What do you do when a real-life case study becomes your world? Graduate students in Dr. Jared Taylor’s General Epidemiology course, MPH 5323, are finding out in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Taylor, who teaches courses in both the Veterinary Medicine and the Master of Public Health programs, has been able to shift the focus of the course on epidemiology to consider the current COVID-19 pandemic. “The current situation illustrates the importance of epidemiology, in particular, and public health in general, better than any class activity could.”
Dr. Taylor is an Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology. He earned his DVM from Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. Following graduation, he practiced in southwest Missouri for a year and a half, before joining the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University to pursue a Master of Public Health degree. Taylor received his MPH in 2004 and then joined the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences to complete a residency in food animal medicine and surgery, as well as a Ph.D. in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences. His primary interests are in population medicine/herd health and the interaction of veterinary medicine and public health.
Dr. Taylor’s epidemiology course allows graduate students to use the global pandemic as a reminder that epidemiology is all around you. Although we are living in a tense time of social distancing and constant reminders about handwashing, graduate students are using this opportunity to learn about the investigation and implementation of disease control measures. Using COVID-19, Dr. Taylor is able to show students how to model a pandemic, an opportunity he would not have had previously.
Maryam Baghizadeh, a master’s student in the epidemiology course has found that the class has helped her increase her knowledge about coronavirus, how it is transmitted, and safety precautions that should be used to help flatten the curve. “When I started my education, I was really stressed out and fearful. This is my first semester and the first course I took in the U.S. It has been a new experience for me. Dr. Taylor has given us valuable information on the pandemic along with models, such as the Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious, Recovered (SEIR) model.”
As COVID-19 began to dominate the news cycle, Dr. Taylor pointed out to students, epidemiology is not only applicable to pandemics. The epidemiological methods his students are learning will be used throughout their careers for a variety of purposes.
“As an instructor, I’m trying to use the COVID-19 pandemic to illustrate the real-world application of these ideas, and students will also be able to employ them throughout their careers, whether that is dealing with the next pandemic, or gaining an understanding of more mundane, but important, outcomes such as obesity and chronic diseases.”
To find out more about the Master of Public Health Program click here.