Evidence forms the basis of modern medicine. Clinical research provides us with this evidence, guiding health professionals towards solutions to problems that they face in daily practice. Transferring existing problems in medical practice to a research setting is a challenging process that requires careful consideration. The practice of clinical epidemiology aims to address this through the application of established approaches for research in human populations, while at all times focussing on the problem at hand from a clinical perspective.
This course teaches the principles and practice of clinical epidemiology, drawing on real problems faced by medical professionals and elaborating on existing examples of clinical research. Medical researchers will lean how to translate real clinical problems into tangible research questions for investigation, gaining insight into some of the most important considerations when designing an epidemiological study along the way.
Core concepts will be introduced along four key themes: diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and etiology. Followers of this course will develop their understanding of the topics addressed through lectures from experts, peer interaction and review assignments.
About the course
Welcome! Here you will find general information about the course. The learning objectives, the structure, the format and the requirements of completion will be presented to you.
Introduction to Epidemiology
The course will kick off with a brief introduction to some of the key concepts in epidemiological research. We will warm up with two introductory lectures, followed by a small by assignment, before diving further into the field of epidemiology from a clinical context.
This week we begin at the start of the DEPTh model: Diagnosis and diagnostic research. Through a series of lectures, you will come across familiar challenges in the area of diagnosis and discover how these problems can be addressed by clinical research.
This week you will be introduced to the challenges of evidence-based prognostication: how can we best predict the course of a patient's health? You will learn this week how this kind of question can be addressed through epidemiological research, becoming familiar with how prognostic tools can be developed for use in guiding clinical decisions.
In our final week of lectures, you will step into the world of intervention research, exploring the "Therapeutic" branch of the DEPTh model. We will focus on the study of intended and unintended effects, exploring a new kind of study design: the randomized controlled trial.
The Online Debate
The task this week is in the form of an online debate in which you will study an existing piece of clinical research and contribute to a discussion of this research, forming both an objective assessment and using that to develop your own opinions.
Exam and Conclusion
This is final assessment in the course: a quiz of 30 multiple choice questions that aim to test how well you can apply the knowledge you have gained throughout the course. Good luck!
While there are undoubtedly numerous great MOOC offerings on the same topic/discipline, this course stands out for the unique conceptual paradigm it uses in delivering knowledge. I think that this offering provides the most sobering view on clinical epidemiology...
While there are undoubtedly numerous great MOOC offerings on the same topic/discipline, this course stands out for the unique conceptual paradigm it uses in delivering knowledge. I think that this offering provides the most sobering view on clinical epidemiology among comparable online courses, adequately and equally emphasizing the strengths and weaknesses of this field and the evidence/data it uses (i.e., the studies being appraised). The learner will also be exposed to numerous actual literature, reflecting the usual evidence appraisal activities when involved in the field. Overall, this course is highly recommended for casual learners, medical practitioners who "feel" that they are not exposed sufficiently in this field and early-career clinical epidemiologists.