David A. Grimes, M.D.
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Exxcellence in Clinical Research (formerly Exxcellence in Faculty Development)


Since 1987, Drs. Grimes and Schulz have taught research methods and evidence-based medicine through this highly-acclaimed course.  A description appears below....

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Epidemiology is a basic science of clinical practice. Often viewed by physicians as an arcane science impenetrable to all but mathematicians, epidemiology is, in reality, a systematic and logical approach to looking at diseases, their causes, and their prevention. This course will introduce you to the major epidemiologic study designs in reproductive health and will draw heavily upon examples in obstetrics and gynecology. Some of these examples are classics from the United States, while other examples are drawn from foreign countries to illustrate the application of epidemiology to unusual problems. The course will consist of a mixture of didactic sessions, independent study, group work, and class discussions. Because of the limited number of participants, we anticipate an informal and relaxed exchange of ideas and concepts. 

At the conclusion of the workshop, you should be able to 
1. Identify the major types of epidemiologic studies
2. State at least one strength and one weakness of each of the above types of studies
3. Define the terms “relative risk” and “attributable risk”
4. Specify the steps involved in determining the sample size for a study
5. Define four measures of test validity
6. Name at least three different types of control groups used in epidemiologic studies and specify at least one strength and one weakness of each 

The Lancet Handbook of Essential Concepts in Clinical Research, authored by Schulz and Grimes, serves as the text for the couse.The workbook (and its predecessors) has been used to teach workshops in reproductive epidemiology around the world. It was developed as a collaborative project among the staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Family Health International, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and overseas collaborators. The workbook was designed to supplement standard texts in epidemiology, rather than to replace them. Since the workbook is in a continuous state of evolution, we welcome your input as to content and format. 

David A. Grimes, MD, serves as a Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UNC School of Medicine at Chapel Hill. He is one of a small number of physicians with Board certification in both obstetrics and gynecology and preventive medicine. Early in his career, he spent nine years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, more recently, 14 years at FHI 360 working in reproductive epidemiology.  He now continues his interest in fertility control, sexually transmitted diseases, technology assessment, and evidence-based medicine. 


Kenneth F. Schulz, PhD, MBA, serves as Distinguished Scientist and Vice President of Quantitative Sciences at Family Health International and Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UNC School of Medicine at Chapel Hill. Before those positions, he was an epidemiologist/ biostatistician in family planning and sexually transmitted diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has worked in London in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Sciences at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and he was a visiting research fellow at the Cochrane Centre, University of Oxford. While in England, he indulged his noteworthy passion, or so it seems, for randomized controlled trials. Ken has the unique talent of making epidemiology understandable by clinicians. He is the lead author of the 2010 CONSORT guidelines, the international standard for reporting of randomized controlled trials.

 Based on previous courses, we anticipate that this week will help you professionally in several ways. If interested in research, you will be able to design and conduct sound epidemiologic studies. You will also be able to read medical literature more critically. You will also be better prepared to have your own work published. By incorporating epidemiologic principles into your clinical practice, you will inevitably become a better physician. Finally, we expect that you will find this course to be fun. We always do.  

The Foundation for Exxcellence in Women's Health Care is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing information on women's health. Created by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) in 2004, The Exxcellence Foundation brings Ob/Gyn physicians information and resources they can use to improve care for women. The impact is far-reaching: by helping women stay healthy, we are also strengthening and supporting America's families and communities.

The Exxcellence Foundation serves hundreds of young physicians in Ob/Gyn residency programs and more than 38,000 obstetrician-gynecologists certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

Link to 2007 survey of alumni (the course was formerly sponsored by Berlex Foundation)

Site of some August courses
Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, WA

Small group work at course

Dr. Grimes working with a small group

Designing clinical research

Drs. Grimes and Schulz consulting with participants

The Lancet Handbook of Essential Concepts in Clinical Research is the course text