Course Website Locator: pih507-01

Harvard School of Public Health

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Spring 2 2007

Dr. M. Ezzati
2.5 credits
Lectures, lab. Two 2-hour sessions and one 2-hour lab each week.

Detailed description of the level and distribution of diseases and injuries, and their causes, forms essential evidence for health policies, and for planning and evaluating health systems and intervention programs. A substantial body of work has focused on the quantification of mortality and more recently non-fatal health outcomes, as covered in PIH506 (Measuring Population Health). Data on disease or injury outcomes alone tend to focus on the need for palliative or curative services. Reliable and comparable analyses of risks to health, on the other hand, are needed for preventing disease and injury. This course is designed to guide students through the multitude of concepts and methods needed to conduct systematic assessment of health risks at the population level, and their applications, for example in evaluating intervention options.

The course builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in introductory epidemiology courses and PIH506 (Measuring Population Health). The methods learned in the course, in addition to their independent applications to public health problems and priority setting, serve as a basis for other courses in the School, including those on evaluating the impact of health interventions (see PIH251 Planning and Evaluation of Health Programs), priority-setting using combinations of burden of disease and economic analyses (see PIH271 Microeconomics and Applications to Public Health in Developing Countries; RDS 280 Decision Analysis for Health and Medical Practices).

The first block of lectures introduces the students to the concepts of causal attribution of summary measures of population health to risk factors, and its applications in disease prevention. The second part of the course deals with multiple risk factors and their analytical as well as public health implications. The last part of the course introduces the students to time dimensions of risk factor exposure, avoidable disease burden, and forecasts of future trends in disease with and without changes in the risk factors.

Course Note: BIO200 or BIO201 and EPI200 or EPI201 and PIH 506 or permission of the instructor required; ordinal grading option only. (11.06)


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