Idea: Non-specialists need to become comfortable with the fundamental ideas and basic vocabulary of epidemiology in order to converse intelligently with specialists in epidemiology and biostatistics. One way to move in that direction is to practice making the ideas accessible to the layperson.
Secondary Idea: The Gordis textbook is very clear and classroom time is limited, so it's better to nudge students to use time-outside-class to learn by working systematically through the text.
Instructions: Each week add one entry on a Glossary section of your evolving Portfolio
in which you explain the meaning and significance of one of the terms from chapters of the Gordis text (see suggestions below) illustrated by an example from your own field.
Example from a previous student
Submit your current copy of the glossary by session 4 and an update by session 8 (unless you want to post them on the blog as you go).
Key terms/concepts in epidemiology (provisional list; see also helpful introduction and glossary
- Prevention: Primary, secondary, tertiary
- Population vs. individual focus
- Multi-step process in epidemiological reasoning
- What is a case?: Discrete, continuous, stages
- Incidence, prevalence, risk
- Target population, study population,study sample
- Rates, incl. morbidity vs. mortality
- Sensitivity vs. specificity
- Positive predictive value
- Outcome measures
- Modes of comparison: historical, non-randomized control, RT
- Cohort, case-control, cross-section
- Associations: Odds ratio, relative risk, attributable risk
- Bias, strata, confounding, conditioning, interaction
- Ecological fallacy and atomistic fallacy
Key concepts in statistics (provisional basis for mini-lecture related to class 5)
- Central tendency and dispersion
- Data reduction (summary, descriptive statistics, factors)
- Differences between means
- Patterns, predictions, and causes
- Experimental interventions and naturally variable observations
- Multiple variables, multiple groups