Impact Lives

PBHL 6409 Applied Epidemiology


Learn the who, what, where and how of a public health epidemic.

Format: Online
Duration 8 weeks

What constitutes an outbreak? How does it start? How does it spread? In MPH 6096 Applied Epidemiology you’ll learn the theories, strategies and processes involved in epidemiologic investigations.

In this course, you’ll learn how epidemiologists identify an outbreak and its source, as well as gain skills in data collection methodologies and analysis.

You’ll pick a topic that you will use throughout the course to go through the steps of research, from data gathering to analysis. You’ll then discuss the findings of your research or primary collected data with members of your class and your professor. By the end of this course, you will have taken a concept and performed real research from hypothesis all the way to poster presentation, a standard format used in the field, to present your findings.

Sharing Your Views and Learning from Others

Regular discussions enhance your learning experience by exploring different perspectives and opinions from your professors and peers on a range of relevant topics. The following is a sample discussion you may have in this course on news bias.


Bias in the News Media

As we have seen time and time again, the 24-hour news cycle has a tendency to focus and hyperbolize public health emergencies and emerging outbreaks. With your particular disease topic in mind:

  • What are the best ways to counteract a potential public panic if there were an outbreak?
  • Who would be the best people to allay fear in this situation?
  • What would be the most important messages that you can convey to the public?
  • How would your outbreak investigation be different if it were not an infectious agent (assuming that it is not, or how would your investigation be different if it were an infectious agent)?
  • How about if it were an environmental hazard or emergency?
  • Would you use forensic epidemiology as part of your investigation?

*Source: Sample Week 7, Discussion, Bias in the News.

What You’ll Learn in MPH 6096

This course presents an overview of the methods used in epidemiologic field investigations. It provides you with a comprehensive review of the basic components of an outbreak investigation, as well as an introduction to public health surveillance.

An overview of specific types of investigations in which a field epidemiologist might become involved will also be discussed, including traceback studies, environmental health assessments, noninfectious health event investigations, contact tracing and forensic epidemiology.

In addition, resources that often come into play in outbreak investigations are presented, such as public health laboratories, the incident command system and geographic information systems.

Course Topics

Throughout this course, weekly topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Introduction, Surveillance and Fundamentals of Outbreak Investigations
  • Outbreak Investigations
  • Questionnaire Development
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Reporting the Findings
  • Specific Applications
  • EpiInfo Field Techniques

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of MPH 6096 Applied Epidemiology, you will be able to:

  • Apply basic informatics techniques with public health records and primary or secondary data.
  • Apply methodologies according to the type of study design for answering a research question.
  • Calculate basic epidemiology measures.
  • Communicate epidemiologic information to lay and professional audiences.
  • Use informatics and communication methods to advocate for community public health programs and policies.

Request More Information

To learn more about the online Master of Public Health curriculum from Benedictine University, including Applied Epidemiology, call (866) 295-3104 to speak with a program manager or request more information.