Professor of Public Health
Conlisk came to Hampshire in 2001 and teaches classes in the areas of public health, epidemiology, and statistics. Her research focuses on various topics in cancer prevention, especially cervical cancer screening and tobacco use.
She is also the director of the Five College Program in Culture, Health and Science, an interdisciplinary certificate program for students interested in both the socio-political and biologic bases of health.
This hands-on course provides an overview of the statistics and data analyses commonly used in epidemiologic and medical research. The primary goals are to learn to develop a testable hypothesis, identify appropriate analyses and correctly interpret and communicate the results, orally and in writing. Students will spend the first half of the semester analyzing health datasets of various sizes and structures, and gaining practice with basic statistical tests (t-test, ANOVA, chi-square, regression) and measures of effect (relative risk, odds ratio). Students will then work independently, developing and executing analytical plans for data they have collected or have accessed on their own. This is an ideal course for Division III students who will be analyzing quantitative data for their research as well as students who want to develop their statistical skills through extensive practice. There are no prerequisites for the course, though an introductory course in statistics is strongly encouraged.
Food and Health will be organized as a Teaching and Learning Community (TLC), a new Hampshire initiative designed to encourage informal learning experiences in first-year tutorials. The course will focus on the complex role of food in health promotion and disease prevention, and will serve as an introduction to the fields of nutrition and epidemiology. In one of our two course meetings each week, we will meet in the classroom, learning to think critically about dietary research and about scientific research in general. The other meeting will be organized around an activity, trip, or community gathering related in some way to food, taking us places both on- and off-campus. Readings will be drawn from the primary and secondary scientific literature as well as the lay press. Possible topics include high fructose corn syrup; food fermentation; the Mediterranean diet; organic vs. conventionally grown food; and genetically modified food. Students will have the opportunity to explore their own food-related questions in a final independent project, and to gain agricultural experience by assisting with the weekly vegetable harvest on Hampshire's organic farm. They will also be asked to help develop the hands-on activities for the second half of the semester.
NS 248 is an introduction to the principles and practice of epidemiology and the use of data in program planning and policy development. The course covers the major concepts usually found in a graduate-level introductory course in epidemiology: outbreak investigations, study design, measures of effect, internal and external validity, reliability, and causal inference. Assigned readings are drawn from a standard textbook and the primary literature. In addition, students read case studies and work step-by-step through major epidemiologic investigations of the past century; they also form small groups to design and conduct a small epidemiologic study on campus. The major assignments are four case studies, regular response papers/worksheets on the readings, a critique of a primary paper, a poster presentation of the on-campus study, and a proposal for an epidemiologic study of their own design.
This course will be an introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics, with examples drawn from the fields of ecology, agriculture, public health, and clinical medicine. The approach will mainly be applied and hands-on; students will complete a workbook of statistical problems, collect and analyze data as a class, design and carry out small individual projects, do weekly problem sets plus revisions, and read and interpret data from the literature. We will learn to use common computer packages for statistical analysis: Excel and Minitab. Topics will include description, estimation, and basic techniques for hypothesis testing: z-scores, t-tests, chi-square, correlation, regression, one-way and two-way analysis of variance, and odds ratios. More advanced techniques such as multi-way anovas and multiple regression will also be briefly noted. We will also discuss the role of statistics in the scientific method and the philosophy of science, although the emphasis of the course will be on practical applications in design and analysis.
This upper-level seminar explores key issues in global women's health, with an emphasis on Latin America. Topics span the lifecycle and include the fields of infectious disease, reproductive health, nutrition, chronic disease, mental health and health policy. Readings are drawn from the medical and epidemiologic literature although attention will also be given to the political, economic and social factors that weigh heavily on health. A complementary text will be the lay health care manual "Where Women Have No Doctor" which is available in both English and Spanish. Students who speak Spanish can use this opportunity to practice their language skills and develop their medical vocabulary, although this is not required. Assignments include weekly response papers, data analyses and a final paper and presentation on a topic related to the themes of the course.