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Epidemic Intelligence Service - Epidemiology Program Office

EIS Case Studies

What are the case studies?

The case studies in applied epidemiology have been developed at CDC and used in training for Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officers, “disease detectives”. The case studies allow students to practice their epidemiologic skills in the classroom to carefully crafted exercises that detail real public health problems.

They detail real public health problems such as

  • infectious diseases,
  • chronic illnesses,
  • occupational, and
  • environmental health.


They cover epidemiologic basics such as

  • outbreak investigation,
  • surveillance,
  • study design,
  • data interpretation, and
  • descriptive and analytic methods.

How are the case studies used?

The case studies are a component of an applied epidemiology curriculum. Use them to reinforce principles and skills already covered in a lecture or background reading.

Case studies can be used in two ways.

  • In class, students read the case study up to the first question. Then they perform calculations, construct graphs, or engage in a discussion of the answer. Sometimes, different students are asked to play different roles in answering the question. After the group has discussed the answer satisfactorily, the students read on to the next question.
  • For homework, students read the case study and answer the questions. In class the case study and findings are discussed. This requires less class time, but the elements of discovery and of surprise are lost.

How are the case studies viewed by students?

The case studies are highly rated by students. They are ideally suited for adult learners because

  • they require active participation;
  • they require problem-solving;
  • they are job-relevant;
  • they use specific examples to teach concepts;
  • they allow students to contribute to the learning environment based on their own experience;
  • they allow students to learn from their peers as well as from the instructors; and
  • they are fun.


List of Case Studies

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