Fundamentals of Epidemiology

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Ropka
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 2 | Singapore
Prerequisites: None. Of note -- a background in statistics is not required, but doing the work of the course frequently involves doing arithmetic calculations with a calculator. Download Syllabus

This course provides a general introduction to epidemiology methods and topics related to health care and public health. Epidemiology is the basic science of public health. The course focuses on the distribution and determinants of health-related states or conditions in specified populations at local through global levels, and on the application of epidemiology to control health problems. The course covers the methods of epidemiologic research and introduces epidemiologic research for key topics of health and disease in the U.S. and globally, such as cancer, HIV, HPV, and obesity. Specific attention will be paid to health problems in the areas being visiting by SAS. The course will equip the student to read and understand basic health and medical literature that uses epidemiologic methods. Importantly, students will also learn to assess the presentation of epidemiologic information in the media. The course content emphasizes a local-to-global perspective and application of methods to promote health and improve health care delivery.

Field Work

Country: Singapore
Day: 2

The Field Lab for this course will take place at the National University of Singapore (NUS).  Three medical school faculty members with international reputations in Infectious Disease will provide diverse perspectives of the epidemiology of infectious diseases in the Asia Pacific.  We will spend the morning with Dr. Indumathi Venkatachalam at the NUS Epidemiology Unit, where he will go through their routine surveillance systems and show us their isolation facilities. In the afternoon, we will first learn from Dr. Peter Horby about the epidemiology of highly pathogenic avian influenza (A/H5N1) in animals and humans, which is a serious health threat in Southeast Asia.  Finally, Dr. Annelies Wilder-Smith will talk us through some of the Hajj pilgrimage-related epidemiological issues and pandemic potential.  Taken together, this Field Lab will provide a unique view of some epidemiological concerns and approaches that take advantage of our visit to this part of the world.