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Epidemiology in Public Health Practice (Coursera)

Epidemiology is often described as the cornerstone science in public health. Epidemiology in public health practice uses study design and analyses to identify causes in an outbreak situation, guides interventions to improve population health, and evaluates programs and policies.

In this course, we’ll define the role of the professional epidemiologist as it relates to public health services, functions, and competencies. With that foundation in mind, we’ll introduce you to the problem solving methodology and demonstrate how it can be used in a wide variety of settings to identify problems, propose solutions, and evaluate interventions. This methodology depends on the use of reliable data, so we’ll take a deep dive into the routine and public health data systems that lie at the heart of epidemiology and then conclude with how you can use that data to calculate measures of disease burden in populations.

Who is this class for: This course is designed for those who are in the field at health departments, ministries of health, and other both governmental and non-governmental organizations that are committed to improving population health. If you are in one of these positions seeking additional training in epidemiology to enhance or improve your epidemiologic, this course is for you. This course is also for people who are interested in understanding what epidemiologist do in public health practice. This could include individuals who are considering a career change into public health, or the curious ones among us that are life-long learners.




In the first module, we will differentiate professional epidemiology from etiologic epidemiology. This difference is important as it will help you to understand that the breadth of epidemiology goes beyond the public health practice setting. We will also introduce the essential concepts of public health services, functions, and competencies. From this module, you should have a more clear understanding of the role of an epidemiologist in the public health practice.

Graded: Introduction



In this module, we will introduce the problem solving methodology. This methodology is a powerful tool that can useful when identifying a public health problem, building the case that there truly is a problem, suggesting interventions, and suggestions ways to evaluate the interventions and disseminate the findings of the evaluation.

Graded: Methodology


Routine and Public Health Information Systems

In this module, we dive deeper into what lies at the heart of epidemiology: data! More specifically, we will look at routine and public health data systems.

Graded: Routine and Public Health Information Systems


Measures of Disease Burden

In this module we will use data from routine and public health information systems to measure the burden of disease in the population. We will calculate crude mortality rates, and then apply direct and indirect age standardization methods.

Graded: Measures of Disease Burden