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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 63-64

Innovative Integrated teaching of epidemiology

Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) Pondicherry, India

Date of Web Publication6-Aug-2009

Correspondence Address:
M B Soudarssanane
Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) Pondicherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.53407

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How to cite this article:
Soudarssanane M B, Sahai A. Innovative Integrated teaching of epidemiology. Indian J Community Med 2007;32:63-4

How to cite this URL:
Soudarssanane M B, Sahai A. Innovative Integrated teaching of epidemiology. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2007 [cited 2021 Sep 18];32:63-4. Available from: https://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2007/32/1/63/53407

It is well known that a strong knowledge in epidemiology, a basic subject within Preventive Medicine, is very essential for students to appreciate the steps in prevention of any disease. Therefore, strengthening of the teaching of epidemiology is an interesting and challenging task. Various related newer teaching methods from the department of PSM, JIPMER, have earlier been reported - both for theory [1] and practical [2],[3] teachings. To impress the students about the relevance of the subject, a newer teaching method was introduced. This included the presentation of actual epidemiological studies, during the class, along with discussion of the theory points thereof, and integration of the clinical teaching departments in such presentations. To inculcate further interest among students, studies from the local population were chosen for these presentations and the results thereof were carefully highlighted to strengthen the concepts/principles in epidemiology. Such presentations were edited (in prior planning) to last 10 minutes each.

   Material and Methods Top

On an average 10 to 12 theory classes are programmed for epidemiology, in the third semester. This is also the time when students start their clinical postings. A correlation of the steps of decision making, regarding identification of risk factors and causes of disease, with the related bedside discussions would help the learning process. This idea of presenting to students, the findings of related studies conducted in local population, during every theory class on epidemiology, for the various study methodologies thereof, was introduced to a batch of 56 third semester students in July-October 2002. To avoid repetition of presentation from the coordinating department (PSM) and to integrate clinical departments into the teaching of epidemiology, they were requested to present their studies - so as to suit the requirements of the students. During the 12 classes for III semester (one-hour duration each), a 10-minute presentation of actual studies - conducted within the institute - was made to the students to support, elaborate and strengthen every class. Departments of Medicine, Dermatology and P&SM presented respectively a case report, case series and cross sectional study (supported by participation by the Dean of the Institute), departments, of Surgery, P&SM and Anesthesiology presented respectively a case control study, a cohort study and an intervention trial. The role of chance and tests of significance in inferences on risk factors was elaborated by the second author. The first author used findings from the presented studies to discuss the role of bias and the judgment of disease causation. Discussion on screening for disease was strengthened by discussant points from guest faculty - the then secretary­ general of IAPSM and two professors from a sister medical college. The short presentations were built within the one­hour theory discussion (occasionally two hours) of the related study method in epidemiology. In collaboration with the participating sister departments, these studies were initially screened and selected by one of the authors (MBS) who was the discussant faculty for all theory classes in epidemiology, to suit the needs of the lecture-discussion.

   Results Top

The presentations by various departments are given in [Table 1]. These were used. as practical support for the theory discussions. Students appreciated the findings from actual studies. Their interest was increased as these studies were from the local population. They were impressed by the clinical relevance of the subject of epidemiology (and P&SM) and appreciated the value of applied bio-statistics.

Forty-six students gave their anonymous feedback (out of 56). All of them, except one, welcomed the new teaching method. Only one student felt that one-way theory lecture was better and that it was not that essential to involve so many departments. The major suggestion was to involve students in such studies. The comments from students were:

  • brought statistical studies from a mere theoretical concept to something very practical
  • application value of the topic was made evident
  • that the concept can be applied in every field - apart from P&SM
  • better form of teaching than just bookish knowledge
  • concepts are made clear using a variety of real studies
  • showed how epidemiology is useful in daily medical practice; how P&SM would be extended to other clinical subjects as well
  • there was the required variety which attracts the attention of the students

   Discussion Top

The Medical Council of India stresses the need for active teaching/learning of epidemiology as an essential requirement for training of socially oriented doctors to support the need based health care delivery system. This philosophy is also refl ected in the Institute Objectives of JIPMER. Various efforts are required to translate this educational concept into action. The integrated teaching of epidemiology, incorporating presentation and discussion of actual studies conducted in the local population with involvement of clinical departments is a novel attempt in the lecture discussions of the subject. That this innovative method has been very successfiil is evident from the feedback of the students.

   References Top

1.Soudarssanane MB et al. Learner oriented teaching of epidemiology. Bull of JIPMER: Vol 13,1994; 60-65  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Soudarssanane MB et al. Research as a tool to teach epidemiology. World Health Forum: 15(1),1994; 48-50  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Soudarssanane MB, Sahai A. Innovative Field Training in Epidemiology - Accepted for publication in Ind J Comm Med as a brief report  Back to cited text no. 3    


  [Table 1]

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