1.4 Evidence-based Public Health

Learning Outcomes

After completing this module, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the general steps involved in identifying and addressing public health problems.
  • Describe and give examples of the role of surveillance systems in public health.
  • Explain what is meant by the term “notifiable disease” (or “reportable disease”).
  • Describe the breadth of modern public health surveillance systems and give specific examples
  • Define “syndromic surveillance” and explain how syndromic surveillance can be advantageous over regular surveillance.
  • Explain how the characteristics of person, place, & time are used to formulate hypotheses in acute disease outbreaks and in studies of chronic diseases.
  • Distinguish among case reports, case series, cross-sectional surveys, and ecological studies and explain their importance.
  • Explain the concept of ecologic fallacy.
  • Describe the difference between descriptive and analytic epidemiologic studies.
  • Define and explain the distinguishing features of a cohort study and distinguish between retrospective and prospective cohort studies.
  • Define and explain the distinguishing features of a case-control study.
  • Explain the distinguishing features of an intervention study (clinical trial).
  • List and define the three major threats to validity in analytical studies.
  • Describe the contributions and quantitative and qualitative research to public health.

Developed by Wayne W. LaMorte, MD, PhD, MPH, Assistant Dean for Education, Boston University School of Public Health.