1 Boston University (BU) proposes an intensive six-week program entitled the 'Boston University Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics (BU SIBS)', based on a comprehensive curriculum that includes biostatistical analysis, epidemiological analysis, design and analysis of clinical trials, statistical genetics and statistical computing designed to interest undergraduates and recent graduates from across the US in the many exciting opportunities in the field of biostatistics. 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 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)-sponsored Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and Jackson Heart Study (JHS). With strong institutional support from BU, we propose an infrastructure to support all aspects of student life during the program. In 2003, Boston University (BU) was one of three sites to receive funding from the NHLBI to run a six-week intensive training program in biostatistics designed to interest undergraduates in the many exciting opportunities in the field (T15 HL075881). In 2006, the program was continued for another three years. In 2009, we were fortunate to be one of eight sites to receive funding to continue the program for three additional years (T15 HL097791). As of the date of this application, 8 sessions have been completed during the months of June and July of 2004 through 2011 and the 9th session is scheduled for June 11-July 20, 2012.
The specific aims of BU SIBS for the summers of 2013, 2014 and 2105 are: 1. To run an interactive program designed to introduce a diverse body of undergraduates and recent graduates to biostatistics as a vibrant, vitally important discipline that provides the essential tools for a wide range of biomedical research and offers many exciting career options. 2. To provide students with a solid foundation in the basic principles of biostatistical analysis, epidemiological analysis, design an 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 and to provide 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, relevant and comprehensive curriculum that can be used in other institutions to introduce undergraduates to the field of biostatistics. 5 To mentor students in course selection at their home institutions, provide career counseling, advice and support for applications to graduate programs in biostatistics or other disciplines, and to track graduates of BU SIBS to document short- and long-term effectiveness of the program. To achieve these aims we focus the program on four specific content areas: biostatistics, epidemiology, design and analysis of clinical trials, and statistical genetics. For each content area we will emphasize a teaching strategy that integrates active student learning with on-line modules, engaging didactic teaching and in- 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 scientific publications;timely and authentic hands-on 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. The program has been very successful to date. In our first year, we received 78 applications for 24 slots. Over 8 years, we have seen a 260% increase in applications which come from across the US from students with outstanding academic records (mean GPA=3.5) and a diverse range of undergraduate majors. In surveys administered at the start of each session, students indicated being unclear about biostatistics and its many career options. Over each six-week session, students'enthusiasm and interest in the field grew steadily as they learned first-hand about exciting options in the field of biostatistics. Graduates of BU SIBS are unanimous in the sentiment that the program introduced them to a career they never thought possible. We successfully maintain steady contact with over 90% of our students from completion of BU SIBS (2004-2011) through 2012 and over 74% of the our BU SIBS alumni have either entered into graduate programs in biostatistics or taken jobs in the field. The vast majority of BU SIBS students currently completing their undergraduate work are applying to graduate programs in biostatistics or considering employment opportunities in the field.
In 2001 and 2003, the NIH convened workshops to develop recommendations to address the growing shortage of qualified biostatisticians in the US. The Boston University Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics is designed to interest undergraduates in the many exciting opportunities in the field. The trainees'future role in public health will be enhanced due to thei early exposure to the foundations of biostatistical analysis, epidemiological analysis, design and analysis of clinical trials and statistical genetics analysis.