PUB HLTH 3501 - Epidemiology in Action III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2016

This course focuses on the implementation and interpretation of epidemiological concepts and measures that are routinely used in public health practice. It demonstrates the essential role of epidemiology in monitoring the health of population, detecting health problems among specific populations, and evaluating determinants of health. The strengths and limitations of epidemiology in this context will also be considered. The course will extend students' ability to locate, access, analyse and interpret epidemiological information. This learning will occur through the review and integration of topics related to epidemiology, public health and biostatistics, including tutorial/practical activities to reinforce the concepts and techniques discussed in lectures. At the end of this course the students will be able to apply epidemiological reasoning to public health problems, interpret the epidemiological information contained in scientific literature and to communicate these interpretations to both lay and professional audiences.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 3501
    Course Epidemiology in Action III
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites PUB HLTH 2005
    Assumed Knowledge PUB HLTH 2100
    Assessment Written assignments, quizzes and exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr David Gonzalez-Chica

    Course Coordinator: David Gonzalez
    Phone: 8313 1631
    Location: Level 11, 178 North Terrace

    Learning and Teaching Team
    Phone: +61 8313 2128

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Locate, access and interpret the epidemiological information contained in reports and the health literature, including systematic reviews, using epidemiological terminology correctly and contextually.
    2 Recognise the epidemiological principles underlying public health activities such as infectious disease management and the assessment  of health interventions
    3 Demonstrate capacity to describe the process of health data collection and the principles measures used to describe health patterns, as  well as to review some sources of bias, such as confounding, selection and measurement error
    4 Appraise the suitability of each epidemiological study design to address questions that typically arise in public health, present  persuasive arguments for the need for biostatistics in analysing and interpreting data, and elicit the strengths and limitations of  quantitative research in public health
    5 Use appropriately the terminology of association and causality in epidemiology, as well as some of the principal statistical methods used to control for confounding
    6 Synthesise health information from a variety of sources and report their findings clearly in an audience-appropriate manner
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1, 4, 6
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Each week there will be assigned chapters of books, reports and/or other relevant material to provide background to and complement the lectures and practical sessions. You will be expected to have read this material before class. Required readings are available via a reading list on MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    For most of the activities in this course, two books will be the principal sources for consultation:

    1.  Katz D, Wild D, Elmore E, Lucan S. Jekel's Epidemiology, biostatistics, preventive medicine, and public health. 4th edn.  Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2014.

    2.  Gordis L. Epidemiology with student consult online access, 5th edition. Elsevier Health Sciences. UK. 2013.

    These materials have free online access to University of Adelaide students, and the student can purchase for reading or printing from  the Library Search Service of the University of Adelaide.

    Other essentials readings will be available in electronic format through MyUni.
    Online Learning
    We assume that you have access to student e-mail and that your address is the University of Adelaide student’s e-mail address that was assigned to you on enrolment. We will send our messages to your official University of Adelaide student e-mail address and   assume that you read your e-mail.

    MyUni is the primary entry point to online learning at the University of Adelaide. MyUni will be used to provide students with access to course materials, announcements, and other features to assist your study.

    For enquiries about online education services, access and other problems, contact the Online Education Helpdesk. Phone: 8313 3000 E-mail:
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    In this course there are a number of teaching and learning modes. Lectures are intended to introduce concepts and illustrate their  use. Tutorials and Computing Practicals provide an interactive forum to apply concepts from lectures and clarify understanding. In the series of computer practicals Stata software and Microsoft Excel will be used to analyse data. A Quiz facilitates understanding of    fundamental concepts and allow for identification of areas requiring further study prior to undertaking other assessments.    Assignments provide an opportunity for application and exploration of key concepts, for wider reading and for synthesis of concepts  and literature. The exam provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate what they have learnt, drawing together concepts and  showing that they understand the interrelated nature of epidemiology, public health, and biostatistics.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Teaching in Epidemiology in Action begins with the assumption that students are active participants in the learning process, rather  than passive recipients of information. We assume that you are willing and able to prepare fully for classes, to participate in  discussions, and to carry out your tasks.

    As a general rule, in any university course you will need to allow a minimum of three independent study hours for every hour  undertaken in formal class work contact. This means that you will have to set aside at least a further nine hours per week for reading  around topics, preparation for class activities, and work on assignments.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Topic Lecture
    Introduction to Epidemiology in Action Epidemiology in action: Where do we come? Where are we  going?
    Using and interpreting population data Using secondary data for public health purposes
    Investigating infectious diseases in the population Endemic diseases and investigation of outbreaks-epidemics
    Screening as a tool for public health practice Diagnostic tests and evaluation of effective screening programs
    Assessment of risk and determinants of health Use of different epidemiological study designs for public health purposes
    Sources of error in epidemiological research Dealing with confounding, selection and measurement error
    Systematic reviews and meta-analyses Searching and interpreting systematic reviews and meta-analyses
    Specific Course Requirements
    In this course we will be performing calculations, using simple software to perform basic statistical analysis and interpreting computer- generated results. Thus, students need a solid background in maths, usually to year 11 secondary level, in combination with a good grasp of the material covered in Investigating Health and Disease in Populations II.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Small group discussions and group written tasks will be included as an important component of the activities in this course.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Asessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Participation Summative 5% 1-6
    Quizzes Summative 10% 1-5
    Essay 1 Summative 15% 1, 3, 6
    Essay 2 Summative 25% 1 3-6
    Exam Summative 45% 1-6
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students must have attended a minimum of 75% of the practical/tutorials (9 of 12), submitted both essays and obtained a minimum  score of 50% in each, and sit the final exam in order to pass the course. A practical/tutorial which is not attended but for which the student submits a medical certificate will not be computed as missed.
    Assessment Detail
    Participation will be evaluated considering group or individual written tasks or questions performed during some of the  practical/tutorials and lectures. All activities will be computed together to represent 5% of a student’s overall mark. An activity which is not completed but for which the student submits a medical certificate will not be counted for marking.

    There will be two Quizzes covering material of lectures and practicals. The first quiz will focus on the use and interpretation of  secondary data. The second quiz will emphasise the contents about association and causality in epidemiology.  The questions will be  multiple choice and short answers.

    The Quizzes will be held online on the dates indicated in the Course Handbook. Alternative quiz times will only be arranged where  students cannot complete it for medical or genuine compassionate grounds and have documentary supporting evidence (such as a  medical certificate).

    There will be two written assignments.  Essay 1 will focus on the reporting and interpreting secondary data (1500 words). Essay 2 will  emphasise on the evaluation of risk/protection variables and determinants of health (1500 words essay and a half page summary for a non-academic audience).

    There will be a closed book Exam at the end of the course comprising a mix of short answer questions, extended sets of questions  around specific scenarios, some basic statistical calculations, and interpreting excerpts from published studies, abstracts and/or  reports.
    All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission.   Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds.  Supporting documentation must be  provided at the time a student requests an extension.  Without documentation, extensions will not be granted.  Late requests for  extension will neither be accepted nor acknowledged.

    Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.

    Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a  medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a  letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of  compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent external counsellor or appropriate professional able to verify the  student’s situation.  The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact  on the student.  Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances.

    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits.  In the case of late assignments where no  extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted.  If an assignment that is 2  days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%.  If that same  assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.

    The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.
    Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination  period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.

    If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the Student Grievance Resolution Process  <>.  Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance.  This must be done within 10 business days of the  date of notification of the result.  Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and  will only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.