Fall 2020

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

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.

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
Email: Brownelle@uthscsa.edu
Office Hours: Tuesdays 9-12 via Conferences on Canvas or by appointment (via phone or virtual meeting platform)
Mobile: 802.598.8123


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: 30%

The Instructor will add a series of 6 discussion questions over the course duration. Students will have 1 week to reflect and respond to each question and to interact with each other’s comments (combined response and interaction is 5% per question). At minimum, students must respond to the question (2.5%) and respond to at least one peer's post (2.5%).



Instructor Posting Date

Final Student Response and Reflection Due Date

September 7

September 14

September 21

September 28

October 5

October 12

October 19

October 26

November 2

November 9

November 16

November 23


 Epidemiologic ResearchProject Presentation: 40% Due December 8, 2020


Students will develop a research study and acorresponding powerpoint presentation.


The powerpoint does not need to have avoiceover, but the slides must be clear (stand alone).


Required powerpoint template (PICO format):

Slide 1: Research Study Title/Student Name

Slide 2: Acknowledgement of any conflicts of interestthat may bias your study; if none, indicate the author has no conflicts ofinterest to declare

Slide 3: Introduction/Background: 3-5 bullet points tojustify what is known on this topic, what is unknown, and what this study adds;this represents the patient, population or problem of interest

Slide 4: Research Question; this represents the exposureor intervention to be assessed and the comparison/control group

Slide 5: Study design (e.g. case-control, cohort study) andimplantation plan

Slide 6: Statistical methods required to assess thisquestion (e.g. prevalence, odds ratio, etc)

Slide 7: Potential biases and limitations, potentialtypes of bias as a function of the study design

Slide 8: References used in slide 3; APA style; at least3-5 references are required.


·        Adherence to template: 10%: presence of all 8sides; does not include additional introduction/background slides: 1.25points/slide

·        Clarity of slides:10%: consistency of font type/size,bullet types, spacing, use of background, lack of typos: 1.25 points/slide

·        Quality of Research Study: 20%: appropriatestudy title reflective of the research question, disclosure of any conflicts ofinterest (or list none present to disclose), appropriate justification ofresearch question, appropriately specific research question, appropriateselection of study design, appropriate statistic to report the findings of theresearch question (odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals for a for a case-controlstudy, etcetera), assessment of potential biases and limitations, references(n=3-5) listed in APA style: 2.5 points/slide

Reflective Group Work Summary: 30% Due December 8, 2020


Students will be assigned to small groups by theInstructors. They will work offline outside of the CANVAS platform to providefeedback on each member of the groups powerpoint presentation over the courseof the semester. This will involve reviewing several iterations of eachstudent’s presentation and providing constructive feedback.


When students submit their powerpointpresentation, they will also submit to the Instructors a single-spaced one-pagesummary (no longer) that describes the strengths andlimitations/challenges of this process and what they learned throughparticipating in peer review.


This assignment is unstructured; I am primarily interestedin hearing what you think. You might consider reflecting on any of thefollowing topics in your summary:

1.     Whatwere the strengths and challenges for you in this process?

2.     How did(or did not) this experience with this process enhance your research projectpresentation (was it helpful)?

3.     Whatdid you learn from this process?

4.     Didthis process mirror any similar groups that you interact with in your practice?

5.     Did youthink you provided thoughtful/adequate/helpful feedback to your peers?

6.     Did youthink you received thoughtful/adequate/helpful feedback from your peers?

It may be helpful to document your thoughts after yourgroup meetings to jog your memory as you reflect on your experiences in yourpeer review groups over the duration of the course.



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. 6th edition. Philadelphia, PA: ElsevierSaunders, 2018. (ISBN: 9780323552295). REQUIRED; both print and electronic copies are available. Anyaddition of this textbook will be sufficient; students using older editions mayneed to map the readings to the specific module topics.







Course/Syllabus Overview




Descriptive Epidemiology


Gordis Chapters1, 7



Occurrence of Disease I, II

Gordis Chapters 3-4



Natural History of Disease

Infectious Disease

Outbreak Investigations


Gordis Chapters1, 7



Observational Studies

Case-Control/Cohorts Studies


Gordis Chapters 7, 8




Randomized Trials


Gordis Chapters 10, 11



Risk Estimation



Gordis Chapters 12, 13




Causal Inference




Gordis Chapters 14, 15









Gordis Chapter 5





Public Health

Public Policy


Gordis Chapter 19


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