Week 3: Principles of Epidemiology – Mini-Grant Project

Although there is variation among proposal formats, these are the sections that are commonly found in federal grant applications. Many agencies have specific requirements for length of proposals, either page number or word count limits. For this Mini-Grant Project, the page limitations are noted with each section. It is very important for your writing to be clear, succinct, and comprehensive.

Assignment Guidelines

  1. Needs Assessment (2–3 pages)
    1. Introduction: A general overview of the main idea of the project and its importance. Be sure to include the target population and approximately how many people will be served.
    2. Problem statement: Concise and clearly articulates the depth of the problem and why it is a concern.
    3. Purpose statement: Limit to one or two key areas as to what the project will involve and what it will accomplish.
    4. Program goals and objectives
      1. Goals are clear and concise statements as to what will be accomplished.
      2. Objectives are specific outcomes of the program that can be evaluated.
  2. Review of Literature: (2–3 pages). 5 articles published with the last five years drawing upon research, local and national data, or government statistics to summarize:
    1. Epidemiologic facts and statistics related to:
      1. Person, Place, and Time.
    2. Significance of the disease or condition and its impact on the health of the vulnerable population.
  3. Epidemiologic framework (epidemiological triangle, web of causation, ecological model) depicting specific risk factors of disease or condition (2–3 pages). Special consideration will be given to applicants that provide a graphic illustration.


Submit your assignment and review full grading criteria on the Assignment 3.1: Mini-Grant Project: Part One page.

Web of Causation Accessible Version


The HLA-DRB1 gene is the gene most strongly associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), contributing to up to one-third of the genetic predisposition to RA (Tobon, Youinou, & Saraux, 2010). The PTPN22 gene on chromosome 1 is the other main gene that increases susceptibility to RA, however, PTPN22 polymorphisms are rarely found in Asian populations (Tobon et al., 2010). Polymorphisms of the PADI4 gene are most consistently associated with RA in the Asian population (Tobon et al., 2010). “The HLA-DRB1 shared epitope and PTPN22 risk alleles are associated only with the RA pattern characterized by the presence of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody (ACPA) and rheumatoid factor” (RF; Tobon et al., 2010, p.12).


The strongest known environmental risk factor for RA is smoking (Liao, Alfredsson, & Karlson, 2009). Developing RA is two times higher for male smokers and 1.3 times greater for female smokers versus for non-smokers (Sugiyama, Nishimura, & Tamaki, 2009). The risk was the same for men and women, however, if smoking was heavy (20 or more pack-years; Sugiyama et al., 2009). The risk of smoking and the development of RA is further increased if smokers carry the shared epitope on the HLA-DRB1 allele and the risk of developing ACPA and RA is 21-fold higher for smokers that carry two copies of the shared epitope than non-smokers who do not carry the shared epitope (Liao et al., 2009).


Individuals that consume less than 0.5g of alcohol in a week are at increased risk of developing RA (Liao et al., 2009). Those that consume more than five drinks or 80gm of alcohol in a week have a 40-50% risk reduction compared to those with little or no consumption of alcohol and this risk is further reduced for shared epitope carriers (Liao et al., 2009).

Geography and Environment

In the United States, those living in the Northeast or mid-west have the highest risk of developing RA (Liao et al., 2009). Living in an urban setting, lower altitudes, and exposure to traffic pollution all affect susceptibility to RA (Liao et al., 2009; Tobon et al., 2010).

Gender and Age

RA is three times more frequent in women than in men and prevalence and incidence rises with age; and the highest maximal incidence is in the age group 65-74 years (Myasoedova, Crowson, Kremers, Therneau, & Gabriel, 2010; Tobon et al., 2010).

Education and Occupation

Liao et al. (2009) states the risk of RA is two-fold when comparing individuals with college degrees with those without college degrees and for individuals in an occupation that requires manual labor, the risk of RA was 20% more than non-manual laborers.


Birthweight greater than 4 kilograms is associated with a three-fold increase in the risk of RA and birthweight greater than 4.54 kilograms is associated with a two-fold increase in the risk of RA (Liao et al., 2009; Tobon et al., 2010).

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