Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection

PART OF: Professional Specialization Certificate in Population Health Data Analysis

Course description

This course provides an introduction to methods in spatial epidemiology and outbreak detection. The focus is on application rather than theory: this is not a course in spatial statistics.

The course is structured sequentially to move from spatial exploration of health data, to quantifying spatial patterns and clusters, to spatial exposure assessment and, finally, to methods for assessing risk.

Broadly, the spatial epidemiology part of the course focuses on:

  • assessing exposures through the use of a geographical information system (GIS)
  • conducting small area health studies (ecological models)
  • incorporating spatial parameters into models for individual health analyses.

The outbreak detection part of the course focuses on visualization of spatial data, disease surveillance and the use of spatial scan statistics in cluster detection.

 

Learning objectives

  • Recognize when—and why—a spatial approach is required and the assumptions, strengths, limitations, and interpretations of different spatial methods used in health research.
  • Identify geospatial technologies and methods for epidemiology and cluster detection.
  • Choose an appropriate study design to address a specific spatial epidemiological question.
  • Visualize patterns of health and disease in place and time.
  • Analyze clusters and diffusion of disease to identify outbreaks.
  • Conduct small area and individual spatial epidemiology studies.
  • Critically interpret spatial epidemiology and outbreak detection methods.
  • Apply spatial epidemiology and outbreak detection methods to various population health research questions.

Prerequisites

Stand-alone

If space is available, you may take PHDA04 as a stand-alone course for professional development. Non-certificate students must meet the same prerequisites as certificate students.

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