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Integrated Training Program for Cardiovascular Disease Research

North Carolina State University of external icon
Grant #: T32 HL079896
Program Director: Marie Davidian, PhD,

Trainees Supported: Predoctoral only

Areas of Emphasis Biostatistical collaboration and methodological development in cardiovascular disease research

Program Summary:

The shortage of skilled biostatisticians equipped to address the challenges presented by this exciting new era of cardiovascular (CVD) research calls for training of biostatisticians that integrates formally (i) in-depth experience in collaboration in a multidisciplinary environment, (ii) mastery of the theoretical underpinnings of statistics required for valid application of sophisticated biostatistical techniques and for research on development of new methodology, and (iii) development of communication and leadership skills. This training program provides such training by capitalizing on the long-standing partnership between one of the largest graduate programs in statistics in the world at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and a research institution that is the largest of its kind and home to internationally known researchers at the forefront of CVD research, Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI). This partnership affords trainees the unique opportunity to develop all of these skills through interaction with faculty at both universities, who themselves have a history of inter-institutional collaboration and research and who have extensive experience in training and mentoring.

Trainees are PhD students in the Department of Statistics at NCSU. Their training involves formal coursework at NCSU on statistical theory, including probability, inference, linear and other statistical models, measure theory and advanced probability, and advanced statistical inference; and statistical methods, including clinical trials design/analysis, longitudinal data analysis, survival analysis, epidemiology, and cutting-edge special topics, such as causal inference. At DCRI, they receive simultaneous training in fundamental aspects of CVD medicine and in research responsibility and ethics. There is also extensive formal and experiential training in communication and leadership skills at both institutions. Trainees are introduced to DCRI CVD research gradually and evolve over their traineeships to holding full collaborative apprenticeships in which they are fully integrated as functioning members of DCRI project teams. The apprenticeships provide trainees with extensive working knowledge of CVD science, the opportunity to develop collaborative skills, and the recognition of how new biostatistical methods development is inspired by challenges encountered in the collaborative context. This last point is emphasized through mechanisms under which statistical methodological challenges arising in trainees' collaborative work lead to doctoral dissertation research in biostatistics.

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Last updated: May 2014

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