Fall 2019

NURS 6380-01 Fundamentals of Epidemiology

All students are responsible for checking their UTHSCSA Livemail account regularly (i.e., daily or several times every week) to obtain Official University Communication regarding their courses, program and student status.

Students are expected to follow all policies related to COVID-19 found on the university webpage: https://wp.uthscsa.edu/coronavirus/.

NOTE: Our campus has enabled the CANVAS MOBILE LEARN application. CANVAS tools such as discussions, quizzes or videos May or May NOT function on all mobile devices. This is because mobile devices are available with rapidly changing and different configurations. Hence, students must not depend on only a mobile device to access course materials. Students must have access to a laptop or desktop device to access course materials and complete assignments.

This course is Web Enhanced with WebCT icon
Please be sure to check the Current Computer Requirements


      Review the CANVAS Course for familiarity and bring your questions
      Bring your computer to class.


Elizabeth Brownell, PhD, MA
Associate Professor
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
School of Nursing
Office SON 2.644
Mobile: 802.598.8123
Email: Brownelle@uthscsa.edu
Office Hours: By appointment requested via email.


This course is designed to study the distribution and determinants of health and disease in human populations.  Improving health by altering personal and environmental risk factors will be a major focus.  Epidemiological research using technology and public health informatics will also be introduced.


Credit Hour Allocation: 3 Semester Credit Hours
Clock Hour Allocation: 3 Clock Hours Class (45 hours class)


Graduate Standing


Upon completion of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program students will:

  1. Integrate nursing science, ethics, biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sources to provide the highest level of specialty nursing practices.
  2. Develop, implement, and evaluate healthcare practices in healthcare systems that ensure quality improvement and patient safety.
  3. Use analytic methods and evidence based practices to improve practice outcomes and the practice environment.
  4. Implement and evaluate ethical healthcare information systems and patient care technology to improve the quality of patient health outcomes and care systems.
  5. Advocate for healthcare practices that advance social justice, equity, and ethical policies within all healthcare arenas.
  6. Employ interprofessional collaborative teams to improve patient and population health outcomes and healthcare delivery systems.
  7. Lead the integration and institutionalization of (evidence based) clinical prevention and population based health guidelines.
  8. Use clinical judgment, systems thinking, accountability, and specialized knowledge to design, deliver, and evaluate evidence based, culturally proficient care to improve patient, population, and health systems outcomes.


  1. Apply knowledge of basic and advanced philosophy, theory (including causal inference), and principles of epidemiology as a scientific discipline to a study relevant to population health. (DNP Essential I, III, VII; NONPF Competency: Scientific Foundation 1,2)
  2. Explain the history and role of epidemiology within the broader field of public health. (DNP Essential I, VII; NONPF Competency: Scientific Foundation 1, 2)
  3. Explain the strengths and limitations of epidemiological strategies (cohort, case-control, cross-sectional, ecological, and intervention study designs) for studying associations between risk factors or exposures and rates of morbidity and mortality. (DNP Essential I, III; NONPF Competency: Scientific Foundation 1. 2)
  4. Use the natural history of one or more specific diseases or health conditions, including consideration of its causation, control and prevention to develop a study. (DNP Essential I, III; NONPF Competency; Practice Inquiry 2, 3)
  5. Apply basic and advanced principles and methods of epidemiology to research questions. (DNP Essential I, III; NONPF Competency: Scientific Foundation 3, 4)
  6. Design, collect, manage, critically analyze, and interpret data from an epidemiological study. (DNP Essential I, III; NONPF Competency: Scientific Foundation 1, 3)
  7. Evaluate the results of epidemiological studies for their relevance to clinical practice and policy. (DNP Essential V, VII; NONPF Competency: Policy 1, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  8. Explain the major sources of random and non-random error. (DNP Essential I, III; NONPF Competency: Scientific Foundation 4)
  9. Address ethical issues in epidemiological research. (DNP Essential VII, VIII; NONPF Competency: Ethics 3)




A = 4 points (90-100)
B = 3 points (80-89)
C = 2 points (75-79)
D = 1 point (66-74)
F = 0 points (65 or below)


CANVAS Discussion Participation: 100%

If students seem to have difficulty understanding the epidemiological data and application, faculty reserve the right to change grading evaluation percentages and institute exams:

CANVAS Discussion Participation: 30%
Examination I: 20%
Examination II: 20%
Examination III: 30%

Students will be evaluated and graded on the letter grade system (A, B, C, or F) based on the percentage of final course points obtained*: A=100-90, B=89-80, C=79-70, F=less than 70

To prevent ethical issues related to grade inflation:

        *grades will not be “rounded up” i.e., an 89.9% is a B
        *no additional work for extra credit is considered

"Further details and information on grading criteria are contained in the course information section in CANVAS".

A familiarity with introductory biostatistics is recommended but not mandatory.

Course materials, weekly lessons and assignments are posted in CANVAS.



Attendance in class is an expectation of each student.


  1. If written assignments are made in a course they are required.
  2. Students are expected to submit written work on the scheduled date and time.
  3. The student must notify the course coordinator prior to the scheduled due date and time if they are unable to submit the written work as scheduled. Failure to make this notification in advance will result in a "zero" for that written work.
  4. If the excuse is accepted as reasonable and necessary, arrangements will be made for an alternative due date and time.
  5. Each student is responsible for making sure that he or she has completed the written work prior to submission.
  6. Late work will be accepted with consequences as outlined per course syllabi.


The APA Publication Manual 7th edition is required for use in all nursing school programs. 


Students are expected to be above reproach in all scholastic activities. Students who engage in scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and dismissal from the university. "Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, and submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts." Regents Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter VI, Section 3, Subsection 3.2, Subdivision 3.22.


Students who are nurses or are preparing to enter the profession of nursing are expected to treat others with respect and compassion. “The principle of respect for persons extends to all individuals with whom the nurse interacts. The nurse maintains compassionate and caring relationships with colleagues and others with a commitment to the fair treatment of individuals, to integrity-preserving compromise and to resolving conflict. This standard of conduct precludes any and all prejudicial actions, any form of harassment or threatening behavior, or disregard for the effects of one’s actions on others” (American Nurses Association Code for Nurses, Interpretive Statement 1.5).

The students, faculty, Department Chairs, Associate Deans, and the Dean of the School of Nursing of the University Texas Health Science Center San Antonio subscribe to the highest standards of conduct. Our aim is professional behavior beyond reproach. Failure to abide by the signed code of professional conduct may lead to suspension and/or permanent dismissal from the UTHSCSA SON. In particular, we subscribe to the provisions of the Code of Ethics for Nurses (http://bit.ly/1mtD5p2) and the following points of conduct.


School of Nursing Netiquette Guidelines for Online Interaction

Netiquette guidelines provide information for behaving properly online, when using email, tweets or texts so that you may successfully communicate your thoughts in a manner that is respectful and avoids misunderstandings with others.


Any student seeking reasonable accommodations through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact either the Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Services within the first week of the semester or schedule a meeting with the UTHSCSA ADA Compliance Office so that appropriate accommodations may be arranged. A request for accommodations (Form ADA-100: http://uthscsa.edu/eeo/form100-Faculty-student-resident.pdf) must be completed and submitted to the Executive Director of the ADA Compliance Office before accommodations can be provided. Additional information can be provided in the Student Success Center, Room 1.118 or through the ADA Compliance Office website: http://uthscsa.edu/eeo/request.asp.


Gordis L. Epidemiology. 5th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders, 2013. (ISBN: 9781455737338). REQUIRED

The CDC Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice (3rd edition) PDF
is available in CANVAS for your use. (This is available within the CANVAS Course materials)




1. Historical Development of Epidemiological Science

2. Types of Epidemiology
   a. Prospective and Retrospective
   b. Descriptive (person, place, time)
   c. Analytic (cause and risk and protective factors)

3. Uses of Epidemiology
   a. Determinants of Health (Healthy People 2010)
   b. Historical study of health status in populations
   c. Community assessment to identify assets and needs
   d. Environmental health hazards and exposures 
   e. Factors influencing health beliefs and practices
   f. Individual risks and primary, secondary, and tertiary preventive strategies
   g.Disease and health presentations and precursors 
     (e.g. tobacco and COPD)
   h. Study of causation and causal inference
   i. Measures of Occurrence, Association, and Interaction
   j. Clinical description of disease occurrences and associated factors

4. Epidemiological Models and Strategies
   a. Epidemiological triad, web of causation, and health promotion models 
   b. Epidemiological study designs
   c. Case series, single or multiple
   d. Case control studies
   e. Cohort studies
   f. Random and systematic error
   g. Subject selection

5. Natural History of Disease
   a. Case definition
   b. Chain of causation
   c. Surveillance and investigation
   d. Prevention and Control (NNT)

6. Use of Informatics in Epidemiology
   a.  Health database search
   b.  Uses in Nursing Practice

7. Epidemics/Pandemics
   a. Emerging infectious diseases
   b. Globalization of disease

CALENDAR - 1st Day Only

Please check the schedule for recent updates on Class Dates & Room.

      Review the CANVAS Course for familiarity and bring your questions
      Bring your computer to class.

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