Epidimeology in Real Time: Epidemic Investigation, Analysis, and Control from Athens to Wuhan Winter 2022

Cross-listed PHLH 14 / ANSO 14

Class Details

Epidemiology is the basic science of public health. Unlike illness care activities, which address the health needs of individuals, public health addresses the needs of populations, and emphasizes prevention. The investigation of epidemics has contributed greatly to effective preventive strategies in human populations. The class will examine infectious disease outbreaks, as well as longer incubation, non-infectious disease epidemics generated by, for example, sports violence, specifically the relationship between concussion and sub-concussive head blows to the later development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy CTE) and other types of chronic brain damage. In the process the class will see the emergence of research methodologies that enhance hypothesis testing, and make possible reliable observational studies in etiology and the natural history of disability and disease. It was said of William Farr, an English epidemiologist of the middle 19th Century, that he had the significant power of making numbers argumentative (and politically controversial!). As the class is exposed to both descriptive and analytical data relating, for example, to the current epidemic of athletic injury, it will be clear that change can be extremely fractious. In the case of prevention, we may agree with George Bernard Shaw who wrote in the preface to the “Doctor’s Dilemma” that people prefer “absolution” to “exhortation”!
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 12
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: final project or presentation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: based on interview
Unit Notes: Dr. Wright is medical epidemiologist who first worked with maternal and child health and family planning programs in Alabama and Georgia. Later, after training as an EIS officer at the CDC, he was a resident consultant to both the Sri Lankan and Thai Ministries of Public Health. Still later, he was a faculty member in the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in New Jersey.
Materials/Lab Fee: none
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:

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