Strategies for developing biostatistics resources in an academic health center

Leah J. Welty, Rickey E. Carter, Dianne M. Finkelstein, Frank E. Harrell, Christopher J. Lindsell, Maurizio MacAluso, Madhu Mazumdar, Paul J. Nietert, Robert A. Oster, Brad H. Pollock, Paula K. Roberson, James H. Ware

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Biostatistics - the application of statistics to understanding health and biology - provides powerful tools for developing research questions, designing studies, refining measurements, analyzing data, and interpreting findings. Biostatistics plays an important role in health-related research, yet biostatistics resources are often fragmented, ad hoc, or oversubscribed within academic health centers (AHCs). Given the increasing complexity and quantity of health-related data, the emphasis on accelerating clinical and translational science, and the importance of conducting reproducible research, the need for the thoughtful development of biostatistics resources within AHCs is growing.In this article, the authors identify strategies for developing biostatistics resources in three areas: (1) recruiting and retaining biostatisticians, (2) efficiently using biostatistics resources, and (3) improving biostatistical contributions to science. AHCs should consider these three domains in building strong biostatistics resources, which they can leverage to support a broad spectrum of research. For each of the three domains, the authors describe the advantages and disadvantages of AHCs creating centralized biostatistics units rather than dispersing such resources across clinical departments or other research units. They also address the challenges that biostatisticians face in contributing to research without sacrificing their individual professional growth or the trajectory of their research teams. The authors ultimately recommend that AHCs create centralized biostatistics units because this approach offers distinct advantages both to investigators who collaborate with biostatisticians as well as to the biostatisticians themselves, and it is better suited to accomplish the research and education missions of AHCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-460
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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    Welty, L. J., Carter, R. E., Finkelstein, D. M., Harrell, F. E., Lindsell, C. J., MacAluso, M., Mazumdar, M., Nietert, P. J., Oster, R. A., Pollock, B. H., Roberson, P. K., & Ware, J. H. (2013). Strategies for developing biostatistics resources in an academic health center. Academic Medicine, 88(4), 454-460. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e31828578ed