Graduate Courses in Substance Use

Principles of Epidemiology (P6400)

Mailman School of Public Health

Instructor: Silvia Martins, MD PhD

Epidemiology is one of the pillars of public health. Epidemiologists study the distribution and determinants of disease in human populations; they also develop and test ways to prevent and control disease. The discipline covers the full range of disease occurrence, including genetic and environmental causes for both infectious and noninfectious diseases. Increasingly, epidemiologists view causation in the broadest sense, as extending from molecular factors at the one extreme, to social and cultural determinants at the other. This course introduces students to the theory, methods, and body of knowledge of epidemiology. Principles of Epidemiology is designed for students in all fields of public health. The primary objective of the course is to teach the basic principles and applications of epidemiology.

Epidemiology of Drug and Alcohol Problems (P8470)

Mailman School of Public Health

Instructor: Deborah Hasin, PhD

Epidemiology of Drug and Alcohol Problems is a semester-long course that addresses issues in alcohol and drug epidemiology. The course begins with historical background and concepts. Then, current studies, their findings, and controversies are covered. These include the prevalence of and risk factors for alcohol and drug use, abuse and dependence, and associated morbidity and mortality. Genetic and environmental risk factors for alcohol and drug disorders will be covered. Other topics include methodological issues in the measurement of alcohol and drug outcomes, alcohol and drugs as causes of accidents, psychiatric comorbidity, evidence-based treatments for alcohol and drug disorders, and rates of treatment for alcohol and drug disorders.

Epidemiologic Challenges in Substance Use Research (P9415)

Mailman School of Public Health

Instructor: Pia M. Mauro, Ph.D.

How can epidemiologic methods be used to address challenges in substance use research and ultimately reduce the health burden related to substance use? Populations that are disproportionately affected by substance use and related health outcomes are often systematically excluded from large study samples. We must examine existing evidence and gaps in epidemiologic research in order to expand our understanding of substance use across communities. In this course, we will explore methodological challenges that arise in the study of substance use, substance use disorder, and related health outcomes across populations. Lectures will include both substantive and methodological components. Substantive topics of focus include social determinants of health, harm reduction, stigma, overdose prevention, and substance use treatment. We will examine a range of populations across the life course, including people who are involved in the criminal justice system, pregnant women, and sexual minorities. Methodological challenges will be presented in two units. The first unit will discuss epidemiologic issues related to internal and external validity, confounding, information bias, and selection bias in substance use research. The second unit will present analytic approaches to address specific methodological challenges, such as clustering of observations or comparing unbalanced populations. Learners will be able to describe and critique research studies that target the individual, social and/or structural levels that influence substance use across communities. They will also critically examine how substance use research findings are presented in the media.

Health Law (L6355-001)

Columbia Law School

Instructor: Professor, Kristen Underhill, JD

This is a survey course covering legal issues in health care delivery, financing, and the responsibilities of health care professionals to patients. The course introduces students to an area that constitutes more than one-sixth of the U.S. economy, with a view toward accessibility and quality of care. The course will include traditional areas of interest including provider-patient relationships, state and federal regulation of health care providers, insurance and managed care, access to health care, liability of individuals and institutions, and fraud and abuse, as well as understanding health care as one among many determinants of health. There will also be an analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including legal challenges to the statute since its enactment.

Qualitative Research Design in Public Health (P8785)

Mailman School of Public Health

Instructor: Morgan Philbin, Ph.D., MHS

This is an introductory core course for MPH students in Sociomedical Sciences that focuses on the principles and practice of social science research in public health using qualitative research methodologies. Public health issues indicate a growing need for applied research. Social science research has become particularly important in the field of health promotion and in policy formation, service needs assessment and project monitoring/evaluation. Thus, developing research agendas and undertaking research proposal assessment is an important aspect of many public health professionals' work. The purpose of the class is to provide an overview of qualitative research methods and present students with an awareness of the possibilities that qualitative research offers. The emphasis in this course is on qualitative research design, methods of data gathering, coding and analysis.