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.
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.
This hands-on course examines food in the broadest sense, from its production in the field to its complex role in health promotion and disease prevention. Students learn basic principals of agriculture, plant science, nutrition and epidemiology, with an emphasis on the original research linking food and food production to human health. Readings for the class are drawn from the primary and secondary scientific literature and from agriculture and nutrition textbooks. Students also assist with the weekly vegetable harvest on Hampshire's organic farm and participate in a new initiative linking the farm with an inner-city school in Springfield. This is an ideal course for students who are serious about scientific inquiry, community service and a few hours of farm work each week.