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Epidemiology and Statistics for Health by Distance Learning

Who Should Apply

This theme is suitable for clinicians or researchers keen to refresh or update their skills in epidemiology and/or statistics. It will provide an excellent foundation for professionals working with epidemiologists and statisticians who wish to find out more about the subject area, such as journalists, funders and engagers of funders in NGOs or international agencies.

Those working in clinical trials will find some of the modules very useful (those beginning with the code CT) and a number of these modules are available for preview as taster sessions.

The theme will be of interest to those employed in the pharmaceutical or biotech industry who wish to learn more about the subjects offered without committing to full-time study in London.

Many of the modules will be of interest to research degree students whose home institution does not provide the training offered by these modules.

Modules Available

The following modules are available in this theme:

Fundamentals of Clinical Trials (CTM101)

Provides students with a solid understanding of the main issues in the design and interpretation of clinical trials. Explores methodology, organisational considerations, design and analysis of clinical trials and the principles of trial conduct and reporting.

Basic Statistics for Clinical Trials (CTM102)

Introduces the basic statistical methods used in clinical trials. Includes an overview of probability, normal and binomial distributions and their application, and the principles of statistical inference. Students will have the option to carry out basic data analyses using the software package STATA.

Trial Designs (CTM202)

Provides an understanding of the fundamental characteristics of designs and their appropriate use in the testing of therapies and other interventions. Includes an overview of techniques for the analysis of data from trials using different designs and how to interpret and report results from the analysis of each design of trial.

Further Statistical Methods in Clinical Trials (CTM208)

Extends students' knowledge of statistical methods to enable them to analyse individually randomised clinical trials with binary, continuous or time-to-event endpoints. Covers the concept of likelihood, the principles of regression and generalised linear models, adjustment for covariates, analyses of repeated measures and other correlated data, missing data, sub-group analyses and sensitivity analyses.

Cluster Randomised Trials (CTM209)

Provides an understanding of the key features in the design, analysis and reporting of cluster randomised trials. Enables students to calculate sample sizes, perform statistical analysis of data, evaluate ethical issues and report methods and results of cluster randomised trials.

Fundamentals of Epidemiology (EPM101)

Introduces students to the basic ideas and methods of epidemiology, including measures of disease frequency, effect and impact, the main types of epidemiological study, sources of error and how to minimise them, clinical tests, surveillance programmes and screening.

Statistics with Computing (EPM102)

Covers the key statistical principles essential for anyone studying epidemiology and develops data handling and presentation skills. Includes an introduction to the STATA statistical software package.

Practical Epidemiology (EPM103)

Provides a step-by-step guide to the practical stages involved in the planning and conduct of an epidemiological study. Enables students to develop research questions, write outline protocol, identify ethical issues, explain sampling procedures and use appropriate data collection and management procedures.

Statistical Methods in Epidemiology (EPM202)

Provides students with the key statistical knowledge and skills needed to analyse and interpret data from the common forms of epidemiological studies. Enables students to select appropriate statistical techniques for data analysis and identify specific issues relevant to case-control and cohort studies.

Advanced Statistical Methods in Epidemiology (EPM304)

Enables students to understand, apply and interpret the results of a range of relatively advanced techniques for the design and analysis of epidemiological studies. Students will learn how to plan a strategy of analysis for an epidemiological dataset, estimate the risk attributable to an exposure in a population, and review and summarise information from many studies using meta-analysis.

Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases in Developing Countries (IDM301)

Introduces epidemiological methods and their use in the investigation and analysis of communicable diseases. Provides an understanding of control methods and how to set up control programmes and monitor progress, using four diseases as models.

Basic Epidemiology (PHM101)

Provides an introduction to the basic concepts and methods of epidemiology and their relationship to public health preventive strategies. Enables students to understand, interpret and apply basic epidemiological approaches.

Basic Statistics for Public Health and Policy (PHM102)

Introduces the basic statistical methods used in public health research and how to present research findings. Develops skills in handling data, deriving and presenting quantitative results effectively, selecting and applying appropriate statistical methods to analyse data from public health studies and performing analyses in STATA.

Suggested Groups

Fundamentals of Epidemiology (EPM101) and Statistics with Computing (EPM102) give a thorough introduction to epidemiology and statistics. These two modules combine well with Practical Epidemiology (EPM103), which contains a popular GIS session and offers ethics groupwork.

Students with basic epidemiological and statistical skills who would like to advance their statistical skills further may like Statistical Methods in Epidemiology (EPM202) followed by Advanced Statistical Methods in Epidemiology (EPM304). Both of these modules reflect material used in the London-based classes.

Public health officers, medics or laboratory / clinical scientists may be drawn more to Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases in Developing Countries (IDM301). Clinicians and laboratory scientists may also be interested in combining this module with one or more of the modules in the Key Infectious Diseases theme.

Those working as part of a clinical trials team may prefer a more specialist statistical package. Basic training can be provided by taking Fundamentals of Clinical Trials (CTM101) with Basic Statistics for Clinical Trials (CTM102). More advanced training can be provided by taking Further Statistical Methods in Clinical Trials (CTM208) with Cluster Randomised Trials (CTM209). Some students may wish to add Trial Designs (CTM202) into this mix.

Those looking to be able to thoroughly understand published articles using the methods discussed, without necessarily gaining training as an epidemiologist or quantitative public health researcher, might be more interested in Basic Epidemiology (PHM101) with Basic Statistics for Public Health and Policy (PHM102).

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