Erasmus Summer Programme Courses

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The Public Health Approach: From the Black Death to COVID-19 [ESP84]

Course highlights

EC points

0.7

Start date

7 August 2023

End date

11 August 2023

Course days

Monday to Friday (5 mornings)

Course time

From 8:45 till 11:45 CEST

Faculty

Prof. Alfredo Morabia

Course fee

€ 770

Location

Erasmus MC, Rotterdam NL

Level

Intermediate Advanced

Prerequisites

There is no prerequisite but the course covers material of increasing conceptual complexity as it moves from the 17th to the 21st century. Doctoral students usually benefit the most from the class, but, because the class is strictly conceptual – no statistical notions are required -, students without a statistical background usually get insights into methods and concepts (e.g., causal models) that are usually taught in a statistical way.

Disciplines

  • Public Health
  • Methodology
  • Epidemiology

Course Materials

Digitally, download instructions will be sent before the start of the course, by e-mail.

Recommended texts:

Enigmas of Health and Disease How Epidemiology Helps Unravel Scientific Mysteries Alfredo Morabia Columbia University Press

https://cup.columbia.edu/book/enigmas-of-health-and-disease/9780231168854

MORABIA A. Pandemics and methodological developments in epidemiology history. J Clin Epidemiol. 2020 Sep;125:164-169. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.06.008. Epub 2020 Jun 12. PubMed PMID: 32540385; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7291979.

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Testimonial


Itai Magodoro

Zimbabwe

The professors - who are at the cutting edge in their respective fields - bring science to life!

Read the full story

Detailed information about this course:

Description

Faculty: Prof. Alfredo Morabia, MD PhD

The field of public health has developed a distinctive way of approaching human health by shifting its focus from the health of individuals to the health of populations. This course revisits the history of this population thinking and how it has helped address and combat a series of historic epidemics.

The public health approach has historically evolved in response to major crises like the plague, smallpox, cholera, tuberculosis, influenza, HIV/AIDS, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Through these examples, we will see that individual health outcomes are intimately tied to the health of the population. This public health approach also helps reveal and address behavioral and social determinants of health through the comparison of population health outcomes.

The scientific methods used to study populations help uncover patterns that would otherwise remain hidden when focused on individual health or anecdotal data. Public health professionals think and respond to crises by researching and comparing population data. The course will also discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic—and the successes and failures surrounding our response to it—reinforces the urgent need for the public at large to understand the rational of the public health approach.

Please note: this course incorporates the previous course on the history of epidemiologic methods (ESP53 History of Epidemiologic Ideas) into a larger frame of the history of public health methods.

Objectives

  • Understand that public health focuses on populations whereas medicine focuses on individuals
  • Understand that the methods and concepts used in public health are in constant evolution and transformation
  • Link the plague, cholera, tuberculosis, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, HIV/AIDS, and Covid-19, in their societal context, with the evolution of specific methods and concepts in public health
  • Develop an identity of public health scientists aware of the history of their discipline

Participant profile

Researchers in the different disciplines of public health, including epidemiology, biostatistics, sociology, medicine and anthropology, decision scientists, policy makers, historians of science, and jurists.

Assessment

Attendance