Our Story/Principles of Epidemiology

Ebola and Zika: two infectious diseases causing public health scares. They differ in the way they are contracted, the communities they affect, and their risks. But for students taking Principles of Epidemiology, they are salient examples in understanding the impacts of disease and health across populations.

For more than thirty-five years, students taking the course learn about the methods and applications of epidemiology and the foundations for diversity of disease and health among populations. As population health evolves, so does this course. Instructors include topics not always covered in textbooks, such as bioterrorism and the latest science in the study of epidemiology.

Kelsey McCausland said Principles of Epidemiology prepared her for higher-level courses and eventually led her to an interest in population health. She said the course remains relevant in the health care field because of the need to consistently understand new diseases that arise and how those diseases affect different populations.

The course was first offered in the 1980s in what was then the Department of Health Planning and Administration, now Health Policy and Administration. In the mid-1990s, when the Department of Biobehavioral Health was created, the course was introduced into its curriculum and remains cross-listed between both departments.

“Epidemiology and its inclusiveness in public health is a very interesting and growing field. It will remain popular due to the constant need to study diseases, whether for mortality rates, new diseases, population health, and so much more.” – Kelsey McCausland ’13 BBH