Dr. Kevin Fontaine

From September 10 to October 1, 2021, the UAB School of Public Health will offer a remote, NIH-funded R25 short course in partnership with the Indiana University School of Public Health. The course is titled Causal Inference in Behavioral Obesity ResearchDr. Kevin Fontaine, Professor, and Chair of the UAB School of Public Health’s Department of Health Behavior is the UAB Principal Investigator, and several other School of Public Health faculty will contribute to the course.

No travel is required as the course will be delivered in remote, synchronous sessions on Friday afternoons (12 to 3 Eastern) with asynchronous video material available on the course platform.

The goal of this UAB/IU course is to provide attendees with the understanding and tools to conduct obesity-related research in such a way as to maximize the ability to make causal statements. Throughout this course, renowned experts in epidemiology, biostatistics, economics, medicine, psychology, and public health will present brief video presentations and virtual interactive sessions to help students grasp concepts and applications to improve rigor and quality while strengthening the validity of causation. The course will cover a variety of topics including observational and clinical trial design, bias and confounding, mediation and moderation, power and sample size, and large simple trials.

Those who complete the course will develop a more sophisticated understanding of how to conduct research that allows them to infer causation. Attendees will also be better able to critically evaluate published research regarding the rigor of its results. Obesity is the greatest public health challenge because it is associated with—or causes—most of the chronic diseases (including diabetes, cancer, hypertension, fatty liver disease, and cognitive decline) that plague much of our world. Learning best practices regarding the conduct of studies that shed light on causation would enhance our understanding of the causes and treatments for obesity and would place the UAB School of Public Health at the forefront of efforts to combat the debilitating set of diseases imposed by obesity.

Those encouraged to register for this course include advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, early-career scientists with interest in obesity research, women, individuals from underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities. Enrollment is limited, with priority registration open through July 15 at 12:00 am Eastern (the application portal will remain open until the course is filled). A small number of scholarships, which cover the registration fee, are also available. For more information and to register, please visit https://training.publichealth.indiana.edu/shortcourses/causal/index.html.

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