Introduction to Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Alana Brennan, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Global Health & Epidemiology, BUSPH

Online 25 Hours Begins June 6, 2022 Registration Closed

Program Description

Infectious disease epidemiology is the study of the complex relationships among hosts, the environment and infectious agents. Epidemiologists are interested in the spread or transmission of infectious agents in the population, with the ultimate goal being to devise intervention strategies to mitigate spread.

This program will introduce traditional infectious disease epidemiology, focusing on practical issues in the study and control of infectious diseases in populations. Participants will learn epidemiologic methods that are central to the understanding and control of infectious diseases in populations. Specific infections that pose contemporary challenges in public health and have national or global public health impact will be discussed. The program is not intended to review all infectious diseases; rather, the intent is to build an understanding of and an ability to apply the principles of infectious disease epidemiology and infectious disease control. The format includes: lectures covering the fundamental methods of infectious disease epidemiology, workshops addressing case studies that cover material presented in lectures and in course readings, and short problem sets consisting of short answer questions and calculations.

In this program, we walk through critical content in 6 modules:

  1. General infectious disease concepts and measures
  2. Binomial probability, basic reproductive rate (R0), effective reproductive rate (R), compartmental models and serial intervals
  3. Outbreak investigations
  4. Vaccines
  5. Bias (confounding, selection and information)
  6. Diagnostics (sensitivity, specificity and predictive values


Participants will learn to:

  • Understand basic concepts and measures of ID: attack rate, secondary attack, case fatality rate, incubation period, age specific rates, risk factors, measures of association
  • Discuss, understand, and interpret transmission probability, R0, simple compartmental models, and serial intervals to explain how infections move through populations, how epidemics occur, and how control measures can reduce disease incidence
  • Describe the general approach to investigating ID outbreaks and apply approach in case study of a real outbreak
  • Discuss vaccination as a strategy for infectious disease prevention and control in individuals and populations
  • Demonstrate an understanding of general infectious disease concepts and methods of infectious disease epidemiology, including study designs, measures of disease frequency, measures of association, diagnostic measures and bias
  • Use examples from specific infectious diseases of public health importance to illustrate and apply infectious disease concepts and methods of infectious disease epidemiology

Required knowledge/pre-requisites

A basic working knowledge of Microsoft Excel is necessary to be successful in the course.

Discounts available—visit our FAQs page to learn more.

Program Details

Online 25 Hours Begins June 6, 2022 Registration Closed

June 6 to July 22, 2022 (expect roughly 3.5 hours each week for 7 weeks)
- Self-paced lectures
- Assignments
- Weekly 1 hour live session office hours