Principles of Epidemiology

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Principles of Epidemiology

This discussion board is aligned with the module objective “Demonstrate community assessments and apply the principles of epidemiology.” As part of the discussion you will:


Review the concepts of epidemiology in disease control and prevention
Apply ecosocial epidemiology paradigm (macro-level) to one of your chosen diagnosis from module 1 written assignment (This was my diagnosis: Risk of obesity among employed people in Licking County Ohio related to insufficient physical activities, lack of knowledge regarding healthy diets and less time being set aside for physical activities as evidenced by increasing number of people categorized as obese.)Principles of Epidemiology Essay

You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.
Use a standard 10 to 12 point (10 to 12 characters per inch) typeface. Smaller or compressed type and papers with small margins or single-spacing are hard to read. It is better to let your essay run over the recommended number of pages than to try to compress it into fewer pages.Principles of Epidemiology Essay

Likewise, large type, large margins, large indentations, triple-spacing, increased leading (space between lines), increased kerning (space between letters), and any other such attempts at “padding” to increase the length of a paper are unacceptable, wasteful of trees, and will not fool your professor.

The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.

Epidemiology is a scientific discipline which seeks to identify and describe patterns of disease
occurrence, identify determinants of disease, and evaluate disease prevention and health care treatment
efforts. With its focus of study in human populations, epidemiology is directly linked with public
health research, policy, and practice. This course provides an introduction to the fundamental
definitions, terminology, concepts, methods, and critical thinking used in epidemiology. The material
presented in this course is designed to lay the foundation for future study and practice in public health
activities.Principles of Epidemiology Essay
Course Objectives:
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Apply and interpret the basic terminology and definitions of epidemiology.
  2. Calculate and interpret basic epidemiology measures.
  3. Identify key sources of data for evaluating a health issue in an epidemiologic context.
  4. Describe a health issue in terms of its importance and the patterns that characterize its
    occurrence in the community.
  5. Identify the principles and limitations of basic public health programs.
  6. Describe the process of identifying determinants of disease, disability, injury, or health care
  7. Draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic studies investigating the determinants of
    disease, disability, injury, or health care interventions.
  8. Recognize the influence of age, gender, racial, ethnic, and cultural variability on epidemiologic
    practice and research.
  9. Evaluate epidemiologic evidence to formulate reasoned strategies and decisions on health
    issues in the community.
    EPIDEM 2110 Page 2 12/1/2014
    Course Structure:
    To learn the concepts of epidemiology and their proper application, a student should work with the
    course material in different ways. Therefore, the structure of the course is built around multiple modes
    of instruction.Principles of Epidemiology Essay
     On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the instruction will be in traditional lecture format with
    the presentation and discussion surrounding a set of lecture slides and examples. Students are
    expected to review the lecture slides prior to class to be aware of the fundamental objectives
    and material. Note: Only selected slides will be reviewed in the lecture. This will leave time
    for presentation of discussion points that focus on key material. Audio-recordings of the
    lecture slides will be available for those who may wish to review the material in further detail.
    Students are encouraged to read appropriate sections of the book for review of complex topics.
     Practice questions will also be posted in Courseweb for most of the lectures to provide further
    work with the lecture material. Students are expected to review this material and the posted
    answers to identify their strengths and weaknesses on the related concepts.
     A group project is included in this course to provide students with opportunities to identify real
    world data related to the epidemiology concepts under discussion. The group project also
    allows students to work with other students to analyze and interpret epidemiology information.
     In addition, we will be using the time from 7:00 to 7:30pm in L9 Clapp Hall on Tuesdays and
    Thursdays as a recitation period for the discussion and review of key lecture concepts and
    problem sets. This learning period is not required, but your attendance is encouraged,
    particularly if you identify weaknesses in your understanding of the material, the application of
    the material, or in problem solving.
    Course Requirements:
    The following requirements pertain to this course.
    Completion of 10 homework assignments will be required in the course to facilitate learning of the
    concepts presented in the course. The assignments will pertain to lecture-specific topics and will
    generally cover issues that require quantitative and critical thinking skills. Please consult the schedule
    at the end of this syllabus to identify the assignments and their due dates and times for receipt. You
    should return the homework assignments through Courseweb.
    Note: Homework exercises will be scored (for grading purposes) on the basis of selected questions
    within each assignment. Exercises with correct interpretations on these questions will receive full
    credit for the assignment. Exercises that have incorrect interpretations will be reduced in score. The
    purpose of the homework assignments is to help you identify areas of strength and weakness in the
    concepts presented. You will be expected to review posted answer sheets to verify your performance
    on all questions in the assignment. Help to address an identified weakness can be obtained at the
    recitation periods, and/or through questions directed to the teaching assistants. No credit will be given
    if an assignment is turned in late (unless prior arrangements have been made).Principles of Epidemiology Essay
    There is also a group project participation requirement in this course. This requirement will begin in
    week 2 of the course and will proceed until the end of the term. In your first assignment, you will be
    asked, as an individual, to identify and share (with your group members) health-related data for a
    specific population. The specific population will be assigned to you by the course instructor. The data
    that you identify should be posted on Courseweb on the project page specific to this assignment. Next,
    EPIDEM 2110 Page 3 12/1/2014
    together as a group, you will be asked to interpret the population information, and answer specific
    questions. This interpretation and question answers should be posted on the specific page designated
    for your group in Courseweb. Responses to the questions must be posted on the project page within
    one week after the questions have been posted. Subsequent group assignments will be posted in
    Courseweb and will vary in the type of activity required, including the review and evaluation of a
    scientific paper. Grades for this group project requirement will be determined on the basis of posted
    contributions, returned group assignments, and by peer assessment.
    Groups will vary in size from 5-6 students. The group to which you are assigned will be posted on the
    Courseweb site in week 2 of the course. Specific details on the group project assignment will also be
    available at that time, through the Group Project link on Courseweb.
    Four exams will be given during the course to evaluate the level of mastery of the material presented.
    The first exam on September 23 will be given in L9 Clapp Hall from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. The second
    exam is a take-home exam (available on October 21 and due back by October 25). This exam will be
    posted on Courseweb, and should be returned through Courseweb, using the link provided with the
    exam. The third exam will be given on November 18 in L9 Clapp Hall from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. The
    final exam will be an in-class exam and will take place in L9 Clapp Hall on December 11. The final
    exam will begin at 5:30pm and run to 7:30pm. The final exam on December 12 will cover material
    from the entire semester. Students will be allowed to use notes and the textbook during the exams on
    September 23, November 18, and the final exam. Remember, also, to bring a working calculator to
    these exams. Laptops and cellphones will not be permitted for the in-class exams on September 23,
    November 18, and December 11. There are no make-up exams except under EXTREME
    circumstances (i.e. death in the family).
    The exams will be comprised of a variety of question formats. Essay questions will query your ability
    to problem solve and apply the lecture material to relevant health scenarios. Short answer and multiple
    choice questions will assess your recognition of key lecture topics and your synthesis of these topics.
    In addition, the take-home exam will contain a heavy dose of epidemiological problems requiring
    calculations. The purpose of each of the exams will be to evaluate how well the student recognizes
    and expresses the concepts of epidemiology, why certain actions are done in epidemiology, and the
    appropriate application of epidemiologic approaches and methods. This means that, in many
    circumstances, you will be required to think and state how an epidemiologic principle applies to a
    given situation, or to identify which given example is the best representation of an epidemiologic
    principle. The exams are based on critical thinking and not on memorization.Principles of Epidemiology Essay
    Extra Credit:
    As an extra credit exercise you will be offered the opportunity to maintain a regular personal journal.
    This journal is meant to be a tool through which the student can apply the lecture principles and
    objectives to different public health issues and settings. Throughout the term, discussion questions will
    be posted after each lecture. Often, the questions will cover controversial issues in epidemiology to
    which there are not yet any clear answers. Students are encouraged (though not required) to maintain a
    journal on Courseweb using the posted personal journal to record their responses to the questions
    throughout the semester. Extra credit will be provided for students who maintain a journal, with one
    point given for weekly journal entries provided in the first one-half of the course (prior to October 16),
    and one point given for weekly journal entries provided in the second one-half of the course.
    Outstanding and creative responses to the practice questions may also be selected by the instructors to
    be highlighted, anonymously, on a class page posted in Courseweb.
    EPIDEM 2110 Page 4 12/1/2014
    Recommended Text:
    Epidemiology, 4th edition, Gordis (2009), Elsevier/Saunders Company (ISBN: 978-1-4160-4002-6).
    -purchase only, available online
    Epidemiology, 5th edition, Gordis (2014), Elsevier/Saunders Company (ISBN: 978-1-4557-3733-8).
    -purchase online
    -available as an electronic book (no purchase required) at the Health Sciences Library website
    Grading Policy:
    Course requirements will be weighted in the following fashion to determine the final course grade.
    Homework Exercises: 10% (@1% each)
    Group Project Participation 10%
    Exams: 80% (20% each)
    Grades will be assigned using a letter grade as follows: A: 90% or higher
    B: 80% to < 90%
    C: 70% to < 80%
    F: < 70%
    Students who withdraw from the course must verify that they have been removed from the class roster
    maintained by the University Registrar. Otherwise, students who remain on the roster and do not
    complete the designated work will be assigned a failing grade.
    Course Expectations Principles of Epidemiology Essay
    As a student in this course, you can expect the following:
    Epidemiology is a unique discipline that utilizes a blend of quantitative and qualitative skills and
    abilities to address important health issues in the community. In epidemiology, heavy emphasis is
    placed upon describing the importance of health issues through quantitative measures where there are
    correct and incorrect methods to identifying answers. However, in epidemiology, a professional must
    also be able to interpret this quantitative information in the context of the community and accepted
    practices. This interpretation involves the use of critical thinking skills. It is often the case that there
    is not necessarily one correct answer or only one approach to the proper interpretation of a health
    related question. Sometimes, a professional must choose among various options by identifying a
    solution that is the most appropriate for the problem posed given the information available to that
    person. Acquiring the knowledge and skills to make reasoned judgments is one of the goals of
    this course. For many students, this will be their first experience in making judgments where there is
    not one concrete answer. As a result, some students may become frustrated, especially if their
    interpretations are marked off on exams and lose points. Be patient and keep on trying. Making
    reasoned judgments takes time and practice.
    This course includes students from all of the departments in the Graduate School of Public Health, and
    students from several schools outside of the GSPH. As a result, it contains students from many
    different cultures and backgrounds and with many different levels of understanding and expertise.
    EPIDEM 2110 Page 5 12/1/2014
    You are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to meet others in the course and to learn
    epidemiology together with them. As one of the course requirements, you will be placed into a small
    group with other class members to work on assigned questions together to facilitate this interaction.
    The graduate nature of this class also means that there is the expectation that students will monitor
    their academic progress and seek help when necessary. Suggested answers to practice exercises and
    homework assignments will be posted as part of the course material for each lecture. Students are
    expected to review this material and their own completed work to independently assess their level of
    understanding of the material. If questions still remain, students should seek input from the teaching
    assistants or instructors during office hours or the recitation periods. Feedback on the exams will be
    provided within one week after the completion of the exam.
    Academic Integrity:
    All students are expected to adhere to the school’s standards of academic honesty. Any work
    submitted by a student for evaluation must represent his/her own intellectual contribution and efforts.
    You are not permitted to work with other students or other persons on the take-home exam.
    The GSPH policy on academic integrity, which is based on the University policy, is available online at The policy includes obligations for faculty
    and students, procedures for adjudicating violations, and other critical information. Please take the
    time to read this policy.Principles of Epidemiology Essay
    Students committing acts of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, collaboration on take-home
    exams, cheating on in-class exams, misrepresentation of data, and facilitating dishonesty by others,
    will receive sanctions appropriate to the violation(s) committed. Sanctions include, but are not limited
    to, reduction of a grade for an assignment or exam, failure of an exam, and failure of the course.


All student violations of academic integrity will also be documented and forwarded to the GSPH
Office of Student Affairs. If a sanction for a violation is agreed upon by the student and instructor,
then the document of violation will be expunged from the student file upon the student’s graduation. If
the sanction proposed by the instructor is not agreed upon by the student, then the violation will be
referred to the GSPH Academic Integrity Hearing Board, where a final decision on the violation will
be rendered. However, the document of the academic violation and the final decision of the Hearing
Board will remain in the student’s permanent record.
Disability Resources and Services:
If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged
to contact both Dr. Songer and Disability Resources and Services (DRS), 140 William Pitt Union,
Phone: (412) 648-7890,, (412) 228-5347 for P3 ASL users, as early as possible in
the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.
A comprehensive description of the services of that office can be obtained at
Students that require accommodations in the event of a building evacuation should e-mail the Office of
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at to request the development of an
individualized evacuation plan. When finalized, you should also inform Dr. Songer of the proposed
plan for an evacuation.
EPIDEM 2110 Page 6 12/1/2014
Office Hours:
Dr. Songer: Fridays, 3:00 – 4:30 pm, Peet’s Coffee Shop, Forbes & Atwood Aves.
Teaching Assistants:
Ms. Rodgers Mondays, 1:00-2:00pm, 308 Parran Hall
Mr. Dabass: Tuesdays, 1:00-2:00pm, 308 Parran Hall
Ms. Siminerio Wednesdays, 3:00-4:00pm, 308 Parran Hall
Ms. Mellers Thursdays, 4:00-5:00pm, 308 Parran Hall
Course Website:
All course materials can be accessed through the Courseweb application used at the University of
Pittsburgh ( All enrolled students who have an active University Computer
Account have online access to this application. Class materials on this system can be accessed through
the links on the left side of the screen after you enter into the course. Click on the Course Documents
link to gain access the lectures, class handouts, assigned readings, practice exercises, and homework
assignments. This material is embedded in the links pertaining to each lecture of the course. The basic
structure of the Course Documents link is built around lecture modules. Many different types of
materials will be provided in each module, including lecture slides, an audio recording to describe the
slides, reading associated with the lecture material, a practice exercise to assess your understanding,
personal journal questions, required homework assignments, and occasionally assorted exercises.
Course materials related to the Group Project will be located in a separate link on Courseweb. Principles of Epidemiology Essay Part of
the group project will involve you posting material into a Wiki. Details on posting in Wikis are
included in the Student Help link in Courseweb. Also, the take-home exam will be posted under the
Exams link in Courseweb. Finally, all announcements related to the course will be posted using the
Courseweb announcement system. You will be expected to monitor Courseweb regularly for these
announcements. If changes occur in the course, they will be broadcast through this mechanism.
Audio recordings:
Audio recordings of the lectures are provided to assist students on material that may be confusing or
covered quickly in the course. All recordings are posted under their respective lecture links under
Course Documents on the Courseweb site and available for listening on the Kaltura media space. To
my knowledge, these files are not downloadable through Courseweb. The audio files pertain to
lectures recorded in the fall of 2012. While the material in the recordings is roughly similar to that
presented this year, it can differ in some instances. Be aware that you will be assessed on material as it
is presented in the current lectures.
Given that recordings are already provided for each lecture, and to ensure the free and open discussion
of ideas, students may not record classroom lectures, discussion and/or activities without the advance
written permission of the instructor, and any such recording properly approved in advance can be used
solely for the student’s own private use Principles of Epidemiology