Applied Epidemiology 2 – Determinants of Health

At the beginning of November, we concluded our longest course yet: Applied Epidemiology 2 – Determinants of Health. It lasted for 6.5 weeks, and each week focused on a particular area of epidemiology and was led by a different lecturer. This course felt quite full because we were assigned a new project each week that was due after just a few days. These assignments formed the basis of our overall grade for the course. Many of the group assignments were graded on a pass/fail basis due to the fact that it’s hard to evaluate the effort put into such a project by each individual. Here are the topics and assignment formats for each week:

  • Week 1: Psychiatric epidemiology, individual written assignment
  • Week 2: Cardiovascular epidemiology, group presentation
  • Week 3: Geriatric epidemiology, group presentation
  • Week 4: Genetic epidemiology, group presentation and individual written assignment
  • Week 5: Interaction analysis, individual assignment
  • Week 6: Social determinants, individual assignment

As in the first applied epidemiology course, this course provided great opportunities for exploring our research interests and meeting potential thesis advisors. During week 3, all classes were held at the Aging Research Center (ARC), a collaboration of Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University. The center is located near the KI Solna campus. Several public health epidemiology students past and present have chosen to write their master’s thesis here. I have also heard that there are good opportunities for continuing on to doctoral studies at ARC for those interested in geriatric epidemiology.

eyeemfiltered1417371909884Main lobby of the Aging Research Center, the location of many an enjoyable fika session

eyeemfiltered1417371986261Our lecture room at the Aging Research Center

Overall, I found this course to be an eye-opening and informative way to expand our knowledge about different areas of epidemiology. For me personally, the weeks dedicated to genetic epidemiology and cardiovascular epidemiology were particularly novel, and I found the exercise on interaction analysis to be especially useful in strengthening our understanding of this topic. For other students, in contrast, the other weeks may have been the source of new ideas and inspiration. In being introduced to new topics, such as epigenetics, I am inspired to learn more about how these topics inform my own research interests as I progress in my career.

P.S. Click here to find my post on the first of three applied epidemiology courses from the third semester of our program.

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