OBSERVATIONAL EPIDEMIOLOGY Syllabus

340.608.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 2nd Term | 4 Credit(s)
MWF 9:00:00 AM
  • Contact Information
    Faculty
    Elizabeth T. Golub
    Stephen Gange
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • Describe modern design features for cohort studies, including use of existing clinical and administrative databases
    • Compare and contrast various nested designs, including methods for participant selection and analysis
    • Identify biases resulting from participant selection and misallocation of person-time
    • Identify and interpret epidemiologic measures of disease frequency
    • Describe the issues underlying measurement of exposures and outcomes in observational research
    • Identify the effect of measurement error and bias on epidemiologic inferences
    • Calculate and contrast measures of association and measures of impact
    • Utilize and illustrate a framework for distinguishing different inferential goals of an epidemiological study
    • Define concepts and terminology in causal inference for epidemiology and develop graphical approaches (e.g., DAGs) for models that integrate confounding and mediation effects
    • Illustrate, interpret, and contrast ‘classical’ (e.g., regression) approaches for addressing confounding with modern techniques (e.g., propensity-score and inverse-weighting methods)
    • Identify and critically analyze contemporaneous articles that utilize epidemiologic designs and methods
    • Articulate concerns about limitations in the epidemiological approach
  • Course Description

    This course expands beyond introductory level epidemiologic concepts and methods material, using examples from the published literature. Emphasis is on interpretation and the ability to critically evaluate issues related to populations/study design, measurement, population comparisons and inference, including: modern cohort study designs; advanced nested designs; novel techniques for exposure assessment; interpretation and utility of measures of impact; sources of bias and methods for their prevention; descriptive and analytical goals for observational study inference; the counterfactual model for defining exchangeability, cause, and confounding; and synthesis of inferences from observational studies.

  • Intended Audience
    Intended for students pursuing the professional epidemiology track

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    This is a 2nd-level Epidemiology methods course, and is also the 2nd course in the Professional Epidemiology methods sequence.

  • Methods of Assessment

    Student evaluation based on three quizzes (20% each), a project (20%), and a final exam (20%).

    Additional Faculty Notes:

     

    Students are responsible for all material in the lectures and practical application sessions. The three quizzes each have an in-class (closed book) component and a take-home (open-note) component. The final exam will be held in class on the last day of the term and is closed-book. International students may bring a language dictionary to the final exam.  All students must adhere to the School’s Academic Ethics Code.

  • Prerequisites
    340.601 or 550.694-695 or 340.751; prior or concurrent enrollment in 140.612 or equivalent.
  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

     

    There is no required textbook for this course.  Relevant readings, including published research papers and selections from three textbooks, will be provided.  Students are welcome to purchase any of these textbooks, however this is not required. All slides, papers, readings and labs will be available on the CoursePlus website.

    The three relevant textbooks mentioned above are:

    • Szklo M & Nieto FJ. (2014). Epidemiology: Beyond the Basics. 3rd Edition, Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
    • Elwood M. (2007).  Critical appraisal of epidemiological studies and clinical trials. 3rd Rev. Edition, Oxford University Press.
    • Savitz, DA. (2003). Interpreting epidemiologic evidence: Strategies for study design and analysis. Oxford University Press
  • Course Schedule

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

  • 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.

  • 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 dss@jhsph.edu.