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Graduate Summer Institute of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Epidemiology in Evidence-Based Policy

June 11 - June 15, 2018
1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
2 credits
Course Number: 340.636.11

Course Instructors:

·         Lawrence Appel



Course Description:  Focuses on how science in general and epidemiology in particular are used to inform health and regulatory policies. Distinguishes between good science and “junk science,” defines the role of epidemiologists in translating evidence to practice and policy, and examines how science fares in the legislative, regulatory, and judicial settings. Places special emphasis on cases in which the evidence is controversial, such as mammography for women in their forties and screening for prostate cancer; on fraudulent research in which autism was linked to MMR vaccination and its consequences; and on legal issues of class action lawsuits for breast implants and the Björk-Shiley mechanical heart valve and how they shape policy. Instructor and guest faculty present examples with which they have been personally involved in order to share the “inside scoop” with students. Presents the basics of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, tools often used to summarize the evidence.

Student Evaluation: Exam

Learning Objective:

  1. Assess the contribution of scientific findings to the making of public policy.

  2. Assess the contribution of scientific findings to the making of clinical decisions and the development of practice guidelines.

  3. Differentiate between good science and junk science.

  4. Examine the legislative, regulatory, and legal perspectives of policymaking

  5. Examine the interplay among the various determinants of policy and clinical decision making

  6. Perform an introductory level of systematic reviews and meta-analysis on a selected topic


Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic epidemiology is recommended.

Grading Options: Letter Grade or Pass/Fail

Course Materials: Provided in class and through CoursePlus