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PPOL G 797 - Epidemiological Thinking For Non-Specialists, Fall 2007

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Health policy researchers are increasingly integrating biological and social influences in their understanding of the development of diseases and their impact at a population level. This is the domain of epidemiology (especially social epidemiology) and population health. This graduate-level elective aims for literacy in the concepts and controversies in these fields. This introduction equips students to collaborate thoughtfully with specialists or to decide which techniques they need to gain technical expertise in through further training.
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Epidemiological Thinking For Non-Specialists

Professor Peter Taylor, Ph.D.

Public Policy
University of Massachusetts - Boston

Course Structure: 2.5 hour long classes - once a week

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Course Description

Introduction to methods and problems in research and applications where quantitative data is analyzed to reconstruct possible pathways of development of behaviors and diseases. Special attention given to social inequalities, changes over the life course, heterogeneous pathways, and controversies with implications for policy and practice. Case studies and course projects are shaped to accommodate students with interests in fields related to health, gerontology, education, psychology, sociology, and public policy. Students are assumed to have a statistical background, but the course emphasizes the ability to frame the questions in order to collaborate well with statistical specialists; the goal is methodological "literacy" not technical expertise.