High School

Updated: Epidemiology Students Further Understanding Through Real-World Observation

High school Epidemiology teacher Kathleen Mahoney updates us on her class's deepening understanding of the COVID-19 epidemic.  

This semester students in our applied learning Epidemiology class are experiencing application way beyond what we could have imagined, including all the stress and uncertainty that come with an epidemic.

We spent fall semester learning a lot of background vocabulary, examining disease events in history, and learning the science behind immunity and infection.  All of that knowledge is being put to use as these students watch events unfold and make sense of reports from health institutes as well as media.

I am always proud of our epidemiology students and their depth of understanding as well as their creativity and effort, but their response to outbreak news has made me prouder still.  They’ve been eager to understand and discuss developments, and have shared their frustration as they witness the disconnect between science and policy, or the human impulse to allow fear to override facts.

One of the key roles of any epidemiologist or public health officer is to communicate, so right now we are working on a series of videos to share with Concordia students and faculty.  These videos will use information from sources like the Centers for Disease Control in the US and the World Health Organization to answer questions community members may have. We are also in the process of answering questions about day-to-day life from a senior class at a health sciences high school in Washington State.

I am certain that our students have gained a more profound and personal appreciation for the role of public health institutes and epidemiologists.  For some of them, the experience will likely make a future working in public health more compelling and the call to serve in this capacity will no doubt be louder and clearer.   

Our course description invites students to learn how “scientists and statisticians join forces to save the world everyday” and I am betting we have more than a few future superheroes in our class.

See videos of their work here. 

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