Applied Topics in Injury Epidemiology and Prevention

Course Description

As the title implies, this course will introduce students to contemporary applied topics in injury epidemiology and the science of prevention. The course will be taught by accomplished researchers and experienced instructors, and will combine lectures with interactive discussions. Selected readings will ground students and build on the course material presented. Speakers will differ each year covering a range of multifaceted approaches to injury prevention and reduction. The title, speakers and several objectives are updated each year to reflect the specific topics covered. These applied topics will include both unintentional and intentional injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, concussion, drug overdose, child abuse, youth violence, self-harm, assault and innovative designs and methods that can be applied to injury research.

The applied topic for 2020 is Optimization for Interventions. Students will learn how to apply engineering-inspired concept of optimization to the study of behavioral, biobehavioral and biomedical interventions across public health fields including injury. The course will be grounded in the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST) framework. Under the optimization phase of the MOST framework, the course will introduce experimental designs with an emphasis on sequential, multiple assignment randomized trial (SMART) which is a way to develop high-quality adaptive interventions. Micro-randomized Trails (MRTs) are a way to develop mHealth Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions (JITAIs) also will be covered.



A master's degree in public health or related field and two years of working experience in public health/clinical setting are desirable. At the minimum, the student should have taken introductory courses in epidemiology and biostatistics.

Course Reading List

Collins LM, Nahum-Shani I, Almirall D. Optimization of behavioral dynamic treatment regimens based on the sequential, multiple assignment, randomized trial (SMART). Clin Trials. 2014 Aug;11(4):426-434. Epub 2014 Jun 5. PMID: 24902922.


Klasnja, P., Hekler, E. B., Shiffman, S., Boruvka, A., Almirall, D., Tewari, A., & Murphy, S. A. (2015). Microrandomized trials: An experimental design for developing just-in-time adaptive interventions. Health Psychology, 34(S), 1220.


Nahum-Shani I, Smith SN, Spring BJ, Collins LM, Witkiewitz K, Tewari A, Murphy SA. Just-in- Time Adaptive Interventions (JITAIs) in Mobile Health: Key Components and Design Principles for Ongoing Health Behavior Support. Ann Behav Med. 2018 May 18;52(6):446-462. doi: 10.1007/s12160-016-9830-8. PMID: 27663578.

Instructor (will change by topic each year)

Thelma Mielenz, PT, PhD, MS

Dr. Mielenz is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. As a behavioral consequential epidemiologist, her focus is on implementation science integrating innovative methodology for self-management to prolong functional independence as we age. More specifically on: 1) optimizing interventions to promote physical function and prevent falls, 2) clinical and community linkages to deliver these preventive services and 3) patient-reported outcomes. Her recent research includes a focus on strengthening community-clinic linkages and a translational falls project under the Columbia University Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention funded by CDC where she is the Director of the Education Core. She also directs Epidemiology’s Summer Institute at Columbia University (episummer@columbia). She is the co-PI of the NY site for a large research foundation project titled, Longitudinal Research on Older Adult Drivers or the LongROAD study. She is the past chair the optimization of behavioral and biobehavioral interventions (OBBI) for the Society of Behavioral Medicine. She attended a competitive, week long, NIH sponsored training on OBBI in 2016.

Course Fee

Late registration discount before May 1, 2020: $250.00
After May 1, 2020: $250.00


The registration period has closed for this event.


Zoom Webinar


The Zoom link for this live webinar course will be made available to course registrants prior to the start of class.


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