Principles of Epidemiology

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - Wednesday, June 30, 2021

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Course Description

This course will provide an in-depth introduction to epidemiologic concepts and methods. Using graphics and visuals as a starting point, we will provide step-by-step instruction on the fundamentals of epidemiologic study design and analysis. For this course we will use the textbook Epidemiology Matters: a New Introduction to Methodological Foundations, co-written by course instructors Drs. Keyes and Galea. At its core, Epidemiology Matters is concerned with the principles of an epidemiologic science that is consequential for the improvement of human health through the identification of causes of disease while aspiring to the prevention of disease and the promotion of health. The course will be divided into fourteen modules that correspond with the fourteen chapters of Epidemiology Matters. Across these modules, Epidemiology Matters is organized around seven foundational steps that inform the conduct of an epidemiologic study.

The seven steps are:

1) identify a population of interest

2) measure exposure and health indicators

3) take a sample

4) estimate measures of association between exposures and health indicators

5) rigorously evaluate the associations for internal validity

6) Assess the evidence for causes working together

7) assess the external validity of epidemiologic study results

Epidemiology Matters also covers principles of screening for primary and secondary prevention. In addition to comprehensive content within the text, students will find a full compendium of exercises and practice problems, lecture slides, and additional material to enhance and build upon the material in the text at

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:


  • Identify the most appropriate study design for different types of research questions
  • Estimate measures of association between exposures and health indicators
  • Evaluate the potential for non-comparability compromising our ability to make inference from a study
  • Articulate epidemiologic causal theory and how causes work together to produce complex health indicators
  • Envision a program of research that has consequence for improving public health



Course Reading List

Keyes KM, Galea S. 2014. Epidemiology matters: a new introduction to methodological foundations. New York, Oxford University Press.


Navdep Kaur, MPH, is a second-year PhD student in Epidemiology at Columbia University. She is currently receiving training in the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training (PET) Program under the guidance of Dr. Katherine M. Keyes and Dr. Sharon Schwartz. Her research focuses on social epidemiology with particular attention to racial/ethnic disparities of psychiatric disorders and mental healthcare. More broadly, she is interested in the development of epidemiological theory to study drivers of social determinants of health.

Course Fee

Early registration discount before April 1, 2021: NA
After April 1, 2021: $1,000.00



The registration period has closed for this event.

Online Course Format

This is a month-long digital course, equivalent to approximately 20 hours of classroom instruction. Lectures and course material will be presented online in weekly segments. The flexible format will include video or audio recordings of lecture material, file sharing and topical discussion fora, self-assessment exercises, real-time electronic office hours and access to instructors for feedback during the course. Registrants for EPIC digital courses should have high-speed internet access. Any additional information about technical requirements and access to the course will be provided the month before the course begins.

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