Department of Public Health Sciences

BDM Courses

An Introduction to Bayesian Disease Mapping

A Two-Day Course

Offering Courses:
March 11-12, 2010

Historic Charleston, South Carolina


This course is designed to provide an introduction to the area of Bayesian disease mapping in applications to Public Health and Epidemiology:

The two-day course consists of sessions dealing with:

Basic concepts of Bayesian methods and disease mapping

  1. Bayesian computation and MCMC
  2. Basic R and WinBUGS use
  3. Demonstration of risk estimation and cluster detection using WinBUGS

Hands-on with simple WinBUGS models: Poisson-gamma; convolution models for risk estimation

  1. Ecological analysis, cluster models and space-time analysis
  2. Infectious disease models and veterinary data

This is designed for those who want to cover more advanced mapping methods, and includes ecological analysis and the use of WinBUGS software.

The course will include theoretical input, but also practical elements and participants will be involved hands-on in the use of R and WinBUGS in disease mapping applications. Both human and veterinary examples will be covered in the course as well as simple infectious disease space-time modelling. Examples will range over congenital anomaly birth data, influenza in South Carolina, foot-and-mouth disease in the UK and oral cancer in Georgia,

Professor Andrew B. Lawson (Dept of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics & Epidemiology, College of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina) is a World Health Organization (WHO) advisor on Disease Mapping and organized with the WHO an International workshop on this topic which has led to an edited volume "Disease Mapping and Risk Assessment for Public Health". He has published a number of books focused on disease mapping and spatial epidemiology. In particular, a new volume entitled Bayesian Disease Mapping will be a course text for this course. A copy of the book is included in the course fee.

The course is intended for epidemiologists and public health workers who need to analyse geographical disease incidence. In addition, the course may be of interest to statisticians or geographers and planners who deal with spatial disease data. Some statistical/epidemiological background would be beneficial but is not essential.

Participants will gain an in-depth understanding of the basic issues, methods and techniques used in the analysis of spatial health data using a Bayesian approach. They will gain insight into the detailed analysis of practical problems in risk estimation and cluster detection. The course is presented by a leading researcher in the field of disease mapping and spatial epidemiology.

Two-day Course - $500.00

Two-day course fee includes comprehensive course notes, lunch, refreshments and a copy of Bayesian Disease Mapping: Hierarchical Modeling in Spatial Epidemiology, Lawson, A. B., (2008), CRC press, New York.

Attendees must bring a laptop with R and WinBUGS 1.4.3 software preloaded. Datasets will be provided. R and WinBUGS software can be downloaded from the following websites: and/or

The course will take place on the campus of the Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Epidemiology, Room 301, 135 Cannon Street, Charleston, South Carolina.


The Courtyard by Marriott

35 Lockwood Drive

Charleston, SC 29401

(843) 722-7229

Charleston Marriott Hotel

170 Lockwood Boulevard

Charleston, SC 29403


Holiday Inn Historic District

125 Calhoun Street

Charleston, SC 29401

(843)805-7900 Phone

Comfort Inn

144 Bee Street

Charleston, SC 29401


Additional information on Charleston and area hotel accommodations may be found at Download a campus map at

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