Committee on Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS)

Autumn 2019

The Challenges Of The “Good Physician”: Virtue, Wisdom and the Practice of Medicine (Scholars in Ethics and Medicine Cohort)—CCTS 21005/41005
Instructor: John Yoon, Michael Hawking
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Notes: This is a yearlong course. Students must register for Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters to receive 100 units at the end of Spring 2020.

The Scholars in Ethics and Medicine (SEM) program is a yearlong opportunity for a select group of students to collaborate with exemplar physician-scholars and medical ethicists to think through the features required of a good health care clinician. Members of the group collaborate with invited speakers through participation in seminars and small group dinner discussions. Throughout the program, students will think through issues in medical ethics related to the year’s theme will be Virtue, Wisdom, and the Practice of Medicine. The practice of medicine focuses on actions that are intended to promote health and healing, and to do so in ways that are respectful and compassionate. To be aimed at health and to be consistent with our ethical obligations, these actions need to be of a certain kind regarding the ends they pursue and the means they employ. This is to say that these actions need the virtue of practical wisdom, by which we identify the best means to achieve worthwhile ends. How we understand which ends are worthwhile and which means are best will depend on the virtues that guide not only our thoughts and motivations, but also our vision. For virtue influences not only our actions and motivations, but how we see world.  The Scholars in Ethics and Medicine will together explore deep connections between action, vision, wisdom, and virtue as they relate health and healing, in particular how wisdom and virtue are important for seeing patients as whole people, not just bodies to be fixed, in offering compassionate care, among others. More information can be found here:


Health Systems In Low- And Middle-Income Countries—CCTS 21008/41008
Instructor: Veena M Sriram
Time: Tuesday, and Thursday 2:00-3:20 PM
Location: Social Sciences Research Building 401
Notes: Open to graduate and 3rd- and 4th-year undergraduates. 1st- and 2nd-year undergraduates interested in taking the course may write to the course instructor ( for permission.

Strengthening health systems in low- and middle-income countries is imperative to achieving lasting improvements in health. Recent experiences with viral epidemics, including Ebola, H1N1 and Zika have highlighted the importance of building health systems that are responsive to a variety of health conditions in a timely, effective and inclusive manner. Global health researchers and practitioners have called for integration of programs and interventions with national and subnational health systems, in order to improve coverage and sustainability. Yet, despite the increasing invocation of the term, conceptual and empirical understandings of ‘health systems’ remain ambiguous. This course will help students develop a comprehensive and holistic understanding of health systems in low- and middle-income countries. We will explore the core components of health systems, including service delivery, human resources for health, health financing, supply chain systems, governance, community engagement and information systems. Each class draws upon contemporary case studies from a variety of low- and middle-income countries to illustrate challenges, controversies and opportunities in these contexts. We will systematically unpack the influence of diverse stakeholders, policies and contextual factors, such as colonialism, politics and conflict, on the structure and functioning of health systems. Finally, recognizing the convergence between global and local, we will situate current challenges in the U.S. health system in a global context.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze and assess the structure and functioning of health systems in low- and middle-income countries by drawing upon key frameworks, concepts and analytic tools
  • Identify and analyze key stakeholders and contextual factors at the local, subnational, national and global level that impact health systems in low- and middle-income countries
  • Design a sample research or intervention proposal to investigate and/or improve health systems in a low-and middle-income country

The course consists of interactive lectures, group work, and assessments that test their understanding of core concepts, including reflections on readings, a midterm paper and a final project built around grant writing.


Advanced Clinical Pharmacology I—CCTS 40004
Instructor: Mark Applebaum, Randall Knoebel
Time: Thursday 1:00-2:20 PM
Location: TBA
Notes: Equivalent Intro to Pharm approval. Course starts 10/1.

This course provides an interactive introduction to fundamental principles of the practice of clinical pharmacology relevant to drug development and personalized therapeutics. Topics include: pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism, protein binding, absorption and renal and hepatic elimination, pharmacodynamics, introduction to modeling methods, evaluation of adverse events, and pre-clinical and clinical elements of drug development.


Fundamentals Of Quality Improvement And Patient Safety—CCTS 46001
Instructor: Andrew Davis, Laura Botwinick
Time: Tuesday 5:00-6:30 PM
Location: Billings Hospital H300
Note: The class will be held between November 5th and December 17th

Quality Improvement & Patient Safety was designed for faculty and staff at University of Chicago Medicine with the support of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS). The course provides an overview of concepts and methodologies for improving the quality and safety of care. Participants will design quality improvement projects using skills learned in class. In addition, UCMC leaders will speak on key topics throughout the course. Participants will become familiar with tools for improving quality of care and service delivery, such as the Model for Improvement and Lean Performance Improvement. Participants will design an actual quality improvement project and complete a personal improvement project using skills learned in the class. Participants will understand the factors impacting the delivery of safe and high quality care in health care organizations such as teamwork, good communication and organization culture. Participants will understand “Systems Thinking” and other key concepts in patient safety such as Human Factors and Reliability. Participants will understand the key role of QI in today’s health care environment as a mechanism for improving organizational effectiveness and the patient experience. The course is comprised of seven classes total. Faculty, staff, and students/trainees at the University of Chicago Medical Center are welcome to audit the course and should contact Kelsey Bogue at to register.


Advanced Community Based Participatory Research (Cbpr) Training Program 1—CCTS 47001
Instructor: Deborah Burnet, Doriane Miller
Time: Friday 12:00-1:00 PM
Location: TBA

The goal of health-related research is to improve the lives of people in the community studied. In traditional research, the community is not actively involved in designing the projects. Community-based participatory research is a partnership approach to research that equitably involves community members, organizational representatives, and academic researchers in all aspects of the research process. The Advanced CBPR Training Program is designed to help meet the growing need and demand for educational resources that help build the knowledge and skills needed to develop and sustain effective CBPR partnerships. The Program consists of six sessions that are offered on various Fridays throughout the year.


Methods In Health And Biomedical Informatics—CCTS 47005
Instructor: Samuel Volchenboum
Time: Thursday 1:30-3:30 PM
Location: TBA
Notes: Send questions about enrollment to Course runs from 9/27 to 12/08. Location rotates
between Northwestern’s downtown campus and UIC.

Most Health and Biomedical Informatics (HBMI) Graduate Programs around the country have independently come to the conclusion that the computational methods that informatics graduate students need to be familiar with is too broad and numerous to be addressed by a series of independent courses. Therefore, most programs have created a set of integrated courses that expose the students to a wide variety of informatics methods in short modules. Typically, these required methods series are organized as a series of required courses taken during the first year of graduate study. This course is the result of discussions by Health and Biomedical Informatics researchers and educators from the Chicago Biomedical Informatics Training (CBIT) initiative. This course is designed as the first course of a year-long sequence and is worth 100 units. Registration for the full year is expected.

Summer 2019

Introduction to Biostatistics—PBHS 32100/CCTS 45000
Instructor: John Cursio
Time: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 3:00-4:30 PM
Location: TBA
This course will provide an introduction to the basic concepts of statistics as applied to the biomedical and public health sciences. Emphasis is on the use of the interpretation of statistical tools for data analysis. Topics include (i) descriptive statistics; (ii) probability and sampling; (iii) the methods of statistical inference; and (iv) an introduction to linear and logistics regression.

Clinical Epidemiology—PBHS 30700/CCTS 45100
Instructors: Brian Chiu and Diane Lauderdale
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00-11:00 AM
Location: TBA
Clinical epidemiology is the “application of epidemiologic principles and methods to problems encountered in clinical medicine.” This course introduces the basic principles of epidemiologic study design, analysis and interpretation, with a particular focus on clinical applications. The course includes lectures and discussions based on critical appraisal of significant research articles.

Fundamentals of Health Services Research: Theory, Methods And Applications—CCTS 45200
Instructors: David Meltzer and Marshall Chin
Time: Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays/Fridays, 1:00-2:30 PM
Location: TBA
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of health services research. The basic concepts of health services research will be taught with an emphasis on both their social scientific foundations and the methods needed for their practical application to empirically relevant research. Theoretical foundations will draw on principles from economics, sociology, psychology, and the other social sciences. Methodological topics to be covered will include techniques for data collection and analysis, including outcomes measurement, survey methods, large data set research, population-based study design, community based participatory research, research based in clinical settings, qualitative methods, cost-effectiveness analysis, and tools of economic and sociological analysis. The theoretical and empirical techniques taught will emphasize those relevant to the examination of health care costs, quality, and access. Major applications will include: measurement and improvement of health care quality, analysis of health disparities, analysis of health care technology, and analysis of health care systems and markets. Students prepare a grant proposal as the final assignment for this course. 

Discourse Of Islamic Bioethics—CCTS 41006
Instructors: Aasim Padela
Time: Mondays, 11:30am-1:00 PM
Location: TBA
This course is a mentored and directed reading course that introduces students to critical concepts in Islamic theology and law that undergird normative ethical frameworks within Islam and exposes the student to exemplar works from the wide range of Islamic bioethics literature. The first part of the course will focus on the theoretical aspects of the Islamic moral and ethical tradition and cover scholarly contestations regarding Islamic moral theology as they relate to an Islamic bioethics. The latter half of course will focus on the practical aspects of the emerging field by considering research methods for the field and selected literature reviews of Islamic responses to pressing bioethical issues.

Spring 2019

CCTS 21004 
Christian Traditions And Medicine In The Late Modern World

Instructors: John Yoon & Herbert Lin  
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:20 PM
Location: Billings Hospital M214 
What is the meaning of medicine in our contemporary world? How has it changed over time, and what are its normative conditions and challenges? What religious and spiritual resources might Christian traditions bring to bear on such questions? This course rests on the assumption that contemporary challenges in medicine stem from a moral pluralism reflecting the cultural conditions of late modernity, as well as from a growing inability to maintain clinical excellence in an increasingly complex and bureaucratic health care system. We will first examine this assumption and its sociological, historical, and theological significance. In parallel, we will engage guest speakers throughout the course who will help us comparatively explore several Christian responses to modernity and to diverse domains of medicine. Lastly, we will critically explore James Hunter’s constructive proposal of “faithful presence,” and what that might mean in the context of medicine. Our goal, ultimately, will be to reflect on the conditions and challenges of modern medicine and to appraise the historical and theological resources that the Christian traditions may offer.

PQ: Completed SOSC Sequence.

CCTS 21007/43007
Clinical and Health Services Research: Methods and Applications
Instructor: Gregory Ruhnke
Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30-6:50 PM
Location: Billings H300
This course will introduce the interdisciplinary field of clinically-oriented health services research with a focus on policy-related implications. Through exposure to theoretical foundations, methodologies, and applications, students without significant investigative experience will learn about the design and conduct of research studies. We will cover the integration of research within the stages of translational medicine, and how science conducted across the translational medicine spectrum informs policy through purveyors of clinical services (e.g. physicians, hospitals), government, insurers, and professional societies. We will use the examples of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy and autologous bone marrow transplantation to illustrate pitfalls in the progression from basic science research to clinical trials leading to diffusion in clinical medicine that can complicate the creation of logical, evidence-based practice guidelines, reimbursement, and clinical practice. Using a highly interactive approach, topics will allow students to gain experience in areas pertinent in health services research, including:

  • Assessment of health status                 
  • Survey research
  • Large-database analyses                 
  • Measurement issues (e.g. socioeconomic status)
  • Study Designs
  • Causal Inference and Risk adjustment
  • Outcome selection/measurement
  • Common statistical techniques

Selected sessions will focus on:

  • Aging and the elderly as a high-risk population
  • Hospital information systems
  • Ethical issues surrounding the conduct of clinical investigations
  • Using results for clinical care, quality assessment, and health policy
  • Peer-reviewed journal article publication and critique of literature

Please contact the instructor directly at with any questions.

CCTS 32411 
Mediation, Moderation, And Spillover Effects 

Instructor: Guanglei Hong
Time: Wednesdays from 1:30-4:20 PM, and Fridays from 1:30- 2:50 PM
Location: Rosenwald Hall 329 (Wednesdays), and Walker Museum 303 (Fridays)
This course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students from social sciences, statistics, public health science, public policy, and social services administration who will be or are currently involved in quantitative research. Questions about why a treatment works, for whom, under what conditions, and whether one individual’s treatment could affect other individuals’ outcomes are often key to the advancement of scientific knowledge. We will clarify the theoretical concepts of mediated effects, moderated effects, and spillover effects under the potential outcomes framework. The course introduces cutting-edge methodological approaches and contrasts them with conventional strategies including multiple regression, path analysis, and structural equation modeling. The course content is organized around application examples. The textbook “Causality in a Social World: Moderation, Mediation, and Spill-Over” (Hong, 2015) will be supplemented with other readings reflecting the latest developments and controversies. Weekly labs will provide tutorials and hands-on experiences. All students are expected to contribute to the knowledge building in class through participation in presentations and discussions. Students are encouraged to form study groups, while the written assignments are to be finished and graded on an individual basis. 

PQ: Intermediate Statistics such as STAT 224/ PBHS 324, PP 31301, BUS 41100, or SOC 30005 in addition to Introduction to Causal Inference or their equivalent.

CCTS 38300
Health Economics And Public Policy
Instructor: David Meltzer
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:20 PM
Location: The Keller Center 1002 
This course analyzes the economics of health and medical care in the United States with particular attention to the role of government. The first part of the course examines the demand for health and medical and the structure and the consequences of public and private insurance. The second part of the course examines the supply of medical care, including professional training, specialization and compensation, hospital competition, and finance and the determinants and consequences of technological change in medicine. The course concludes with an examination of recent proposals and initiatives for health care reform.

CCTS 42001 
Global Health Sciences III: Topics in Global Health 

Instructors: Christopher Olopade & Olufunmilayo Olopade 
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30- 2:50 PM
Location: TBA
This course will review the major factors that influence the health of individuals and communities worldwide and seek to gain a better understanding of the complexities of global health. Students will study both broad and disease-specific global health challenges (e.g., cancer, diabetes, and cardiopulmonary disease) and strategies for responding to them; key institutions and stakeholders; environmental impacts on health; ethical considerations in research and interventions; maternal and child health; health and human rights; and international legal frameworks within global health diplomacy. The course encompasses lectures, student presentations, and the preparation of a proposal addressing a significant global health problem with major impact.

PQ: To be eligible for this program, students should have completed at least one of the following Biology Fundamentals sequences by Winter 2019: 1) Epidemiology and Population Health; 2) Global Health Infectious Diseases.

CCTS 47007 
Methods In Health And Biomedical Informatics III 

Instructor: Samuel Volchenboum 
Time: Thursdays, 1:30-3:30 PM
Location: Billings Hospital H300
Most Health and Biomedical Informatics (HBMI) Graduate Programs around the country have independently come to the conclusion that the computational methods that informatics graduate students need to be familiar with are too broad and numerous to be addressed by a series of independent courses. Therefore, most programs have created a set of integrated courses that expose the students to a wide variety of informatics methods in short modules. Typically, these required methods series are organized as a series of required courses taken during the first year of graduate study. This course is the result of discussions by Health and Biomedical Informatics researchers and educators from the Chicago Biomedical Informatics Training (CBIT) initiative. This course is designed as the third course of a year-long sequence and is worth 100 units. Registration for the full year is expected.

PQ: CCTS 47005 during Fall 2018 and 47006 in Winter 2019. Location rotates between Northwestern’s downtown campus, UIC, and UC.

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