NCATS Funds Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics

The Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute (ACTSI) recently helped secure NIH, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) funding for a Summer Institute for training in Biostatistics (SIBS) through the Rollins School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at Emory University. The training program is designed to introduce 20 talented undergraduates with quantitative backgrounds and biological training from around the U.S. to the field of biostatistics through classroom instruction, computational exercises, guided team analysis and hands-on team research projects over five weeks on Emory’s campus. 

“The Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics is a great example of the value of cross-campus initiatives and collaboration. The ACTSI, funded through an NCATS Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), supports the Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Design (BERD) program. The NCATS support for SIBS is new this year, funding two additional institutes at CTSA-institutions,” said David Stephens, MD, ACTSI principal investigator and vice president for research, Woodruff Health Sciences Center. 

SIBS is an extension of the successful Atlanta Summer Institute for training in Biostatistics (ASIBS), part of a network of eight current SIBS programs across the country. The purpose of the program is to motivate and attract the next generation of quantitative scientists to graduate training and employment in the field of biostatistics as it evolves to address growing challenges in the interpretation and understanding of clinically-relevant research data. Through the summer institute and its award-winning introductory statistics instructors and active biostatistical and medical researchers, SIBS aims to demonstrate by example that biostatistics is a challenging and collaborative discipline essential to the proper design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of medical and public health data; expose participants to key biostatistical concepts, applications and software; provide participants with hands-on experience with data analysis, statistical software, collaborative research, scientific writing and scientific presentation; introduce participants to NIH-funded biomedical researchers in a variety of fields and settings; support professional development in team-based research, reporting skills and preparation of admission to graduate programs; and motivate participants to graduate training (and eventual careers) in biostatistics or related fields. The BERD program of the ACTSI works closely with SIBS to provide participants with exposure to and experience with ongoing ACTSI research projects.

“Our program will be funded for three years through NCATS due to our relationship with the ACTSI and the BERD core. We would not have received this T15 award if it had not been for ACTSI, “ states  Lance Waller, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. “Emory is one of nine programs across the country that introduces undergraduates to training and careers in the field of biostatistics. We always welcome presentations by potential collaborators and anyone interested in discussing data and biomedical research should feel free to contact me for more information.”   

The 2013 Emory SIBS program will run from June 9 to July 17. Undergraduate and beginning graduate students from any college/university majoring in mathematics, science or other quantitatively oriented areas of study are eligible. In addition, college graduates considering graduate school are also eligible.

The ACTSI is one of 61 medical research institutions working as a national consortium to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA), shares a common vision to reduce the time it takes for laboratory discoveries to become treatments for patients, and to engage communities in clinical research efforts. It is also fulfilling the critical need to train the next generation of clinical researchers. The CTSA initiative is led by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.