expressed (describe the signs or symptoms)?
  • All statements of fact should be referenced in the text and in listed in your bibliography using the American Medical Association (AMA) style format.
  • II.  Oral report: (25 pts.) Each student will orally present their epidemiology topic using PowerPoint. A rubric for the oral report will be provided.
    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: (200 pts.): Two exams will be provided to determine knowledge and comprehension levels of material. Specific exam objectives will be provided prior to each exam.

    Other relevant issues:
    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. A class absence will be excused if you have contacted me before classtime or if you have experienced a rare personal event. Arriving to class more than 10 minutes late is considered an absence.
    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 missed quizzes or 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.
    Writing Style: All assignments will be typed unless other instructions are provided. All written material should be typed in no less than Times Roman 10 point.
    Academic Integrity: Your written and oral communication provided in this course should represent the best compilation of your own thinking and communication style. Obtaining ideas from other professional sources is common, however, those ideas should be used to develop your own ideas and opinions. In each case, those sources must be acknowledged or credited by an appropriate reference. Other forms of academic dishonesty include cheating on an exam, submitting the same work for two courses, collaborating with someone else on an assignment that requires independent work, and allowing others to copy or use your work. Plagiarism is failing to credit sources other than your own. This includes coping material from a book or article, downloading information from the internet, obtaining material from another source (online or purchase). Expression of dishonesty in any form are not good for your karma, and will, in this course, result in an F for the course or the assignment.
    Classroom Behavior: Free discussion, inquiry and expression is encouraged in this class. Behaviors that distract fellow students or the instructor is strongly discouraged. Examples include arriving late or packing up in anticipation of leaving early; talking while others are speaking; using noisy electronic devices; or other activities that interferes with the normal flow of the class. Be mindful 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 may be deducted from your final grade each time your cell phone is seen or heard during class.
    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.
    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.

    Knowledge Base:
     -Hennekins, C.H., & Buring, J.E. (1987) Epidemiology in medicine. Boston: Little, Brown & Company.
     -Rothman, K.J. (2002). Epidemiology: An introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.
     -Nelson, KE, Williams, CM, & Graham, NM (2001). Infectious disease epidemiology: Theory and practice. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publication

    Tentative Course Outline
    Date  Topic or assignment Chapter Reading 
    Aug 24  Introduction of Epidemiology  -Definition, terms, historical contributors Chap 1  Framingham Heart Study | Nurses Health Study  Find out about John Snow
    Sep 7 Labor Day Holiday
    Sep 14 Applications of Epidemiology; uses of epidemiology, natural history of disease, levels of prevention Chap 2  Bogalusa Heart Study | Monitoring the Future
    Sep 21 Measures of Morbidity;  prevalence, incidence, surveillance Chap 3 
    Sep 28 Measures of Mortality: rates, age adjustment Chap 4 [Decide on title of paper]
    Oct 5 Screening for Disease; define, characteristics, reliability & validity Chap 5
    Oct 12 EXAM #1
    Oct 19 Sources of Data - Lab  CDC | Louisiana Office of Public Health  |  State Health Facts Online (Kaiser Foundation)
    NCHS DataWarehouse  |  FedStats  | FirstGov.gov  |  Kaisernetwork.orgLouisiana Census Data
    Oct 26 Study Designs: Cross-Sectional, Case-Control; odds ratio Chap 10
    Nov 2 Study Designs: Cohort Studies; design, relative risk calculations; attributable risk Chap 9 & 12 Adventist Health Study
    Nov 9 Review Case-Control & Cohort Designs; Experimental Study Designs Chap 13; Chap 7
    Nov 16 Clinical Trials Pharyngitis in LA; Epi Info Chap 8
    Nov 23 Determining Causation, bias, confounding Chap 14 & 15  -- Paper Due
    Nov 30 Student Presentations
    Exam Review 
    Dec 7 FINAL - comprehensive
    Epidemiology Web Sites
         Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
         CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
         Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)
         CDC Wonder
         Census Data
         Dictionary of Epidemiology
         Epidemiology for the Unintiated (online text)
         ProMED-mail (International Society for Infectious Disease)
         Epidemiology Supercourse
         Emerging Infectious Diseases (CDC)
         Journals and Newsletters - Public Health Resources
         Links to Large Health Datasets
         National Library of Medicine - Search Medline
         Public Health Training Network - CDC
         Virtual Library - Epidemiology
         CDC Podcasts