Teaching medical students epidemiology: utilizing a state health department.
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Teaching medical students epidemiology: utilizing a state health department.

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    Public Health Rep
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    An epidemiology teaching course for third-year medical students was developed at the University of Vermont's College of Medicine by staff members of the Vermont Department of Health in conjunction with clinical faculty members. The course consists of analyses of actual community health problems encountered by the health department, evaluation of published clinical studies, and design of studies on current public health issues in Vermont. In the course's first year, 54 percent of the students gave it an overall assessment of average or above average. A striking improvement was found in the second year; 98 percent of the students rated their overall assessment as average or better. Sessions rated the best by students were the critical appraisal of clinical studies, followed by sessions on study design and outbreak investigations. The Vermont course communicates epidemiologic concepts to students by stressing their clinical relevance and by putting the concepts into a recognizable public health context. Students are required to grapple with epidemiologic issues as participants. This approach to teaching epidemiology combines faculty having both public health and clinical perspectives, emphasizes relevance to future practice, and requires students to actively work through epidemiologic problems. The Vermont experience has shown that combining health department and clinical faculty resources can result in a useful format for teaching epidemiology to medical students.
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