Postgraduate Course: Introduction to epidemiology for public policy (IPHP11022)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease in populations and the application of the knowledge gained to improve population health. Epidemiology is one of the central disciplines underpinning international public health research, practice and policy. This course examines the nature and scope of epidemiology and the contribution it makes to public policy in an international context. It provides an analysis of: key approaches to measuring and monitoring disease in populations; comparing populations in terms of specific disease outcomes; global measures of health and disease; and measuring and interpreting associations between health exposures and disease outcomes.
Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease in populations and the application of the knowledge gained to improve population health. Epidemiology is one of the central disciplines underpinning public health research, practice and policy. This course examines the nature and scope of epidemiology and the contribution it makes to public policy in a global context. It provides an analysis of: key approaches to measuring and monitoring disease in populations; comparing populations in terms of specific disease outcomes; and measuring and interpreting associations between health exposures and disease outcomes.
The course is organised around 10 sessions. Following the initial introductory session, the remaining teaching sessions are organised around i) principles of study design and ii) interpretation of epidemiological data. In the first part of the course, students will become familiar with key study types including ecological and cross-sectional studies, case-control studies, cohort studies, and intervention studies (including randomised controlled trials). In the second part of the course, students will learn and apply the principles of interpreting and evaluating epidemiological research, including how to evaluate internal validity (assessing the roles of chance, bias and confounding), external validity (the applicability of study findings to other populations and contexts), and evidence for causality.
The course will be taught by a combination via weekly lectures and a mix of small-group seminars, online exercises and whole class seminars. After the first session, each topic will be introduced via a 50 minute lecture and subsequently explored in greater depth during small-group seminars, online activities and whole class seminars. Students will be expected to undertake preparatory work before attending in seminars.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Have a critical understanding of how health outcomes are measured and compared across populations, and of key epidemiological study designs including ecological, cross-sectional, case-control, cohort and intervention studies
- Be capable of understanding and critically interpreting epidemiology measures such as odds ratios and relative risks in quantifying the link between exposures and health outcomes
- Understand potential sources of study error and be able to critically evaluate the internal and external validity of specific epidemiological studies
- Have a critical understanding of the principles of disease causation, the role of epidemiology in exploring risk and protective factors for specific health outcomes, and the role of epidemiological research in establishing the effectiveness of different health interventions
- Be able to understand and interpret epidemiological research and critically assess the implications of epidemiological evidence for health and public policy in a global context
|Course organiser||Dr Sarah Hill
|Course secretary||Ms Cath Thompson
Tel: (0131 6)51 3892