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The Critical Importance of Evidence in Advancing Public Health Knowledge

1st Term
Academic Year
2023 - 2024
Instruction Method
Asynchronous Online
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year
How does one differentiate between evidence and belief? What skills are needed for scientific reasoning and methods across disciplines to solve complex public health problems? This course is aimed at students who will serve as change agents, creative mentors and analytic leaders by applying good scientific practices to building the evidence to advance public health knowledge, whether for research, policy or practice.
Emphasizes the need to establish the credibility of the evidence, based on the rigor of the methods used in generating it (e.g., type of studies, rules of causality, the nature of errors) before employing evidence to advance knowledge, practice, or policy. Discusses the bases for debate about recommendations for particular interventions that impact a population’s health, how to weigh their benefits and harms, the ethics of scientific conduct, and effective communication in building evidence. Uses illustrative case examples, such as breast and prostate cancer screening, vaccines for measles and cervical cancer, nutritional sodium reductions, and the opioid epidemic.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Establish the credibility of the evidence
  2. Assess the impact of credible evidence when applied to a population’s health
  3. Weigh relative benefits and harms
  4. Discuss the ethics of scientific conduct
  5. Describe the role of effective communication in building evidence
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 20% Participation
  • 40% Interim
  • 40% Final