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Epidemiology Training Series

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Date Developed: Unknown. Source: Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. Presenter(s): n.a.. Type: Online Course. Level: Introductory. Length: Self-paced.


This 9 module series provides a detailed analysis of the role of epidemiology in public health. It begins with a definition of epidemiology, as well as an introduction to the difference between descriptive and analytic epidemiology. Other modules describe data interpretation, public health surveillance and outbreak investigation. The training series also covers determinants (agent, host and environment), and describes the most common uses of epidemiology in the field of public health: surveillance, disease investigation, and community health assessment, screening, and intervention programs. The following 9 modules are included:

• Basic Infectious Disease Concepts

• Cause and Effect in Epidemiology

• Data Interpretation for Public Health Professionals

• Introduction to Outbreak Investigation

• Introduction to Public Health Surveillance

• Measuring Risk in Epidemiology

• Screening in Public Health Practice

• Study Types in Epidemiology

• What is Epidemiology in Public Health

Learning Objectives

Module 1--Basic Infectious Disease Concepts

• Define key concepts of infectious disease epidemiology.

• Explain the relationship of an infectious agent to its host and the environment.

• Describe different modes of transmission.

• Understand how common infectious agents are classified.

• Describe the role of vaccination and other control measures in preventing disease spread.

Module 2--Cause and Effect in Epidemiology

• Describe and distinguish between association and causality in epidemiology.

• List and describe features of associations that support inferences of causality.

• List the principal concerns in inferring causality.

Module 3--Data Interpretation for Public Health Professionals

• List at least three common data sources used to characterize health or disease status of a community.

• Define and interpret basic epidemiology measures, such as prevalence, incidence, mortality, and case fatality.

• Define and interpret basic biostatistical measures, such as mean, median, confidence interval, and p-value.

• Read and interpret tables and graphs.

• Determine the appropriate format for data presentation.

Module 4--Introduction to Outbreak Investigation

• Recognize indicators of a potential disease outbreak.

• Describe the steps in conducting an outbreak investigation.

• Identify key communication considerations during outbreak investigations.

• Understand public health actions that may result from outbreak investigations.

Module 5--Introduction to Public Health Surveillance

• Define public health surveillance.

• Describe the different uses of surveillance systems.

• Describe the legal basis for disease reporting.

• List the steps in establishing a surveillance system.

• Explain the process for evaluating surveillance systems.

• List examples of surveillance systems at the local, state, and national levels.

Module 6--Measuring Risk in Epidemiology

• Define risk as it is used in public health practice.

• Identify measures of association as they are used in epidemiology.

• Interpret relative risk and odds ratios, and be familiar with their calculation using 2x2 tables.

• Interpret the following measures of risk differences: attributable risk, population attributable risk, and population attributable risk percent.

Module 7--Screening in Public Health Practice

• Define screening and describe its role in public health work.

• Determine diseases for which it is appropriate to screen.

• Determine which tests are appropriate to use.

• Describe important factors in the design and evaluation of screening programs.

• Help clients interpret results of screening tests.

Module 8--Study Types in Epidemiology

• List the differences between descriptive and analytic epidemiology.

• Describe the main types of epidemiologic studies and their uses.

• Identify and provide examples of person, place, and time in descriptive studies.

• Describe the main differences among case-control, cohort studies, and environmental studies.

Module 9--What is Epidemiology in Public Health

• Describe the components of the definition of epidemiology.

•Recognize and explain basic epidemiologic concepts, principles, and terms.

• List and describe six examples of the use of epidemiology in public health practice.

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 $225,000/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.