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The University of Vermont PH302 Epidemiology 1 Brief Syllabus COURSE: PH302 Epidemiology 1 CREDITS: 3 FACULTY: Matthew Thomas, PhD,

Clinical Instructor, College of Medicine Office: No campus office Email: DESCRIPTION: Epidemiology is the study of disease distribution and determinants in a given population, but it is also a specific way to think about cause and effect. Rarely do we observe a health determinant that is both necessary and sufficient to cause a particular health outcome. Rather, the determinants of disease are often multifactorial with many of those factors hidden from current methods of identification. For the factors that can possibly be identified (e.g., behavioral--smoking, diet, exercise; biological--presence or absence of a gene or virus; environmental--exposure to chemicals, radiation) we often cannot directly observe a true causal association in a population of interest. Epidemiological methods allow us to estimate how these determinants affect the health of the population, specifically by assigning a value of risk. These methods also attempt to control for factors that obscure observing relationships between determinants and a health outcome. Through this course, you will learn the principles and methods of epidemiology. In addition to these tools, you will learn to bring a new approach to problems associated with improving population health. This course will be taught online and utilize online discussions with assigned readings and questions specific to each issue.Students will have short problem sets to demonstrate application of knowledge and critical thinking. Students will be asked to critique peer-reviewed journal articles. Course grading will include class participation (online discussions 30%), problem sets and critiques (40%), a midterm exam (15%) and a final exam (15%). READINGS: The main text for the course is Epidemiologic Methods: Studying the Occurrence of Illness (2003) by TD Koepsell and NS Weiss. An optional text is Epidemiology (4th edition, 2009) by L Gordis. In addition, readings may include articles from medical journals and other periodicals. COURSE TOPICS: Module 1: Defining populations at risk and relationship to disease Module 2: Understanding personal and geographic characteristics in the context of disease variations Module 3: Disease transmission models: case definition vs. clinical diagnosis, risk and susceptibility Module 4: Frequency of disease: prevalence and incidence Module 5: Understanding the difference between numerator and denominator data Module 6: Basic components of surveillance, active vs. passive surveillance Module 7: Strengths and weaknesses of various study designs

Module 8: Causality: Hills criteria for causation Module 9: Excess Risk Module 10: Screening Module 11: Confounding, bias and chance; and how each may affect estimates of prevalence and incidence Module 12: Disease outbreak investigation Module 13: Epidemiology and public policy QUESTIONS: Please write to Dr. Thomas at