This course will take place at the MRC Unit in The Gambia at LSHTM.
Epidemiological research is an important tool to assess health effects in populations and can be used to optimise disease surveillance, facilitate outbreak investigation and provide vital evidence for the evaluation of changes in health policy. This is a concentrated three-week course which will take students through from the basic principles of epidemiology up to the application of statistical methods, such as logistic regression using Stata software.
During the three weeks, students will learn about the design and interpretation of epidemiological studies and the statistical methods that underpin many of the founding principles. At the end of the three weeks, students will understand the common pitfalls associated with study design, be able to choose the most appropriate analytical methods to verify stated hypotheses and feel confident to undertake basic statistical analysis using Stata software.
Much of the content corresponds to that which is taught during the internationally renowned MSc Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
This course has been run in London since the 1980’s, and for the first time in 2019 was successfully held at the MRC Unit in The Gambia at LSHTM (“The Unit”). The Unit, now one of the faculties of LSHTM, is among the largest scientific research centres in sub-Saharan Africa, and for more than 70 years, has developed and maintained an international reputation for ground-breaking research into leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the tropics.
The course will include lectures from experienced teachers from both London and The Gambia, with long term practice in epidemiology and/or medical statistics in high, middle- and low-income countries. Each lecture will be accompanied by a practical session in which the concepts taught in the lecture will be applied to practical exercises, some computer-based and others in small group discussions.
Who should apply?
The course is relevant to clinicians, non-clinicians, and other graduates who work in ministries of health, non-governmental organisations, universities, medical research units, and other health services. No previous formal training in epidemiology or statistics is required. The course is very intensive and a good command of the English language is essential. Those who are already confident in the methods taught on the course may prefer to consider the Advanced Course in Epidemiological Analysis that runs in London in September.
The fee includes all teaching and practical materials (in electronic and paper format), temporary Stata license , use of computer equipment, vouchers for daily lunch and refreshments, welcome and farewell buffet and drinks and social outings to discover The Gambia (aka “The Smiling Coast”). Childcare is available upon request. Fee excludes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, flights, visa, and local transport.
Studying at the MRC Unit in Fajara
The Unit offers a wide range of services including comfortable accommodation, inexpensive food options (including vegetarian), on-site clinical services on site, 24/7 WIFI and 24/7 electricity, on-site daily sports activities on site, nearby pool/gym, tennis options etc.
Last but not least, the beach is situated just 200m away from the classroom. Last year the course organised several evening sessions such as “Meet the Professors” where students could discuss their research projects individually with selected lecturers while enjoying the sunset.
Teaching will consist of 1-hour lectures, 90-minute small-group practical sessions with facilitators, and seminars with guest lecturers.
The topics to be covered will include:
- Design of epidemiological studies, including sampling, study design (i.e. case-control, cohort, cross-sectional, intervention studies and clinical trials), infectious disease epidemiology with special emphasise on COVID-19 outbreak response.
- Statistical methods in epidemiology, including t-tests, chi-square tests, Mantel-Haenszel analysis, standardisation, linear- and logistic regression, survival analysis, and sample size/power calculations.
- Data analysis using Stata 15 software
- Research in context, including systematic reviews, and translating evidence to policy.
The practical sessions will involve analysis, interpretation and discussion of epidemiological issues or data in small groups and participants will make use of the computer facilities available at the Unit.
Comprehensive information is given to participants but the following books are recommended for those interested in further reading:
- Webb P and Bain C. Essential Epidemiology: An introduction for Students and Health Professionals. Cambridge University Press. 2011.
- Bailey L, Vardulaki K, Langham J and Chandramohan D, Introduction to Epidemiology, Open University Press, 2005 (Understanding Public Health, Series editors: Nick Black and Rosalind Raine)
- Essentials of Medical Statistics (2nd Edition); B Kirkwood (Blackwell Publishing, 2003)
Methods of assessment
There will be no formal examination, but a Certificate of Attendance will be awarded to those completing the course.
"The content of the 2019 ICEMS was appropriate, and the deliberations were both intensive and extensive. It was an excellent and a unique opportunity to learn and appreciate core epidemiology and statistics principles in just three weeks! I strongly recommend the course for anyone considering a carrier in research."
Bully Camara MBChB, DTMH & ICEMS, Clinical Trial Coordinator/Clinician, MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM.
"While working on research projects in animal health sector, I realised a need of epidemiology and statistics. The day came when I heard about this course through one of my colleague. I would thank the University of Liverpool and Wellcome Trust for their sponsorship. I have never seen such a fantastic, very well organised and intensive training programme before where experts from various fields came together to teach us. I like the way of teaching that included interactive discussions, brain storming practical sessions & case studies. I believe, I am well equipped through this course and I would use this knowledge in my research project. I also got motivated by these learnings and in future I wish to pursue a PhD in animal health."
Dinesh Mohite, Veterinary Project Coordinator, University of Liverpool, The Gambia.
"I chose to attend the Introduction Course in Epidemiology and Medical Statistic because i joined a research centre a few years ago and it was an opportunity to get bases in epidemiology and medical statistics. I was totally satisfied due to the quality of the teaching and the lecturers. The amazing team that we created was beyond what I expected. Currently, it is very helpful in my work. So I highly recommend this course."
Cherileila Thiombiano, Pharmacist-Biologist in Centre MURAZ, Burkina Faso.
"Genuinely, a superb course and one of the best courses I have ever attended. All lectures and practical sessions were very informative. I got improved understanding of study design, bias, confounding, power calculations and statistical analysis of research results. I highly recommend this course to other biomedical researchers like me. Thank you."
Seraphine Esemu, Ph.D, Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Buea, Cameroon.
"The course delivered at the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM was a very successful program. The organisation, facilities, logistics and course delivery were fantastic similar in quality to what is obtainable in London. The faculty members were quite experienced and knowledgeable and statistical concepts that a I found difficult to understand were made simple. Thanks to the course, I now have confidence in designing studies with appropriate methodology. I can also read scientific papers with better understanding and can critique a paper more constructively than before. I now know how to work with statisticians intelligently. I recommend this course to all researchers towards ensuring success in their research career."
Dr Atara Ntekim, Clinical Oncologist, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan Nigeria
How to apply
Applications for 2023 are now open. Applications can be made via our online application form.
Please read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.
Accommodation and meals
Registered students will be offered safe arrangements for accommodation and meals for the duration of their stay in The Gambia. The course fee only includes the provision of lunch and snacks. Further details on accommodation options will be made available at a later stage to registered participants.
- If you have been offered a place on the course you will not be able to register without bringing formal ID (Passport) and without having obtained the correct visa if required.
- LSHTM may cancel courses two weeks before the first day of the course if numbers prove insufficient. In those circumstances, course fees will be refunded.
- LSHTM cannot accept responsibility for accommodation, travel and other losses incurred as a result of the course being cancelled.