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MPH 502 Principles of Biostatistics for Public Health (3 Credits)

This course provides graduate students with an overview to the role of biostatistics in advancing public health activities and improving public health through landmark studies and cases in a wide range of fields, including clinical trials, epidemiology, environmental studies, and healthcare evaluation. Biostatistical and data management concepts will be presented with emphasis on statistical applications in a real-world setting. SPSS is the statistical software package for the course and both the "point-and-click" and command syntax are used. Graduate students should purchase (or have access to) the most recent version of IBM SPSS Graduate Pack for use in the MPH Program.

Learning Outcomes:

The study and practice of biostatistics (along with epidemiology) is the historical and practical foundation for all public health efforts. Biostatistics is "the development and application of statistical reasoning and methods in addressing, analyzing and solving problems in public health; health care; and biomedical, clinical, and population-based research." (source: Association of Schools of Public Health "Master's Degree in Public Health Core Competency Development Project" [version 2.3], May 2007)

The learning materials and activities in this course should permit the MPH graduate student to demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Describe the roles biostatistics serves in the discipline of public health.
  • Describe basic concepts of probability, random variation and commonly used statistical probability distributions.
  • Describe preferred methodological alternatives to commonly used statistical methods when assumptions are not met.
  • Distinguish among the different measurement scales and the implications for selection of statistical methods to be used based on these distinctions.
  • Apply descriptive techniques commonly used to summarize public health data.
  • Apply common statistical methods for inference.
  • Apply descriptive and inferential methodologies according to the type of study design for answering a particular research question.
  • Apply basic informatics techniques with vital statistics and public health records in the description of public health characteristics and in public health research and evaluation. (This includes the competent use of statistical software.)
  • Interpret results of statistical analyses found in public health studies.
  • Develop written and oral presentations based on statistical analyses for both public health professionals and educated lay audiences.

Lecture Hours: 45 lecture hours

Prerequisite: HCA 673