Introduction to Epidemiology

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Date Developed: Unknown. Source: University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Presenter(s): University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Type: Online Course. Level: Introductory. Length: 60 minutes.


After defining common terms in epidemiology, the interactive presentation describes the roles of epidemiology in public health. The module describes the difference between descriptive and analytic epidemiology, demonstrates the usefulness of charts and graphs, and provides a brief history of the field. Next, the course describes uses and types of data, with particular focus on rates, ratios and proportions. The module also describes different types of studies that are commonly used in epidemiology. The course concludes with two examples of epidemiology in practice: a case study on firearm injuries in Minnesota and the history of Smallpox eradication. Short exercises and a post-test are used to reinforce learning.

Learning Objectives

• Describe the foundations of epidemiology and how it is applied in public health practice.

• Explain the origins of epidemiology.

• Define the terms used in epidemiology.

• Describe types of epidemiology studies.

• Outline the basic principles of data collection and analysis.

• Identify visual representations of epidemiological data.

Special Instructions

Registration to the University of Minnesota School of Public Health is required. For new users click here to register. Then scroll down to "Introduction to Epidemiology". (

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $180,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.