Spring 2020 - HSCI 849 G100

Regression Modeling for Public Health (3)

Class Number: 7104

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    BLU 11660, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    HSCI 802.



Development of linear and logistic regression models from hypothesis to interpretation. Counter-factual framework for causal inference. Directed acyclic graphs for model building. This is a skills developing course in which students will use real data to create authentic models.


Course Description:Linear and logistic regression modeling methods are commonly used in public health epidemiology. Whether in academic or public health settings, this work is usually done in collaborative teams that include both research methodologists and content area experts. This course will give students a hands-on opportunity using real data to design, build and interpret a linear or logistic regression model at a foundational level using the counterfactual framework for causal inference. This course is foundational and would benefit any student who would like to develop skills for observational, quantitative research using linear or logistic regression.


Course Goals: The course aims to develop technical and cognitive skills at a foundational level that will be applicable to participation in collaborative epidemiological research teams as a research methodologist or content area expert.  

Course Objectives: At the end of the course, students who participate will be able to:

1. Develop a hypothesis that is appropriate for secondary data analysis.
2. Draw a causal diagram (directed acyclic graph) and use it to determine which variables should be modeled.
3. Fit a model to secondary, cross-sectional data using SAS statistical software.
4. Interpret the parameters of their model and describe uncertainty in their results.


  • Research hypothesis and causal diagram 20%
  • Research plan 20%
  • Final model and interpretation 20%
  • Midterm Exam 1 20%
  • Midterm Exam 2 20%


Teaching Format: There will be one 3-hour meeting per week.  

Foundational concepts required for actualizing practices in lab setting will be introduced through video and selected readings to be completed prior to class. Guided worksheets and in-class collaborative exercises will be used to support concept identification and development, organization of concepts within a mental framework, and memorization.

Students can preview video materials for class and hear an introduction to course design philosophy at http://bit.ly/2f88RR6.  Please note that this course used to be called "Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology" and this is reflected in the introductory video.  The course name has changed.

Changes to the syllabus may be made, as necessary, within Faculty and University regulations.


If you have credit for HSCI 801 or equivalent, the instructor will waive the requirement for HSCI 802 on a case by case basis.  Please e-mail to request.



Required books: All course materials will be provided by the instructor or available online.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html