Semester Elective Courses Offered
Fall 1 and/or 2
Spring 1 and/or 2

Note: Some courses run the entire semester (example: Fall 1 and 2), others run only part of the semester (example: Spring 2), and some courses last only a few weeks. Review course details below and read the syllabus for more information.

Fall Elective Courses

M19-550 Randomized Controlled Trials
Fall 1 and 2; Mondays 1 to 4 p.m.
G. Colditz, MD, Dr.PH & E. Lu, PhD, E. Salerno, PhD and C. Stoll, MPH, MSW
3 credits

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to randomized controlled clinical trials. Topics include types of clinical trials research (efficacy and effectiveness trials), study design, treatment allocation, randomization and stratification, quality control, analysis, sample size requirements, patient consent, data safety and monitoring plans, reporting standards, and interpretation of results. Course activities: lectures, manuscript critiques, class project, and paper.

Course note: Students are strongly encouraged to have taken or be concurrently enrolled in M19-511.

FL 2022 Syllabus (PDF)

M19-532 Applied Qualitative Methods for Health Research
Fall 1 and 2; Tuesdays 1 to 4 p.m.
A. James, PhD, MPH
3 credits

This course will introduce students to the most commonly used qualitative methods for health-related research and implementation science. It will provide a foundation in the application of qualitative methods to medical and health research. Topics addressed will include uses of qualitative data, designing studies, sampling strategies, collecting data, and qualitative analysis. A variety of methods will be discussed, with an emphasis on using focus groups and various interviewing techniques. Using case-based examples from active research studies, students will learn the best practices in qualitative research, how to plan and critically evaluate qualitative studies and articles, and fundamentals of writing strong qualitative aims for grant proposals. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to plan, propose, conduct, and analyze a qualitative study. Course activities are primarily discussion-based and include:  case-based presentations,  literature critique, and study development.  All deliverables are purposefully designed to help a student walk through the steps of planning, proposing, and conducting qualitative research.  Guest lectures by trained qualitative methodologists who are active qualitative researchers are included.

Course notes: No pre-requisites. Having access to qualitative data will enhance the student’s experience, but is not required.

FL2022 Syllabus (PDF)

M19-540 Decision Analysis for Clinical Investigation and Economic Evaluation
Fall 1 and 2; Wednesdays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
S. Chang PhD
3 credits

In this course, we will introduce students to the methods and applications of decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis in health care technology assessment, medical decision making, and health resource allocation. At the conclusion of the class, the student will have an understanding of the theoretical basis for economic evaluation and decision analysis, its application, and hands-on experience in the application of the methods. Among the topics covered are the development of a research question, choice of decision perspective, development of a decision analytic model, estimation of costs and benefits, use of preference based measures, addressing uncertainty and preparation of a manuscript presenting a decision analytic study.

FL 2023 Syllabus (PDF)

M19-580 Introduction to Health Disparities and the Structural and Social Determinants of Health
Fall 1 and 2; Thursdays 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
B. Drake PhD & E. Waters, PhD, MPH
2 credits

The purpose of this course is to explore how structural and social determinants of health (SSDoH) produce and maintain health disparities. There will be a variety of learning modalities, including expert guest lectures to discuss cutting-edge research, key foundational and recent readings related to SSDoH and health disparities, and in-class discussion. The course will use case studies and a research proposal to help students apply what they’ve learned to real-life situations. By the end of the course, students will be able to (a) define health disparities; (b) explain how social and structural determinants of health – including interpersonal and structural racism – produce and maintain health disparities across each phase of disease development; and (c) identify strategies for assessing and addressing health disparities in their own research.

FL 2023 Syllabus (PDF)

Winter elective course

M19-570 Communicating Research Findings to the Media and Lay Audiences
Winter Session; January 8-12, 2024
H. Dart, MS
1 credit

Understanding how to effectively communicate research findings and key messages to the media and lay audience is necessary for clinicians and researchers. This one-credit-hour course will address the different methods that can be used to disseminate research and related messages, some of the barriers to dissemination, and tips for working with the media. Course discussion and lectures will also review current media training at Washington University School of Medicine. Participants will leave this weeklong course with the skills, techniques, and confidence needed to communicate more effectively with a lay audience, as well as to give successful, engaging interviews and presentations related to their professional research. This class is pass/fail only. Evaluation will be based on participation and completed assignments. Evaluation will also consider how well the student has learned material when communicating to lay audiences and the media. Course work will include class assignments, activities and discussion, guest speakers, and presentations.

Winter 2023 Syllabus (PDF)

Spring elective courses

M19-560 Principles of Shared Decision Making and Health Literacy in the Clinical Setting
Spring 1 and 2; Mondays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
M. Politi, PhD, MPH
3 credits 

This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to principles of shared decision making and health literacy and their implications for clinical communication. Topics may include basic and applied research on shared decision making, principles of designing and evaluating patient decision aids, principles of health literacy, research on relationship between health literacy, numeracy, and health outcomes, best practices for communication with low-numerate and low-literate individuals, best practices (and controversies) in communicating probabilities and their associated uncertainty about screening and treatment outcomes, and best practices for designing and evaluating written information for clinical populations (such as intake forms, brochures, and informed consent documents).

Course activities: lectures, manuscript critiques, class project, paper

SP2023 Syllabus (PDF)

M19-551 Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis
Spring 1 and 2; Fridays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
G. Colditz, MD, Dr.PH & C. Stoll, MPH, MSW
3 credits

Introduction to the use of meta-analysis and related methods used to synthesize and evaluate epidemiological and clinical research in public health and clinical medicine. Concepts introduced and illustrated through case studies of public health and medical issues. Course activities: lectures, class discussion, group project, and paper.

Course note: M21-570 or equivalent required prerequisite.

SP2024 Syllabus (PDF)

M19-527 Development, Validation, and Application of Risk Prediction Models
Spring 1 and 2; Mondays 2 to 5 .m.
Y. Park, ScD
3 credits

This course will provide the knowledge and principles of predictive modeling, with applications to clinical and population health settings. Topics covered will include design, conduct, and application of risk predictions; statistical methods and analysis for model development and validation; evaluation of prediction models; emerging new methods; and risk stratification to identify a risk group, to assess eligibility to clinical trials and interventions, and to guide prevention priorities. The student will learn these topics through lecture, class discussions, data analysis lab, and homework.

Course note: Biostatistics I and II (M21-560 and M21-570) or equivalent required prerequisite.

SP2023 Syllabus (PDF)

M19-5254 Using Administrative Data for Health Services Research
Spring 1 and 2; Thursdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A Butler, PhD
3 credits

The objective of this advanced graduate course is to prepare students to understand and use large administrative healthcare databases to perform epidemiologic / health services research. Lectures will cover the translation of clinical care into healthcare utilization data, review various types of national and state administrative databases, describe methods for administrative database research, and emphasize key issues related to data security and confidentiality. We will consider the strengths and limitations of observational studies using large databases to augment evidence from randomized clinical trials. Students will get hands-on experience with administrative data via programming with R statistical software. Students will develop and present to the class a research proposal in their own area of interest using administrative data. Students will further gain experience with healthcare database research by reviewing journal articles weekly.

Course note: M19-501 Introductory Clinical Epidemiology and M19-511 Introductory Biostatistics for Clinical Research are required prerequisites. R software required. Students may download freely available R Studio software on their laptop or desktop computer.

SP2023 Syllabus (PDF)

M19-559 Dissemination and Implementation Science

(Will not be offered in Spring 2023 – Please see Program Coordinator for alternative options)
Spring 1 and 2; Wednesdays 1 to 4 p.m.
R. Lengnick-Hall, MSW, PhD, MPAff
3 credits

This course provides an overview to dissemination and implementation (D&I) science (i.e., translational research in health). Topics include the importance and language of D&I science; designs, methods and measures; differences and similarities across clinical, public health and policy settings; selected tools for D&I research and practice; and future issues. Course activities: Lectures, class discussions, manuscript critiques, and class project (culminating in a poster).

SP2022 Syllabus (PDF)

M19-507 Applied Research Independent Study
Spring 1 and 2, Fall & 2; Hours TBD by student and mentor
T. Toriola, MD, PhD, MPH & Y. Park, ScD 
2 credits

The purpose of the Independent Study course is to develop and refine the skills students learn in the fall core courses, Introductory and Intermediate Clinical and Epidemiology and Biostatistics series. Students enrolling in this course must come prepared with a circumscribed and well-defined project that relates to public health and population sciences. A research mentor within Washington University School of Medicine must be identified and approved of by MPHS leadership prior to the course enrollment. Objectives, a synopsis and milestones of the project per each student’s individualized syllabus should be identified and submitted to the MPHS leadership and mentor prior to the start of the semester. Students will be expected to submit a report, for example, drafted manuscript, an abstract for a conference, data analysis results, at the end of the spring semester to the MPHS leadership for credit. Course credit will be evaluated by both the research mentor and MPHS leadership. This two-credit course will be offered only as a pass/fail course to current MPHS students.

Course note: Only Part-Time Students can take the course in Fall, all Full-Time students can only take it in Spring. it Prerequisites include approval from MPHS leadership and students must have completed the Introductory and Intermediate Clinical and Epidemiology and Biostatistics series. The course will meet on the first and last Friday of the Spring semester at 1-3pm, and students will present their independent study project.  Also, A mid-term progress report is required. The Approval Form must be completed and approved by Dr. Yikyung Park prior to class registration.

Approval form (PDF)

M19-610 Multilevel and Longitudinal Data Analysis for Clinical and Public Health Research (WILL NOT BE OFFERED IN SPRING 2024)
Y. Yan, MD, PhD
3 credits

This course is designed for medical students, clinicians, epidemiologists, and other public health  researchers.

The topics include basic statistical concepts and methods for continuous, categorical, count, and time-to-event data in multilevel and longitudinal settings. Through lectures, SAS lab, homework assignments, and a small project, students will understand the basic statistical concepts and methods for these types of data, will be able to address research questions using the concepts and methods, will be able to perform basic data analyses with SAS software, will be able to interpret the results in the context of clinical/epidemiological/public health research.

Course prerequisite: (1) M19-512 or knowledge of generalized linear model and Cox PHM. (2) introductory knowledge of SAS, and (3) availability of SAS software for the class.

SP2022 Syllabus (PDF)

M19-590 Introduction to Propensity Score Methods
Spring 1 and 2; Wednesdays 9am – 12pm (1/17/2024 – 2/21/2024)
F. Wan, PhD
1 credit

This introductory course on Propensity Score Methods is designed for medical students, clinicians and health researchers to understand propensity score methods and to foster the skills needed to plan and conduct their own research projects. This course will introduce the students to the techniques of using propensity score methods to control for confounding biases in non-randomized observational studies. Through lectures, labs, and homework assignments, students will learn the concept of propensity score methods and how to apply learnt statistical methods in a medical context.

Course prerequisite:

The students need to have a good prior knowledge on introductory statistics and regression analysis by taking the following courses (or equivalent courses from the other programs)

M19-520 Introduction to R for Clinical Research

M19-511 Introductory Biostatistics for Clinical Research

M19-512 Intermediate Biostatistics for Clinical Research

M19-501 Introductory Clinical Epidemiology

SP2023 Syllabus (PDF)