Epidemiologic Approaches to Implementation Science

EPI 239 Spring 2019 (2 units)
Course Director: Elvin Geng, MD, MPH
Associate Professor
Departments of Epidemiology and Medicine


This course provides a foundation for understanding the reasons for and interventions to close the gap between scientific evidence and day-to-day practice in public health and clinical medicine. This introduction to implementation science is taught using the languare and framework of epidemiologic methods.

At the end of the course, students will be able to understand:

  • The motivations for a science of implementation, (e.g., gaps in implementation and interventions to reduce them);
  • Distinctive characteristics of implementation science;
  • Typical study designs used in implementation science;
  • Common measurements (especially outcome measuresments) used in implementation science;
  • Intervention schemes used in implementation science;
  • Methods to understand causal inference; and
  • Approaches to garner research funding in implementation science.

A similar course, Introduction to Implementation Science: Theory and Design (EPI 245 Fall Quarter), is also offered. Both courses are worth 2 units and provide a thorough introduction to the problems addressed by implementation science and the research solutions to these problems. Both courses also fulfill one of curricular requirements of the Implementation Science Track of the TICR Master’s Program (i.e., EPI 239 or 245 must be taken) and can be used as springboard for the other courses in implementation science offered by the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. The differences between the courses rest in their timing and instructional framework. With respect to timing, EPI 239 is offered in Spring Quarter in order to a) give ATCR Certificate Program students a chance to begin to learn about Implementation Science within the constraints of their one-year program; and b) give students in the Master’s Program and PhD Program an opportunity to begin their studies in Implementation Science within their first year. This may benefit some Master’s Program students who wish to begin learning about implementation science before Summer of their first year and get started on an implementation science research projects over Summer. EPI 245 is offered in the Fall Quarter. This may benefit Master’s Program students who wish to use the summer to identify a research question related to implementation science and use EPI245 to refine the question and study design. In terms of curriculum and instructional framework, both courses cover the common behavioral theories that contemporary implementation science uses to identify barriers/facilitators to implementation and to design and evaluate interventions to impact implementation. EPI 239 introduces implementation science through the framework of epidemiologic methods and intercalates the theories of implementation science into this framework. This approach highlights issues of sampling, measurement and analysis taught in the required basic epidemiology and biostatistics courses of the ATCR and Master's Programs. EPI 245 does not require substantial background in epidemiology and spends more time reviewing the common behavioral theories that contemporary implementation science uses and how to apply them to students’ research questions and protocols.

While similar in content, EPI 239 and 245 are sufficiently different in their approaches such that some students might find it valuable to take both courses in order to obtain different perspectives on the fundamental problems and solutions featured in implementation science.


Epidemologic Methods I (EPI 203) or equivelent experience. This course will be most useful for students or health care professionals who are intending to translate some specific healthcare evidence into wider adoption in clinical practice or public health.

Course Director:

Elvin Geng, MD, MPH
Phone: 415-476-4082, ext. 409
email: elvin.geng@ucsf.edu

Teaching Assistants:

Giuseppe Cullaro, MD
email: giuseppe.cullaro@ucsf.edu


Matthew Spinelli, MD
email: matthew.spinelli@ucsf.edu


Classes will take place on Thursdays from 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM, April 4 to June 6. Sessions will include both lectures and small group discussion sections.

  • Each week, new material is introduced via recommended reading and lecture.
  • Ideally, the reading should be done prior to the lecture.
  • Homework consists of writing sections of a grant proposal to test an implementation strategy.
  • Small group sections will be an opportunity to discuss and develop the grant.
  • Two journal clubs will illustrate various points made during the course in real-world practice.

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 specific websites.


Grading will be determined from completion of homework and final protocol presentation.

Students not in full-year TICR Programs who satisfactorily pass all course requirements will, upon request, receive a Certificate of Course Completion.

UCSF Graduate Division Policy on Disabilities


This course is sponsored by the Training in Clinical Research (TICR) Program, and space is limited. Preference is given to UCSF-affiliated personnel. We regret that auditing is not permitted.

To apply for this course, please fill out and submit the application below. Please see our fees page for cost information. 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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