Graduate School of Medical Sciences

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Master of Science Program in Clinical Epidemiology & Health Services Research

Advanced Health Survey Design

This course reviews survey research methods for collecting, analyzing and evaluating health survey data. Topics include sampling theory, questionnaire design, interviewing and methods of survey administration. At the end of the course, students are able to design, administer and analyze a survey.

Advanced Seminar in Health Services Research

The objective of this weekly course is to take students through each step of formulating and designing their own research projects. The students discuss each others' ideas, progress and proposed research designs to gain a better understanding of the process, and use this structured opportunity to discuss their work. At each of these meetings, two of the students report on the status of their projects. The primary and secondary mentors for the students presenting at the session also participate in the discussion.

Behavioral Science and Health Education Theory

The objective of this course is to provide an overview of theories of behavioral and social science and their roles in health services research and clinical research. The course also covers the development and evaluation of theory-based health education approaches used in medicine. As a final project, students develop a behavioral health intervention drawing on models taught in didactic sessions in order to address key patient problems. By the end of the course, students are able to identify behavioral theories most applicable to addressing a given question.

Biostatistical Data Analysis I

The course emphasizes the use of multiple regression analysis, analysis of variance and related techniques to analyze data in a variety of situations. Topics include least squares estimation, multiple regression, model selection techniques, detection of influential points and goodness-of-fit criteria. Practical applications are implemented using a modern, widely available statistical package (JMP). Students gain an understanding of statistical concepts and models.

Biostatistical Data Analysis II

This objective of this course is to convey basic concepts underlying multivariate analysis, with an emphasis on the handling of dimensional data. Considerations in dealing with survival analysis, odds ratios and risk ratios are also covered in the course. At the end students are able to evaluate data using appropriate regression techniques and interpret the computer program output correctly.

Changing Health Policy

This course examines the process of changing health policy. It builds on students’ existing knowledge of the health care system and policy issues. The course focuses on how public policy is developed and shaped. How policy changes are initiated and implemented through interest groups, advocacy groups and the political environment is also studied, as well as how they shape the actions of policy makers and policy-making bodies. By the end of the course, students are able to distinguish different sources of health policy, explain the roles of interest groups in shaping policy change and analyze current examples.


Cluster Randomized Trials

This course deals with the methodological and ethical issues in the conduct of cluster randomized control trials. Several examples are used to illustrate the key issues of multilevel measurement and analysis in community based prevention trials. By the end of the course, students are able to begin to plan a cluster randomized trial and understand key biases to be avoided.

Communicating Research Results

The objective of this course is to teach techniques for oral and written dissemination of data. Topics include abstract writing, graphic presentation of data, use of slides and overheads, oral presentation skills, and manuscript preparation and submission. At the end of the course, students are able to organize the results and to write an abstract, prepare a poster and an oral presentation.

Community-Based Participatory Research

This objective of this new course is to introduce students to the principles of community-based participatory research as a methodology. It teaches students the key principles, the processes used in such studies and how they can be used to address health disparities. At the end of the course, students will know how to determine the key community partners, build community buy-in, establish a coalition of community partners, prioritize concerns, develop research initiatives and disseminate key findings.

Decision Analysis

The objective of this course is to teach the basics of probabilistic thinking and the concept of heuristics. Students learn the five-step process, specifically the structuring of the problem, the application of probabilities, the application of values, the calculation of expected utilities and the sensitivity analysis. By the end of the class, students are able to ask and answer questions using decision analytic models.


Economic Evaluation in Health Care

This advanced course provides in-depth exposure to techniques used by health economists and other health services researchers in evaluating the economic attributes of a program or intervention. Students learn how to critique cost identification, cost of illness, cost benefit and cost-effectiveness studies, and how to use these techniques in their own research projects. By the end of the course, students are able to structure an economic evaluation for their project.

Foundations of Health Services Research

This course introduces students to critical issues in health care organization, financing and policy, which constitute the core of health services research topics including: access and equity issues, costs of care, health care markets, health care quality and medical outcomes, health insurance and managed care effects on patient and physician behavior, and the evaluation of health care technologies and innovations. Models for understanding institutional behavior and behavior within organizations are reviewed. By the end of the course, students are able to use the concepts to develop approaches to solving health care problems.

Fundamentals of Clinical Epidemiology and Research Methodology

The objective of this course is to teach basic architecture of clinical and health services research with an emphasis on three critical components: the population, interventions and outcomes. Students also learn about different study designs, specific challenges in both observational and interventional studies, and methods of addressing potential biases. Basic principles of measurement for categorical and continuous data, including the sources of variance for such data are emphasized. Students learn how to evaluate validity and reliability of data and critical appraisal of the published literature to illustrate threats to validity. By the end of the course, students are able to read the literature critically and develop detailed proposals for their own projects.

Grant Writing

This course is designed to introduce students to grant writing and peer review. In the first two weeks, sessions cover study design, writing abstracts, specific aims, background, preliminary studies and methods. Other sessions include budget and justification development, how to select funding agencies and types of applications. Students write an R01 grant application and then serve as "study section" to provide primary and secondary reviews for each proposal. By the end of the course, students can write a grant.

Health Care in the U.S.: Policy and Politics

This course focuses on policy issues that affect all health care practitioners. How is the health care system organized? Who pays the health care bill? Why have efforts to enact national health insurance failed? What role does government now play in the U.S. health care system and how do the different levels of government share these tasks? How can government encourage good quality care? By the end of the course, students have an understanding of how the current health care system has evolved and major forces in its evolution.

Improving Quality and Safety

The objective of this new course is to focus on the special methodological challenges in quality and effectiveness research. Systems approaches will be emphasized. Students will learn about developing quality metrics, collaborative improvement strategies and major new innovations in the field. Special strategies for the collection and ongoing tracking of data relevant to safety and quality will be reviewed. Students will be introduced to approaches to reduce medical errors. By the end of the course, students will be able to add value to the New York Presbyterian Hospital quality improvement teams.

Information Skills

This course provides techniques for finding relevant information from a variety of online resources through group activities and customized tutorials. It is taught in two sessions in the summer and eight sessions in the fall. By the end of the class, students can: find and track health-related information from the Internet, know how to broaden or narrow searches, critically evaluate and quality filter the results, and manage their references.

Introduction to Biostatistics

This course provides an introduction to methods and concepts of biostatistical analysis. Topics include: statistical computing, descriptive statistics in tables and graphics, probability and distributions, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing and statistical comparison, types of error, significance and confidence levels, sample size and nonparametric methods. By the end of the course, students have an understanding of basic statistical concepts and models.

Introduction to Hierarchical Models

This course describes the use of hierarchical models as a means to handle correlated data and discusses the building of hierarchical models. Specific topics include linear mixed models, generalized linear models, generalized estimating equations, and the incorporation of nested structure and/or repeated measures. By the end of the course, the students are able to make use of these models to handle correlated and repeated measures of data of continuous, count or binary data types.

Measuring Psychosocial and Clinical Constructs

This course, which has focused primarily on depression, will be expanded to provide an overview of the methods used in measuring psychosocial and clinical variables, such as depression, stress, social support, anxiety, comorbidity and disease severity. It will also review widely used measures of function and quality of life. Students will learn how to collect high quality data using standardized procedures. In addition, they will learn the basic rules required for creating new measures for variables that are not adequately captured with existing measures. At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to identify the most appropriate measures for their projects.

Multicultural Approaches to Community Health and Disease Prevention

This course provides an overview of cultural diversity and its impact on the development and implementation of health promotion policies, programs and health services research. Students learn how to recognize human differences, identify their own biases, and foster the development of awareness, sensitivity, knowledge and skills required to implement effective health promotion and disease prevention care for culturally diverse populations. By the end of the course, students are able to understand how cultural differences may impact their research.

Practical Applications and Computer Lab

The objective of this course is to provide an approach to computer technologies, which facilitate the design, implementation and analysis of quantitative data. It includes methods of primary data collection, data coding and error checking, as well as an introduction to data analysis using statistical programs. Students learn to create computer-based data collection tools. The course is taught in a computer laboratory. At the end of the course, students are able to develop a primary data collection instrument, set up a database and perform simple descriptive analysis of their data.

Public Datasets for Health Services Research

This course focuses on conveying information on micro-level data sets useful for research in health related fields, including Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, National Health Interview Survey, Health and Retirement Survey, and National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. After an introduction to the different data sets, students learn to select one data set for hands-on analysis using the actual database. By the end of the class, students are able to select specific data sets to address specific questions. With the expansion of the course, students will be able to begin analyzing the data.

Qualitative Research Methods

The objective of this course is to enable students to gain a basic fluency with qualitative research methods, and understand the importance of formative methods with data from key informant surveys, focus groups or face-to-face interviews. Students learn how to ask open-ended questions and how concepts, categories and themes are developed using grounded theory. They learn how to analyze qualitative data. By the end of the course, students are able to conduct qualitative interviews using a script and use open coding to identify concepts, categories and themes.

Research Ethics

The purpose of this seminar is to review and critically evaluate the philosophical underpinnings of current guidelines and regulations for the responsible conduct of research. It considers different aspects of doing research where moral decision-making is necessary. Investigators’ responsibilities as members of the scientific community and gatekeepers of public trust in science are discussed. Topics include ethical questions related to the research process, professional integrity, authorship, and respect for human subjects. Case studies are used. By the end of the course, students should be able to rigorously follow principles of responsible conduct of research.

Responsible Conduct of Research

The objectives of this course are to: heighten students' awareness of ethical considerations relevant to the conduct of research; inform students of federal, state and institutional policies, regulations and procedures; and provide students with critical analysis and problem solving skills for ethical decision-making.

Structural Equation Modeling

This course is an introduction and overview of structural equation modeling, including such diverse techniques as path analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, cause modeling with latent variables and analysis of variance and multiple linear regression. In particular, the course will examine the five steps that characterize most applications: specification, identification, estimates, assessment of l fit and respecification. By the end of the course, students are be able to fit structural equation models.

Teaching How to Teach

This course is based on the curriculum designed by Dr. Kelly Skeff at Stanford University and is designed to impart practical skills useful to teachers. At the end of the course, students learn effective communication skills that can be employed in teaching, as well as patient care.

Thesis Preparation

The objective of this one-day course is to describe the elements and process of organizing, writing and presenting a graduate thesis.

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Weill Cornell Medicine
Graduate School of Medical Sciences
1300 York Ave. Box 65 New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6565 Fax: (212) 746-5981