Boston University proposes an intensive six-week program entitled the 'Boston University Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics (BU SIBS)', based on a comprehensive curriculum designed to interest undergraduates in the many exciting opportunities in the field. The curriculum is rigorous and interspersed with current examples that highlight the relevance of biostatistics. Our faculty is enthusiastic and committed to the program, as are our panel of outside speakers who are practicing biostatisticians and epidemiologists from academia and industry, and physician researchers working on important highly-publicized studies such as the NHLBI-sponsored Framingham Heart Study.
The specific aims of BU SIBS are: 1) To run an interactive program designed to introduce a diverse body of recent college graduates or advanced undergraduate students to biostatistics as a vibrant, vitally important discipline that provides essential tools for a wide range of biomedical research and offers many exciting possibilities as a career;2) To provide students with a solid foundation in the basic principles of biostatistical analysis, epidemiological analysis, design and analysis of clinical trials and statistical genetics using innovative and creative approaches to teaching and through highly publicized and relevant examples;3) To introduce undergraduate students to the SAS and R computing packages, to provide fundamental skills that will enable them to confidently conduct basic statistical analyses and interpret output from statistical packages using datasets available from NHLBI studies of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders;4) To fully evaluate the program, update and modify the curriculum based on feedback and self-evaluation and to ultimately disseminate a high quality, comprehensive curriculum that can be used in other institutions to introduce undergraduates to the field of biostatistics;and 5) To mentor students in course selection at their home institutions, and to provide career counseling, advice and support for applications to graduate programs in biostatistics or other disciplines. We emphasize a teaching strategy that integrates engaging didactic teaching and active classroom discussion;presentations and panel discussions by experts from specific disciplines to discuss examples that utilized specific techniques and appeared in the media or in recent medical or public health publications;hands-on design and analysis exercises with NHLBI data sets;visits to off-site locations to meet professionals engaged in biostatistical research, and a spirit of teamwork and camaraderie among students and faculty.
There is a tremendous need for adequately trained biostatisticians and the demand for qualified biostatisticians is expected to grow. The Boston University Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics is an extremely important program that will move us toward our goal of meeting the demands for qualified biostatisticians in the near future.