Epidemiologic Methods III

EPI 265 Spring 2019 (2 units)
Course Director: M. Maria Glymour, ScD, MS
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics


The class will emphasize the determinants of disease incidence and the challenges of causal inference from observational studies. We will review alternative study designs and equip students to propose alternative approaches to evaluating a research question. In particular, we want students to understand the trade-offs implicit in any particular chosen design, relating to sample size and generalizability, measurement validity and precision, and internal validity. These considerations will be contextualized within extant literature on chronic disease epidemiology, focusing on particular 'hot-topic' theoretical debates, such as early life sensitive periods, the obesity epidemic, determinants of dementia, and cohort trends in chronic disease incidence and prevalence.

At the conclusion of the class, students will be able to:

  • Articulate specific, testable hypotheses regarding determinants of chronic disease and how chronic diseases influence functional outcomes;
  • Describe how proposed research questions contribute to active debates in chronic disease epidemiology, including the origins of the obesity epidemic, cohort trends in cardiovascular disease, cross-national differences in chronic disease incidence and prevalence, early life influences on dementia and cardiovascular disease;
  • Propose alternative study designs (e.g., case-control, cohort, quasi-experimental, or randomized trial) to test hypotheses;
  • Articulate advantages and disadvantages of alternative designs, considering the research question, exposure, and outcome under consideration;
  • Select appropriate statistical approaches for data analysis, considering the research question, data source, and measures available;
  • Describe and estimate the magnitude of potential sources of bias in observational, quasi-experimental, or randomized studies, including confounding, selection bias, and measurement bias;
  • Distinguish between the goals of causation-oriented and prediction-oriented research; and
  • Review applied quantitative articles in chronic disease epidemiology, summarize research questions, and identify pros and cons of: study design, measurement approach, and analytic approach for the specific research question.

Epidemiologic Methods (EPI 203) and Biostatistical Methods for Clinical Research I (BIOSTAT 200). Exceptions to this prerequisite may be made with the consent of the Course Director, space permitting.

Course Director:

M. Maria Glymour, ScD, MS
Phone: 415-514-8014
email: maria.glymour@ucsf.edu


Course content will be delivered through weekly seminars. These will take place on Fridays, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, April 5 to June 7.

All course materials and handouts will be posted on the course's online syllabus.


Each session will be accompanied by recommended reading in the form of journal articles and specfic websites.


Grading will be based on class participation and feedback to other students (20%), written examination (2 quizzes, 5% each for 10%), written reports/homeworks (45%), and original paper/final research project (25%).

UCSF Graduate Division Policy on Disabilities


To apply for this course, please fill out and submit the application below. Course fees are covered by the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. The deadline for application is March 22, 2019. Only one application needs to be completed for all courses desired during the quarter.

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