Biostatistics plays a fundamental role in medical, biomedical and public health research. Advances in medical technology alone have substantially increased the demand for trained biostatisticians to demonstrate basic scientific knowledge, effectiveness and feasibility. There is a growing need for biostatisticians to be trained in a broad range of fields, including the biological sciences, quantitative sciences and clinical applications. Researchers in the medical and life sciences are expressing a growing need for applied biostatisticians who are trained with a background in biology and strong communication skills as well as quantitative skills. Most applied biostatisticians function in collaborative environments that require interdisciplinary knowledge and strong communication skills, but many do not receive training in biology and bioinformatics. Not only do biostatisticians need to be trained how to apply the wide range of quantitative methods that are needed in biomedical research, but they also need an understanding of the biological basis for disease and the biological measures that are collected in biomedical research. The goal of this training grant proposal is to seek continued funding for our training program for pre-doctoral students in biostatistics that provides a strong background in quantitative skills, biology, applied research and exposure to the proper conduct of ethical research. Our program of 1-3 years includes course work required of all biostatistics doctoral students along with rotations in bioinformatics, genetics, ethical conduct of research, observational studies and clinical trials. In the rotations students work on an applied research project gaining important experience in an environment that provides excellent experience in interdisciplinary research. This program produces students not only with classroom exposure to quantitative skills, but also practical experience as a functioning biostatistician.
The NIH has identified a growing need to educate biostatisticians through an interdisciplinary approach. Additionally, there is a growing need to include minorities and disabled persons in this important field. This program plays an important role in addressing both needs within the United States.
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