Epidemiology

  • SPH EP 713: Introduction to Epidemiology
    EP713 is the sole introductory epidemiology course for all SPH programs (replacing EP711 and EP712). The goals of EP713 are to introduce the basic principles and methods of epidemiology and demonstrate their applicability to public health and research and to provide fundamental skills needed to begin to interpret and critically evaluate literature relevant to public health professionals. Topics include measures of disease frequency and effect, epidemiologic study designs, bias, and screening for disease. Class lectures are interspersed with active learning exercises consisting of a mixture of in-class problems, exercises, and discussions, and online and independent learning modules further enable students to achieve the learning objectives.
  • SPH EP 721: Survey Methods for Public Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidemiology MPH core course is required. The biostatistics MPH core course is recommended.
    This course stresses the theory and practice of conducting high quality survey research in health fields. Classes are a mixture of lectures, examples from real world studies, and skill exercises. Topics include research design, question construction, sampling, data collection methods, interviewing, coding, reliability,validity and preparing data for analysis. The course is appropriate for those who will do research as well as those who will be research consumers.
  • SPH EP 730: Epidemiology of Vaccine Preventable Diseases
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology core course requirement
    This course will provide students with a thorough understanding of the epidemiology and control of vaccine-preventable diseases. This will be accomplished by focusing on a different vaccine-preventable disease each week, and using that disease to illustrate epidemiologic principles and methods related to measuring vaccine efficacy and safety, overall impact, herd effects, special populations, adverse reactions, and public acceptability. Emphasis will be placed on current developments, outbreaks, controversies, study designs, and sources of bias. This course combines short lectures with in-class discussions and will provide students with practice and feedback in the critical review and design of epidemiologic studies.
  • SPH EP 735: Principles of Cancer Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology core course requirement. Students may not take both EP735 and EP752 for degree credit.
    This 2-credit course is designed to provide an overview of the important concepts and tools fundamental to the understanding, design, and conduct of cancer epidemiology studies. We will present a theoretical framework, providing an overview of the biology of cancer, as well as the major epidemiologic concepts critical to cancer epidemiology. We will study many of the major cancer sites, including breast, lung, colon, prostate, and cervix, reviewing both descriptive data on incidence and mortality, risk factors, and methodologic issues involved in studying these cancers. We will review several major risk factors for cancer, including tobacco, ionizing radiation, nutrition and physical activity, infections, and environmental exposures. Assignments for the class include readings, class participation including discussions of readings, and four written critiques of articles. Students may not take both EP735 and EP752 for degree credit.
  • SPH EP 740: Introduction to Epidemiology of Aging
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology core course requirement
    This 2-credit course introduces public health students to major research topics regarding age-related diseases, disorders, and disabilities, as well as the special considerations in the design and execution of epidemiologic studies in this field. The main objectives of each session are to 1) use web-based or public-use data on the incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and health consequences of the disease or condition to describe why it is important to study in elderly adults; 2) critically review 1-2 articles to understand the current state of knowledge on the topic; and 3) examine the special methodological issues that conducting studies of the topic in an elderly study population pose. These objectives will be met by brief student presentations each week of the epidemiology of the disease/condition, lectures by researchers who are performing studies on that condition, and journal club discussions of relevant articles that students will critique. Students will synthesize this information in a short (8-10 page) grant proposal for a study on the prevention or treatment of a disease/condition that affects elderly adults.
  • SPH EP 748: Drug Epidemiology (formerly EP830)
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH biostatistics and epidemiology core courses
    With the participation of active researchers in pharmacoepidemiology, this course addresses a range of study designs and analytic techniques for observational studies on the utilization, safety and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals. Students will develop an understanding of how to plan, implement, analyze and criticize pharmacoepidemiologic studies. Lectures will provide methodological background and will cover applied issues typically encountered in pharmacoepidemiology. In addition, students will become acquainted with the drug approval process in the United States, and with issues particularly relevant or unique to the epidemiologic study of medications (e.g., risk management, post marketing surveillance).
  • SPH EP 751: Cardiovascular Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidemiology MPH core requirement.
    The goal of this course is to enable students to understand major aspects of cardiovascular epidemiology and current strategies for primary and secondary prevention of major cardiovascular diseases (i.e. stroke, heart attack, heart failure or hypertension). The course concentrates on physiologic mechanisms leading to atherosclerosis; traditional and novel CHD risk factors; prediction models for CVD; and the role of lifestyle, dietary, and genetic factors on the development of CVD. In addition, relevant historical breakthrough and current controversies in CVD are discussed using the latest publication from lay press and peer-reviewed journals. A fair amount of time is devoted to acquiring skills in scientific writing and data interpretation. These latter skills are used by the students to design and complete a CVD epidemiology project on a topic of their choosing. Each student (group of students) then presents his/her completed project in class during the last 2 sessions of the course. The course is taught by the course Director and other senior investigators who are experts in different areas of cardiovascular disease.
  • SPH EP 752: Cancer Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidmiology MPH core requirement. Students may not take both EP752 and EP735 for degree credit.
    This course provides an overview of the important concepts fundamental to the understanding, design, and conduct of cancer epidemiology studies. The course commences with the descriptive epidemiology of cancer, including time trends in incidence and mortality, and geographic and demographic variation in cancer rates. An overview of the biology of cancer, and a review of the major epidemiologic concepts critical to cancer epidemiology is covered. The descriptive and analytic epidemiology of major cancer sites, including breast, lung, colon, prostate, cervix and melanoma, is discussed, as well as major risk factors for cancer, including tobacco, nutrition, infections, and environmental exposures. The course format consists of a series of lectures by faculty and guests, discussion sessions, and directed readings from the current literature. Students are required to pursue a cancer-related topic of their choosing in depth, developing a proposal for an epidemiologic study that will further current knowledge based on their literature review of the topic. Students may not take both EP752 and EP735 for degree credit.
  • SPH EP 755: Infectious Disease Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidemiology MPH core requirement
    This course introduces students to the biology, epidemiologic methods, and mathematical models needed to study infectious diseases in populations. In addition to lecture presentations on biologic and clinical aspects of infectious diseases, their distribution within populations, and their control, the course also covers study design issues specific to infectious diseases and simple infectious disease modeling. The course includes analysis of actual infectious disease outbreaks and studies through workshops and article reviews.
  • SPH EP 758: Nutritional Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics and epidemiology MPH core course requirements.
    The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the discipline of nutritional epidemiology. In the class, we will focus on methodological issues relating to design, dietary assessment, and data analysis of studies on diet and disease. We will also review some of the literature relating nutrition to certain disease states, including coronary heart disease and cancer, in which we highlight methodological issues and interpretation of findings in nutritional epidemiologic research. Students completing this course will understand the basic principles of nutritional epidemiology and will be able to apply them in reading the literature and participating in nutrition research projects. This is a small, intermediate-level epidemiology class, which combines lectures with in-class discussion of classic and cutting-edge research articles. In addition, one-on-one meetings are set up with students throughout the semester to provide focused attention and facilitate mastery of the material.
  • SPH EP 759: Reproductive Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidemiology MPH core course requirement.
    This course surveys current knowledge concerning the epidemiology of reproductive heath across the lifespan. Topics vary from year to year but may include infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, menopause, uterine fibroids, gynecologic cancers, and male reproductive health. The course emphasizes epidemiologic methods and gives the student experience in the critical review and design of epidemiologic studies in this area.
  • SPH EP 762: Clinical Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics and epidemiology MPH core requirements.
    This course introduces students to topics and methods in clinical epidemiology. Covered topics include those traditionally regarded within the purview of clinical epidemiology such as the evaluation of diagnostic tests (sensitivity, specificity, predictive value, and ROC curves), decision analysis, cost effectiveness analysis, outcomes assessment, and meta-analysis. At the conclusion of the course students will understand concepts of clinical epidemiology, know the indications for using each clinical epidemiology method, and be prepared to critically evaluate studies that employ these methods. Since this course uses numerous clinical examples, it is not recommended for those with no clinical experience.
  • SPH EP 763: Genetic Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics and epidemiology MPH core requirements
    This course familiarizes students with general methods and principles of genetic epidemiology. Topics include basic human genetics, population genetics, pedigree analysis, linkage analysis in humans, twin studies, effects of inbreeding, genetics of common diseases, genetic association studies, and forensic genetics. The course emphasizes practical applications of existing methods to designing and executing genetic studies and to genetic counseling. This involves some critical evaluation of the scientific literature.
  • SPH EP 764: The Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in the Developed and Developing World
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology core course requirement
    This course is designed to introduce students to an important and growing field - the epidemiology of AIDS. It is designed for those students who have a keen interest in HIV/AIDS in both the developed and developing world. This course will survey state-of-the art knowledge of the epidemiology of HIV and will emphasize epidemiologic principles and methods including: estimation of the incidence of HIV infection and AIDS, study design, and sources of bias. It will also give the student experience in the critical review of epidemiologic studies in this area.
  • SPH EP 775: Social Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH core courses in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
    The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major social variables that affect population health, including socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, gender, neighborhood environment, corporate practices, and the criminal justice system. This course will cover the theoretical underpinnings of each construct, and will provide students with an in-depth discussion of the empirical research linking each to population health. Methods are introduced to operationalize each construct for the purpose of empirical application in epidemiology research.
  • SPH EP 784: The Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in the Developed and Developing World
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology core course requirement.
    This course is designed for those students who have an interest in both tuberculosis and epidemiologic methods. This course will survey both the history of this storied disease as well as state of the art knowledge of the epidemiology of tuberculosis (including molecular techniques) and will emphasize epidemiologic principles and methods including: estimation of the incidence of primary tuberculosis, estimation of the incidence of reactivation tuberculosis, study design, and sources of bias. The course will also give the student practice and feedback in the critical review of epidemiologic studies in this area.
  • SPH EP 800: Microbes and Methods: Selected Topics in Outbreak Investigation
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH Epidemiology core course requirement and BS723 completed or concurrent
    This course provides an overview of the important concepts fundamental to the understanding, design, and conduct of infectious disease outbreak investigations. The course will cover 1. The epidemiology and pathophysiology of selected infectious diseases. 2. Methodological issues related to investigating different types of outbreak. 3. Practical aspects of outbreak investigations (environmental analyses and communicating risk to the public). The course will primarily address common causes of outbreaks in this country (such as foodborne, respiratory, and hospital-based) but will touch on issues pertinent to outbreak investigations in the developing world. The course format consists of a series of lectures by faculty and guests, hands‐on experience with outbreak investigation data, directed readings from current literature, and student presentations on outbreaks of note. The course makes extensive use of SAS, so it is advised that students have completed or are enrolled concurrently in BS 723.
  • SPH EP 813: Intermediate Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidemiology and Biostatistics MPH core course requirements or consent of instructor.
    The purpose of this course is to further develop the methodologic concepts underlying the science of epidemiology. The material covered is intended to broaden and extend the student's understanding of the elements of study design, data analysis, and inference in epidemiologic research, including issues related to causation, bias, and confounding. The primary aims of the course are to provide working knowledge of the fundamentals of epidemiology as well as to serve as a foundation for more advanced study of epidemiologic methods. The course consists of lectures and workshop sessions. The workshop sessions are designed to reinforce the concepts/topics covered in the lectures.
  • SPH EP 817: A Guided Epidemiology Study
    Graduate Prerequisites: EP813 or EP854 and BS723 and consent of the instructor, lfredman@bu.edu.
    This is an upper-level , hands-on seminar course, which teaches a small group of students how to develop and conduct a hypothesis-based study, using datasets that are currently available to the instructors. Through a combination of workshops, written assignments, and oral presentations, students develop hypotheses, conduct literature reviews, perform data analyses, and write each section of a manuscript. The final project requires the student to integrate all sections into a complete paper for journal submission. This course prepares students to write thesis proposals and manuscripts.
  • SPH EP 854: Advanced Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 and EP813.
    This course covers the theory and application of key principles and methods of epidemiologic research in depth. The topics include causal models, confounding, randomization, interaction, statistical analysis and inference, and causal inference. Special emphasis is given to the meaning and interpretation of p-values, confidence intervals, and likelihoods. Alternative approaches are identified for selecting and interpreting measures of disease frequency and measures of effect. Guidance is offered for determining objectives and strategies in study design and analysis, especially for case-control research. Methods are presented for the assessment and control of confounding, misclassification bias, and selection bias. Strengths and weaknesses of standardization, pooling, modeling, and exposure-response analysis are reviewed.