Recap of Semester 1: Methods for Studying the Distribution of Health

Allow me to return to the topic of last semester’s courses. The course that followed Introduction to Public Health Sciences was the first of three epidemiology courses that precede the applied epidemiology courses we will take next fall and was called Methods for Studying the Distribution of Health. According to the program syllabus, these three epidemiology courses are organized around the three core areas of epidemiology: “monitoring and describing the prevalence of disease, often termed distribution of health; analyses of the causes of disease and health, i.e. the determinants of health; and assessment of the outcomes of public health programmes and policies, outcome evaluation.” Thus, the main objectives of this course were to learn to estimate and interpret measures of disease occurrence, discuss key concepts of descriptive epidemiology, become familiar with sources of data on health (including the famous Swedish health registries), distinguish between different types of epidemiological studies, and draw conclusions from descriptive epidemiological scientific literature.

Like Epidemiological Methods for Studying Determinants of Health, this course was held in the Institute of Environmental MedicineAs for most of our courses, lectures were scheduled in the morning followed by group work in the afternoon. From the very beginning, we were assigned randomly to groups of five and worked in these groups every afternoon for the entire duration of the course. I appreciated working closely with my group members because it helped me get to know people in my program whom I hadn’t yet met at all. In general, this course brought the epidemiology track students closer together because our class size was reduced to 20 students once we were separated from the students in the health economics, policy, and management track.

One memorable day covered the topic “Accuracy and other validation measures.” Even our course director felt that her knowledge on the topic had been solidified after listening to this lecture! The morning session was followed by a fun group work in which we were able to perform our own little experiment and use our newly won knowledge on validation measures to assess the experiment. The credit for the picture below goes to my classmate:

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