Thematic Sessions in Epidemiology


After this unit, students should be able to:
1. Outline the changing boundaries of epidemiology over time and give contemporary examples.
2. List at least two milestones that contributed to the development of epidemiology.
3. Identify and analyze global ethical issues that are population-based and not related to individual care or research such as randomized controlled trials.
4. Unpack a public health problem, evaluate relevant population health evidence, examine logistical and ethical issues, and make recommendations.
5. Assess when epidemiological evidence is sufficient to justify a public health policy or intervention.
6. Formulate the problems of dealing with uncertainty in developing public health policy when epidemiological evidence does not or cannot provide a clear answer.
7. Assess obstacles and barriers to action based on epidemiological evidence and the collection of epidemiological data. Have a better understanding of the various obstacles on the road to action.
8. Understand the challenges of integrating surveillance systems for various illnesses without burdening responsible personnel.
9. Demonstrate an understanding of the time horizons needed for social change.
10. Present data in graphical form that is clear and find new ways to turn data into advocacy for action.
11. Assess the role of social, economic and commercial determinants of health and health inequalities in the Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) epidemic.
12. Communicate clearly research results, including with non-specialists. Show how epidemiological evidence can be misrepresented or misused.
13. Understand the importance of translating technical jargon into common language and learning to speak with other sectors (finance, justice, transport, etc.) to formulate and communicate options for the process of responding to a Global Health problem using principles to negotiate sustained intersectoral action.
14. Critically assess epidemiological studies and systematic reviews publications.
15. Explain the various interpretations of prevalence variations for HIV and other chronic diseases.
16. Explain various types of sampling according to the objectives of a survey or study.
17. Understand sensitivity, specificity of a measurement and explain their role in screening. Be able to explain how different types of misclassifications occur and what potential effects on risk estimates these can have.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Thierry Mertens


Weekly - Se a UC for oferecida como opcional, o horário será disponibilizado no 2º semestre

Total - 24

Teaching language



Attendance of 2/3 of classes is mandatory


• Rothman K, Greenland S. Modern Epidemiology. 2nd ed. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 1998.
• Gordis L. Epidemiology. 4th ed. Saunders Elsevier; 2009.
• Porta M, Greenland S, Last J. A dictionary of Epidemiology. 5th ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2008.

Teaching method

Seminars, theoretical-practical classes, group work and tutorial guidance.

Evaluation method

The final evaluation of the student will have 2 components:
1. Presentation of a scientific article or scenario such as describing an intersectoral initiative - Specifically, the capacity for understanding, research, synthesis, communication and critical reflection will be assessed. It will represent 50% of the final grade.
2. Elaboration of a final paper or presentation on one of the themes presented during the seminars and classes, which will represent 50% of the final grade.

Subject matter

I. Views on the history of epidemiology.
II. Analysis of some successes and failures of the epidemiology of the 19-21 centuries.
III. Epidemiological surveillance.
IV. Misclassification.
V. Screening and clinical epidemiology.
VI. Probabilistic sampling and samples in formative research.