Expand your knowledge of careers in the medical field by exploring epidemiology—the study of diseases and related conditions in human populations that give rise to widespread health problems. Building on the course Mystery Medical Case, which is a prerequisite, this course has you playing the role of an epidemiologist working at the National Disease Control Center where you are about to start an investigation of a potential outbreak of a serious disease.

One aspect of what an epidemiologist does, and what you will be doing in this course, is to look into situations where there are more cases of a disease than are expected for a given community or when there is a case of a disease in an area the disease is not typically found (also called an outbreak). The investigator tries to find what is causing the disease or the increase in the frequency of the disease, helps ensure people who have contracted the disease get proper treatment, and recommends actions to prevent the further spread of the disease. During the process, the investigator will work with medical professionals, the press, the public, and other organizations to gather data, communicate what the investigation has found, and to let people know what actions they should take to ensure their safety.

In this course, your job will be to:

  • Determine what data needs to be collected and how to collect it
  • Create documents to organize the data
  • Analyze the data you collect
  • Generate and test hypotheses related to the outbreak
  • Determine who needs to be contacted at different stages of the investigation and what information they should be given
  • Determine what other steps are needed to find the source of the outbreak so that it can be contained

This course will run from 1:00-3:00PM PDT Monday through Friday for four weeks. Course activities and class meetings are facilitated by industry experts who partner with UC Davis.

Course Code