This ongoing training program prepares graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for biostatistical and epidemiological research directed against the HIV epidemic. The program emphasizes strong training in statistical methodology, epidemiology, and related biologic areas. Students majoring in Biostatistics minor in Epidemiology and vice versa. Strong courses are also available in related fields such as virology, biology, health policy, population sciences, or behavioral science. The overall objective of the training program is to combine strong methodologic training with an extensive practical exposure to relevant problems and an introduction to specialized research on problems important to combating the HIV epidemic. The presence of expertise in virology, microbiology, and health care issues at the School adds to the unique environment for this training program. The Biostatistics and Epidemiology faculties are extensively involved in methodologic and collaborative research in HIV-related problems. Members of the Biostatistics Department form the Statistical Center for the AIDS Clinical Trials Group within the Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research, and are closely involved with the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative. Members of the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics are jointly involved in epidemiological studies in Botswana, Tanzania, and Thailand as well as the national AIDS research program. This provides the trainees with a very rich environment to pursue their research. To facilitate student participation in these research activities, the Department of Biostatistics sponsors faculty-wide "working groups" which meet biweekly to discuss ongoing research. During the 2008-2009 academic year, there are separate working groups in the areas of bioinformatics, correlated and high dimensional data, environmental statistics, HIV, neurostatistics, quantitative genomics, psychiatric biostatistics and epidemiology, surveillance, quantitative issues in cancer research, risk and decision analysis, and statistical methods in epidemiology.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic has now been with us for more than a quarter century and it still continues to have a devastating effect on humanity. Wonderful advances have been made in treating the disease, but there is still no cure and much work needs to be done to deal effectively with the pandemic. This grant is requesting funds to train biostatisticians and epidemiologists to continue to contribute in a coordinated fight against this virus on all fronts, from prevention and education to treatment.
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