Become familiar with the epidemiologic toolset
Measure the health of populations
Collect and analyze public health surveillance data
Investigate disease outbreaks and epidemics
This specialization is intended for people working or aspiring to work in the field of public health at the local, regional, and national level. Over five courses taught by faculty from the preeminent school of public health, you’ll learn to use the core epidemiologic toolset to measure the health of populations, assess interventions, collect and analyze data, and investigate outbreaks and epidemics.
Essential Epidemiologic Tools for Public Health Practice
In order to make a difference in the health and well-being of a population, we must understand the burden of all problems and conditions that affect the population, as well as how well our efforts to mitigate these problems are actually working. This course provides you with some essential skills and tools that will enhance your ability to describe and understand the health of your community. The tools that epidemiologists use are in fact useful for all public health practitioners, including data scientists, program officials, agency leaders, and policymakers. Whether you are deeply enmeshed in your career and looking to augment your skills, or are looking to change career paths into the field of public health, this course will give you some of the practical knowledge and skills that we hope you can apply in your professional endeavors.
Data and Health Indicators in Public Health Practice
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.
Surveillance Systems: The Building BlocksEpidemiology is often described as the cornerstone science and public health and public health surveillance is a cornerstone of epidemiology. This course will help you build your technical awareness and skills for working with a variety of surveillance systems. Along the way, we'll focus on system objectives, data reporting, the core surveillance attributes, and performance assessment. This course is designed for public health practitioners and anyone who wants to learn more about the basics of public health surveillance. If you develop or implement surveillance systems or aspire to do so or use the data resulting from surveillance, then this course is for you. It's s also for people who are interested in understanding more about this fundamental epidemiologic tool and public health practice.
Surveillance Systems: Analysis, Dissemination, and Special SystemsIn this course, we'll build on the previous lessons in this specialization to focus on some very specific skills related to public health surveillance. We'll learn how to get the most out of surveillance data analysis, focusing specifically on interpreting time trend data to detect temporal aberrations as well as person, place, and time in the context of surveillance data. We'll also explore strategies for the presentation of surveillance data and some of the complex legal elements that affect its use. We'll then turn our attention to surveillance of non-communicable chronic diseases and how the data can be used to support prevention efforts. Finally, we'll explore special surveillance systems, such as syndromic surveillance, antimicrobial resistance, and event-related surveillance. This course is designed for public health practitioners with a focus on those working on health surveillance in municipal, regional, state, provincial, or even national public health agencies. We really think that this course will help those with an interest in health surveillance to see which approaches are used in actual practice of public health.
Outbreaks and Epidemics
Professional epidemiologists are often called on to investigate outbreaks and epidemics. This course serves as an introduction to the essentials of investigation, identifying pathogens, figuring out what's going on, reporting, and responding. You'll learn how to ask precise epidemiologic questions and apply epidemiologic tools to uncover the answers. You'll also learn about basic epidemic dynamics and the terrible law that cause them to grow, as well as the reasons why they recede and eventually go away. The course concludes with deep dives into some real outbreaks from Ebola, in West Africa, to the opioid epidemic in the United States.
This is a beginner course. Some public health background is helpful, but not required.