Our T-15 SIBS Pittsburgh program is a 6-week residential summer training program in collaborative biostatistics designed to encourage advanced undergraduate students/recent college graduates to consider graduate training in biostatistics/statistics. Our program targets quantitatively oriented students who are interested in academic biomedical research. SIBS Pittsburgh highlights the collaborative nature of biostatistics within the context of multidisciplinary research studies in cardiovascular health and minority populations.
The specific aims are to: introduce trainees to basic biostatistical methods in the context of compelling scientific questions and research data;teach trainees the analytic and computer skills necessary to address these questions themselves;actively involve trainees in individual projects within collaborative group settings;and educate trainees about the role of biostatistical thinking in collaborative research and opportunities for further training/employment in the field of biostatistics. We focus on design, theory, application communication, and computation. We plan to train a total of 60 additional trainees (20 per year). SIBS Pittsburgh is a 4-credit program comprised of an integrated 3-credit course in Introductory Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Genetics and a 1-credit Collaborative Biostatistics Seminar/Independent Project. This program is taught by collaborative biostatisticians with expertise in the areas of clinical trials, adaptive designs, medication safety, health services research, risk factor reduction, minority health, statistical genetics, and survey sampling. Our collaborators on several large NHLBI- and other NIH-funded trials in cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, and population-based studies of Hepatitis-C and oral health, participate as clinical mentors. In the computer laboratory, trainees learn to communicate results by writing extended abstracts based on their analyses of data from the NHLBI-funded BARI study and the Virahep-C study. In the seminar component, trainees develop individual projects based on datasets available from our collaborators. The program is evaluated using ongoing feedback and focus groups at the end of each year, and revised accordingly. Forty trainees have participated in the first 2 years of the SIBS Pittsburgh program;10 of the 17 who have graduated from college currently are in graduate school, and 9 of the 16 current seniors have applied to graduate school. SIBS Pittsburgh has successfully encouraged pre-doctoral participants to pursue graduate training in biostatistics and related fields.
By focusing on compelling biomedical examples drawn from our own research and hands-on data-based activities, this program has attracted prospective students to the field of biostatistic by (1) concrete examples demonstrating that biostatistics is an interesting and integral component of biomedical research;(2) clinical collaborations;and (3) opportunities for trainees to see themselves successfully doing such work. (End of Abstract)