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.


M19-550 Randomized Controlled Trials
Fall 1 and 2; Mondays 1 to 4 p.m.
G. Colditz, MD, Dr.PH & E. Lu, PhD
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.


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.


M19-561 – Epidemiology of Psychiatric Disorders Across the Lifespan
Fall 1 and 2; Tuesdays 2 to 5 p.m. (NOT OFFERED FALL 2019)
K. Bucholz, PhD
3 credits

This course takes an integrated developmental approach to the epidemiology, etiology and evolving nosology of psychiatric disorders. The course is organized into four sections. Part I lays most of the conceptual groundwork needed to understand and plan research on psychiatric disorders and their risk factors in the general population. The next two sections mostly focus on the nosology, epidemiology and etiology of specific psychiatric disorders. Part II covers disorders that are traditionally considered child psychiatric disorders but have developmental consequences for adulthood and/or often persist chronically through adulthood. Part III covers psychiatric disorders more typical of adulthood as well as those that often emerge in adolescence or earlier but are more prevalent in adulthood. Finally, Part IV will be devoted to special topics in psychiatric and developmental epidemiology. By the end of the course, students with sufficient statistical background will be expected to design and conduct basic analyses of existing psychiatric epidemiologic data and others will be expected to conduct a literature review on a topic of their choice. Alternatively, students will have the option to prepare a poster submission and poster to submit to a meeting of their choice.

Course note: Students are strongly encouraged to have taken or be concurrently enrolled in M21-560 Biostatistics I or equivalent biostatistics course. Course master approval is required to waive this prerequisite.


M19-540 Decision Analysis for Clinical Investigation and Economic Evaluation
Fall 1 and 2; Wednesdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
S. Chang PhD & G. Colditz, MD, Dr.PH
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.


M19-5656 Global Burden of Disease: Methods and Applications 
Fall 1 and 2; Thursdays 1 to 4 p.m.
R. Price, PhD, MPE, MA
3 credits

This transdisciplinary course provides an overview of several global health approached,  quantitative and qualitative methods and their research applications for studying the global burden of diseases. The topics cover infectious diseases, non-communicable chronic medical illness and psychiatric and behavioral disorders. At the end of this course, students will have learned basic approaches and methods used for global health research and major trends in global burden of diseases; they will be able to apply the knowledge of measurements to forecast the future of the global burden of specific diseases of interest to develop needed policy recommendations. Students will be able to address prevention and intervention strategies targeted to specific nations or regions using a transdisciplinary approach. Students will have learned major dimensions of sociocultural and economic factors that affect global and regional distributions of major disease categories and how they are linked to global economy and finance in some instances. The transdisciplinary knowledge and hands-on skills learned from this course will assist students with an interest in international research to select a disease or underlying condition with a significant burden on the population of diverse nations or regions. Students will acquire practical skills that can be used in the academic and applied health professions training as it applies to medicine and public health. Course activities: Lectures, transdisciplinary class discussion and exercises, homework, and transdisciplinary team presentations.



M19-570 Communicating Research Findings to the Media and Lay Audiences
Winter Session; January 6-10, 2020
Oman, K, PhD
1 credit

A critical step in the dissemination of population-level clinical research is communicating research findings and key messages to the media and lay audiences. With conflicting messages coming from advocacy groups and others, the burden falls on the clinician-researcher to distill complex information, dispel misinformation, and tell a compelling story that resonates with the audience. The course will equip students with the skills, technique, experience and confidence needed to give successful, engaging media interviews and presentations related to the publication of research and expertise-specific topics. Through critique, tape and review exercises, class discussion, and guest speakers, students will learn all the facets that make an interview or presentation successful, including nonverbal communication and delivery skills (body language and vocal interpretation), content and messaging, and navigating interactions with the media. The instructor will evaluate each student’s skill set, on which the student will build throughout the course in a series of on-camera experiences.


M19-5252 Comparative Effectiveness Research (NO LONGER BEING OFFERED AS OF SP2020)
Spring 1 and 2; Fridays 1 to 3 p.m.
E. Waters, PhD, MPH
2 credits

This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to comparative effectiveness research. Topics include an overview of comparative effectiveness research, stakeholder engagement in comparative effectiveness research, designing comparative effectiveness research methodologic challenges in doing comparative effectiveness research, and recent developments in PCORI and Federal policy. Students will be expected to review and evaluate comparative effectiveness studies as well as actively participate in class discussions.

Course note: M19-501 and M21-560 are required prerequisites.


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
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, and paper.

M19-526 Patient Safety, Quality Management and Quality Improvement (NOT BEING OFFERED SP2020)
Spring 1 and 2; Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
R. Griffey, MD, MPH, FACEP
3 credits

This course introduces principles of patient safety, quality measurement and quality improvement. Classes are designed to provide students with hands-on skills in systems thinking and in preventing, learning from, and dealing with medical error and adverse events. Students will also learn fundamentals in approaches to evaluating quality, including quantitative methods in measure development. We will discuss various approaches and challenges to knowledge translation and effective change management in improving quality. Students will be encouraged to use their real-world experiences in problem solving around patient safety concerns, to develop and evaluate quality measures in their respective fields and to develop a quality improvement project in their area of interest as part of the course.

M19-551 Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis
Spring 1 and 2; Fridays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
G. Colditz, MD, Dr.PH
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.


M19-527 Development, Validation, and Application of Risk Prediction Models
Spring 1 and 2; Mondays 2 to 4 p.m.
Y. Park, ScD
2 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.


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

The objective of this advanced graduate course is to prepare highly motivated students to perform health services research using administrative data. Lectures will provide tutorials on national administrative databases, review journal articles using these databases, instruction in SAS programming and application of health services research methods using administrative databases. Strengths and limitations of large databases that are commonly used for research will be considered, and special attention will be devoted to large federal databases that are readily available to new investigators. Students will learn how to obtain, link, and analyze large databases, understand the key issues related to data security and confidentiality, and become knowledgeable about key methodologic issues in observational studies using administrative data. Students will evaluate published studies based on large administrative databases, develop a health services research proposal and complete a short research project that uses administrative data.

Course note: You must contact the instructor two weeks prior to the start of class to discuss ideas for the class project; M19-501 and M21-560 are required prerequisites; SAS or SPSS software required. There is a $75 fee associated with this course to provide for access to the Center for Administrative Data (CADR) Linux server. This fee will cover the cost of access to data used in the course for homework assignments and the class project, and SAS statistical software on the server. To use SAS on the Linux server, students will also have to download SAS Enterprise Guide on their laptop or desktop computer (no extra charge for Enterprise Guide).


M19-562 Addictions and Addictive Behaviors
Spring 1 and 2; Thursdays 1 to 4 p.m.
R. Grucza, PhD & R. Price, PhD, MPE, MA
3 credits

This course provides an overview of the principles of substance-related addictions and the processes and mechanisms that underlie addiction. Students will be introduced to the epidemiology and developmental course of addiction, risk and protective influences that act on the course of addiction and its adverse health consequences. Both genetic and environmental underpinnings will be discussed. The impact of policy and economics will be studied. Emerging addictive behaviors, effective interventions and treatment modalities will be discussed. Students will be expected to participate in class discussions, complete written assignments (review paper format) and present one of their written assignments via in-class presentation. Course activities: Lectures, class discussion, review paper presentation, and three short papers. 

Course note: M21-560 Biostatistics I or instructor approval to enroll. This is a required course for the Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Sciences Concentration


M19-559 Dissemination and Implementation Science
Spring 1 and 2; Wednesdays 1 to 4 p.m.
R. Tabak, PhD
3 credit

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).

M19-507 Applied Research Independent Study
Spring 1 and 2; Hours TBD by student and mentor
T. Toriola, MD, PhD, MPH & Y. Park, ScD & R. Price, PhD, MPE, MA
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: Prerequisites include approval from MPHS leadership and students must have completed the Introductory and Intermediate Clinical and Epidemiology and Biostatistics series. This course requires for students to meet with their mentors three times throughout the course semester. The Approval Form must be completed and approved by Dr. Yikyung Park prior to class registration.

Approval Form