In 2018, the Australian Advanced Epidemiology course is planned for 24 to 27 September, on-site at Melbourne University. Further details to be posted soon.
What does the course include?
- An introduction to causal inference using contemporary approaches such as a potential approach model and directed acyclic graphs (DAGs).
- A comprehensive overview of systematic error (confounding, selection and information biases).
- An introduction to quantitative bias analysis methods to correct for systematic error in epidemiological studies. (Sometimes called sensitivity analyses.) Methods taught range from simple to probabilistic methods.
- Quantitative bias analysis exercises using Excel spreadsheets. Understanding and applying bias analyses not only enables you to undertake your own analyses in the future, but also means you have a deeper understanding of systematic error.
- Selected specific topics such as regression model building strategies, effect measure modification and interaction; direct and indirect effects (i.e. mediation analysis), propensity scores, instrument variables; null hypothesis significance testing and p values.
- Day 4 focuses on applications of some of these methods in disease and cost effectiveness simulations (e.g. Markov and multistate lifetable models), and applications of recent methods using G Methods such as Marginal Structural Models (MSMs) and Causal Mediation Analysis.
The course is recommended as a four day package. However, Day 4 focuses on addressing policy questions using advanced epidemiological methods, e.g. disease and cost-effectiveness modelling, and causal mediation analysis. Some participants may therefore elect to attend the four days, and people already conversant with advanced epidemiological methods (e.g. have attended this course before) may enrol for just Day 4.
What level of epidemiological knowledge do I need before doing the course?
You need an intermediate-level of knowledge of epidemiology study design and analytical methods, systematic error and biostatistics. For example, successful completion of a Diploma or Masters of Public Health course in epidemiology and biostatistics.
What do previous participants say about the course?
About 20-30 participants have completed the course each year since 2011, ranging from: recent students of a Diploma/Masters-level taught paper in epidemiology; to lecturers of the same; to senior epidemiologists. All participants would recommend the course to other colleagues, and at least three quarters rated the course 5 out of 5 on ‘content’ and ‘presentation’. Summary comments about the course included:
|“This was by far the most useful short course I have ever done. It was an excellent summary of epidemiological advances. I would recommend it to anyone working in, or studying, epidemiology at a moderate to advanced level.” [Lecturer and convenor of Diploma/Masters-level epidemiology taught course.]|
|“I found the course highly useful in that it grounded what I had learnt in [Diploma/Masters course] and extended on this. Bits of the [Diploma/Masters course] were still a bit foggy; this course has definitely provided clarity. I also feel much better equipped to consider systematic error and how to address it.” [Recent student of Diploma/Masters-level epidemiology taught course.]|
About the course lecturers and convenors
Tony Blakely’s research has included pioneering the development of methods to link census and health data (New Zealand Census-Mortality Study; CancerTrends). He directs two HRC-funded research programmes: the Health Inequalities Research Programme (HIRP); the Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness Programme (BODE³). He has authored about 150 peer-reviewed publications, including many that include critique, development or application of epidemiological methods. Tony is well known for his enthusiastic and engaging style of presentation and teaching.
John Lynch is the Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health in the School of Public Health, at the University of Adelaide. He is also a Visiting Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol (UK). He has held academic positions at the University of Michigan (USA) and McGill University in Canada. John is an internationally recognised scholar in epidemiology and public health. He was one of the editors of the International Journal of Epidemiology from 2000 to 2016. His recent research involves early life interventions and he leads the NHMRC CRE, EMPOWER: Health systems, disadvantage and child well-being.