Have you ever wondered what epidemiologists do? This narrated, 45-minute course offers an overview of the purposes and uses of epidemiology in public health practice. It introduces concepts that are described more fully in our other online courses on epidemiology, and is a good place to start if you plan to take the nine-part series on epidemiology.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the components of the definition of epidemiology
  • Recognize and explain basic epidemiologic concepts, principles, and terms
  • List and describe six examples of the use of epidemiology in public health practice

Intended Audience

Public health nurses and other front-line public health workers who have not had epidemiological training and who would like an overview of epidemiology.

Epidemiology Series

What Is Epidemiology in Public Health?

Data Interpretation for Public Health Professionals

Basic Infectious Disease Concepts in Epidemiology

Introduction to Public Health Surveillance

Introduction to Outbreak Investigation

Study Types in Epidemiology

Measuring Risk in Epidemiology

Cause and Effect in Epidemiology

Screening in Public Health Practice


Web-based, Flash presentation. This online course has an audio narration and interactive exercises and scenarios. This course should take about 45 minutes to complete.

Module Instructor

Victoria Holt, PhD, MPH, RN
Northwest Center for Public Health Practice
School of Public Health and Community Medicine
University of Washington

Technical Notes

This course requires certain software and browser plugins to be installed. See our Technical Requirements.

The course may load slowly, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. Individual pages may also occasionally load slowly. You may find it helps to speed up the loading if you click the title of a page in the title list on the left side of the screen.

If the words on the screen or title list are too small, you can try to increase their size by expanding the browser to fill the entire screen, or you can change your screen resolution. (Refer to Windows Help for directions on changing your screen resolution.)


This online training course is audio narrated. Please note that the print version does not include interactive exercises, quizzes, or the final assessment. To receive a print version of the quizzes in this module, or if you have any difficulties, please contact

Screenshot of training depicting its navigation, text, and graphics.
August 28, 2007
Infectious Disease & Immunizations
Self-Paced Course
45 minutes
Competency Domains: 
Analytical/Assessment Skills