Epidemiology as Ecology class at the Freda Haffner Kettle Hole Preserve

This two-week course, taught at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory on West Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa, focuses on the relationships between population ecology and human health. Important topics that will be explored include the intersection of the ecology of organisms and human health, how humans interact with biological and physical environments in ways that promote or harm human health, and how threats to human health are assessed and monitored.

The course is “learning by doing”—field-based, individually tailored to student interests, and appropriate for students in the natural sciences, health sciences, or public health sciences. Course activities include field trips, field data collection and analysis, and student-led research projects and presentations. Last summer, we conducted field trips to

  • assess local water quality
  • evaluate access to food
  • assess the built environment
  • understand water treatment processes
  • contrast methods of food production
  • identify local threats to public health
  • understand how public health organizations operate

Students explore their own interests through an independent project which combines their skills in population health and ecology, with direct observations of the local environment or local health data.

Learn more about Iowa Lakeside Laboratory.