Erasmus Summer Programme Courses

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Primary and Secondary Prevention Research [ESP45]

Course highlights

EC points


Start date

19 August 2024

End date

23 August 2024

Course days

Monday to Friday (5 afternoons)

Course time

From 13:00 till 16:00 CEST


Prof. Oscar Franco and Prof. Harry de Koning,

Course fee

€ 525


Erasmus MC, Rotterdam NL






  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health

Course Materials

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Detailed information about this course:


Faculty: Prof. Oscar Franco, MD PhD and Prof. Harry de Koning, MD PhD

This course will introduce and illustrate methods and practices of research in the planning, development and evaluation of interventions to prevent ill health. Primary and secondary prevention may work together, depending on the determinants of disease and technology available. Life style factors, like for example cigarette smoking, dietary habits and physical activity, are important determinants of health and disease. Therefore, promoting healthy life styles is important in public health interventions.

Screening for diseases that are related to these determinants can possibly improve prognosis, gain life-years and quality of life. However, early detection also means a longer period of life during which a person is aware of having the disease, and false-positive test results will induce unnecessary diagnostic interventions. Crucial in prevention research is the population perspective, with consequences for designing a study, evaluating an intervention, communicating to the people and setting priorities. Special emphasis will be given to cancer research, cardiovascular interventions, but also to preventing language delays in children or promoting alcohol consumption. The course will consist of lectures, exercises and presentations of illustrative examples of primary and secondary prevention research.

Teaching format: Lectures, exercises, discussions.


  • Introducing the methods and practices of primary and secondary preventive research;
  • Introducing the biases and interpretation of screening to detect diseases early in order to improve survival of quality of life;
  • Illustrating when to implement screening strategies, and how to implement and evaluate primary prevention strategies;
  • Giving up-to-date information on the determinants of and policies for cancer prevention.