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Epidemiology I - Introduction to epidemiology

Course organizers
Jonas Björk, e-mail 
Helena Jernström, e-mail

Jonas Björk

Target group
Do you conduct patient- or population-based research using clinical, survey, registry or biobank data? Then this course is indispensable for you! The course is primarily intended for doctoral students at the Medical Faculty at Lund University, but it is also open for postdoctoral and senior researchers and other applicants if there are available slots.

Location and time  

Autumn 2020:  15, 22, 28 and 29 September (08:30 – 16:00), 1 October (08:30 – 12:00). Please Note: Application time for this course has run out.

Spring 2021:

13 April 8:30-16

20 April 8:30-16:30

23 April 8:30-12

26 April 8:30 -16:30 (16:30 home-exam will be sent out)

29 April 8:30 -12 written exam + exam workshop zoom 11-12

1,5 hp (part-time)

Number of participants 

The course is held in English.

Applied Statistics I (or equivalent)

The overall aim of the course is to contribute to increased quality and impact of clinical and population-based research at Lund University by introduction of epidemiological reasoning and appropriate methods in all stages of such studies.

The course has three closely interrelated themes:

1) Introduction
 - Basic concepts and principles in epidemiology
 - Overview of the rich variety of research questions where epidemiological reasoning can be applied 
 - Causal diagrams (DAGs) as a primary tool for etiologic research
 - Data sources commonly used in epidemiology

2) Disease measures and associational measures – calculation, interpretation and communication
 - Incidence and mortality rates. Disease risks. Prevalence proportions.
 - Absolute and relative comparisons of disease outcomes (e.g. risk differences, relative risks and odds ratios)
 - Etiologic fractions, life expectancy and DALY (Disability-adjusted life year)

3) Epidemiological studies – design, interpretation and how to avoid common pitfalls
 - Studies of patient or general population cohorts. Studies of dynamic populations.
 - Case-control studies
 - Cross-sectional studies

Course structure
This is a one week that is given part-time, i.e. five course days, with a mixture of interactive lectures, group discussions, and epidemiological ”journal clubs”. The course is designed to encourage critical epidemiological reasoning in all stages of the research process.

Active participation in all parts of the course. Written individual examination on the last day of the course, which is followed by a mandatory follow up-seminar where immediate feedback is given on the exam.

Course literature
Rothman K. Epidemiology – an introduction. Oxford University Press, 2nd revised edition, 2012.


Application for autumn 2021 is now open.

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