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GMS Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e.V. (GMDS)

ISSN 1860-9171

1st Händel School of Modern Epidemiology in Halle, October 3-6, 2005 with Prof. Kenneth J. Rothman

Erste Händel School of Modern Epidemiology in Halle, 3.-6. Oktober 2005 mit Prof. Kenneth J. Rothman

Retrospective and Prospective View

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  • corresponding author Andreas Stang - Institute of Medical Epidemiology, Biometry and Informatics, Medical Faculty, Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany

GMS Med Inform Biom Epidemiol 2005;1(3):Doc16

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: December 6, 2005

© 2005 Stang.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.


The Händel School of Modern Epidemiology is dedicated to the education of scientists and students who have a particular interest in modern epidemiologic methods. The school is named after the famous Georg Friederich Händel who was born in Halle (Saale) in 1685. The Händel School will be held once per year in October. This year's opening school was given by Prof. Kenneth J. Rothman from Boston University. The course covered several methodological topics that attracted a wide range of scientists and students from seven European countries. The next year's Händel School lecturer will be Prof. Albert Hofman, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, who will cover modern methods of clinical epidemiology.

Keywords: epidemiology, Germany, continuing education


Die Händel School of Modern Epidemiology hat das Ziel, Wissenschaftlern und Studierenden mit besonderem Interesse an modernen epidemiologischen Methoden international hochrangige Fortbildungen anzubieten. Die neu gegründete Epidemiology School ist nach Georg Friedrich Händel, der im Jahre 1685 in Halle (Saale) geboren wurde, benannt. Die Händel School wird einmal pro Jahr im Oktober angeboten. Die diesjährige erstmalige Händel School wurde von Prof. Kenneth J. Rothman der Boston University gegeben. Der Kursus behandelte diverse wichtige methodische Themen, die eine große Zahl von Wissenschaftlern und Studierenden aus sieben Europäischen Ländern anzog. Die 2. Händel School of Modern Epidemiology im Jahre 2006 wird von Prof. Albert Hofman, Erasmus Universität, Rotterdam, gegeben und wird den Schwerpunkt "Moderne Methoden der klinischen Epidemiologie" behandeln.


The Händel School of Modern Epidemiology is a newly founded school that takes place annually in Halle (Saale), Germany. It is dedicated to scientists and students who have a particular interest in modern epidemiologic methods. The Händel School is named after the famous Georg Friederich Händel who was born in Halle (Saale) in 1685. The program director is Professor Andreas Stang, MPH at the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, University of Halle-Wittenberg. The opening school was given this year (October 3-6, 2005) (Figure 1 [Fig. 1]) by Professor Kenneth J. Rothman (Figure 2 [Fig. 2]) from the School of Public Health, Boston University, USA and was entitled "Principles and Methods of Epidemiologic Research". Kenneth J. Rothman is well known due to his excellent epidemiology text books [1], [2], [3] and due to his editorial work as the founder and former editor in chief of the journal Epidemiology.

His course aimed to acquaint students with the principles of modern epidemiologic research, covering both study design and data analysis, including cohort studies, case-control studies, case-crossover studies, analytic strategies, the interpretation of data, and the role of biologic interaction. The course began with a general discussion of causation and causal inference, followed by an introduction to epidemiologic measures. Thereafter, principles for designing cohort and case-control studies were presented, emphasizing the connections between these two major study types. Precepts and primary methods of epidemiologic data analysis were introduced and discussed on the basis of published studies. The reasons to prefer estimation over statistical significance testing were presented. Strategies for the control of confounding using stratified analysis and multivariable models were covered, along with the analysis of matched data, the evaluation of interaction and the estimation of trends in effect. Although the course did not emphasize computation, several computer lab exercises using the Episheet macro ( supplemented the classes. The long teaching experience, experience in the conduct of epidemiologic studies, experience as the founding editor of the journal Epidemiology enabled Kenneth J. Rothman to give very fundamental lectures that attracted all levels of epidemiologists - from the beginners to the advanced epidemiologists.

The fully booked course was financially sponsored by the German Society of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology (GMDS), the German Society of Epidemiology (DGEpi), and a private sponsor. In addition, the German Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) gave five travel grants for scientists of Eastern European states. Scientists and students from seven nations including Lithuania, Finland, Poland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy participated in the course which took place in the "Löwengebäude", one of the oldest completely restored buildings of the University of Halle-Wittenberg.

The next year's 2nd Händel School of Modern Epidemiology will cover principles and methods of clinical epidemiology and will be given by Prof. Albert Hofman, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Rothman KJ. Modern Epidemiology. Boston: Little, Brown & Company; 1986.
Rothman KJ, Greenland S. Modern Epidemiology. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven; 1998.
Rothman KJ. Epidemiology. An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press; 2002.