317.600.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 1st Term | 4 Credit(s)
MW 5:00:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Thomas Burke
  • Course Objectives

    The course is offered in a mixed lecture and problem-based format. Students will work throughout the term on a specific case example and also read and evaluate selected risk assessments.

  • Course Description
    Provides an introduction to the basic paradigm for quantitative risk assessment and illustrates its application in the public policy process using case studies. Examines risk assessment in a broad societal context, considering social, economic, and political factors that affect risk decision-making; evolution of risk assessment; and the use of risk assessment in regulatory processes. Students complete a risk assessment exercise.

    Additional Faculty Notes:
    This course provides an introduction and overview of the basic paradigm for quantitative risk assessment and the application of risk assessment in the public policy process. Students will be introduced to the concept of risk and its central role in decision-making at the individual and societal levels. The course will place risk assessment in a broad societal context, including consideration of social, economic and political factors that affect risk decision-making. The use of risk assessment in regulatory processes and standard setting will be introduced. It begins by covering the evolution of risk assessment and its application. Concepts will be illustrated using contemporary case studies. Students will do one case study to gain practice addressing the issues they might face in conducting each of the four steps of the health risk assessment paradigm.

  • Intended Audience
    students across the school interested in Risk

    Additional Faculty Notes:
    The course is appropriate for students seeking an introduction to risk assessment. It would be appropriate for M.P.H. students who are considering careers in public health agencies, whether local, state, or federal. It would also be appropriate for students envisioning careers in the general areas of environmental health, epidemiology, and health policy. For students who anticipate a need to gain direct skills in risk assessment, this course should be the first in the four-course sequence on risk assessment offered by the Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute.

  • Methods of Assessment
    Student evaluation based on class participation and assignments.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Grades for the course will be based on the homework exercises, a final examination, and class participation, representing 60%, 30%, and 10% of the final grade, respectively. The final examination will consist of multiple-choice or short answer questions; it will be directed at materials presented throughout the course.

  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    There is no text book for this course. Extensive reading assignments will be available from the Welch Library's electronic reserves (

    Reading assignments are listed in the lecture schedule. Supplemental readings, e.g. current events, clippings, or guest lecture materials, will be distributed throughout the class.

    In addition to these texts, it will be neccesary to download The Final Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment from the EPA website at

  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Files from the Online Library
  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Welcome Message

    Welcome, everyone, to this class! We look forward to working with you all and having a fun-filled eight weeks learning about risk assessment! Please familiarize yourselves with this courseplus site, as well as the electronic reserves site (, where we will be posting all the reading materials for this course. Let us know if you have any questions on the BBS. Individual or personal questions can be directed to our course email account,


  • Course topics
    See lecture schedule
  • Contact Information

    Course TAs
    Office: Hampton House 509


    Thomas Burke, PhD, MPH
    Office: HH484
    Tel: 410-955-1604

    Mary Fox, Ph.D., MPH
    Office: 624 North Broadway, Hampton House 455

    Keeve Nachman, Ph.D., MHS
    Office: 615 N. Wolfe St. Room E2650
    Tel: 410-502-7576

    Kellogg Schwab, PhD, MS
    Office: 615 N. Wolfe St. Room W6001A
    Tel: 410-614-5753





  • Course Learning Objectives

    Information not required for this course type

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at