What Do Collaborative Biostatisticians Do?
- Provide expertise and guidance on all aspects of study design, statistical methodology implementation, and results interpretation
- Participate in protocol development and grant applications with design, analysis considerations, and power/sample size calculations
- Collaborate on database design and programming
- Design and conduct statistical analyses for prospective and retrospective studies
- Collaborate on manuscript preparation, serve as co-authors
- Provide methodological and statistical education and training for both methodology experts and investigators
A detailed description of each step of the collaborative process that biostatisticians navigate through can be found in a published manuscript here.
Careers in Biostatistics
Biostatisticians collaborate with MD and PhD level investigators and trainees (students, residents, and fellows) to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Collaborative Biostatistics at Duke is a fun and rewarding career!
Biostatisticians can work on a variety of different research studies including clinical trials, quality improvement, observational studies, data science, meta-analysis, real-world evidence, and more. Some examples of projects that the BERD Methods Core has contributed to include:
- An analysis of Duke electronic health records found that 5-17 year old patients had fewer asthma exacerbations requiring systemic steroids in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the year prior to the pandemic.
- A cluster-randomized controlled trial in 32 communities in Western Kenya to assess the effectiveness of an intervention aimed to improve the proper use of malaria treatment found that diagnosis-dependent ACT (malaria drug) subsidies and community-based interventions that include the private sector can have an important impact on diagnostic testing and population-wide rational use of ACTs.
- A study using a national registry of data on bariatric surgeries found that Black adolescents have higher rates of sleep apnea and hypertension compared to other racial groups at baseline but similar rates of complications and hospital readmission after bariatric surgery.
You can learn more about careers in biostatistics here.
Careers at the BERD Methods Core
Hiring through the BERD Methods Core is advantageous for both investigators and the biostatisticians.
- Hiring and Training – The BERD Methods Core carefully evaluates candidates through our rigorous interview process. We hire quantitative methodologists with strong analytic and leadership skills. We train our biostatisticians and methodologists throughout their careers, through mentoring, specialized professional development plans, seminars, and workshops. Our paper Methods for training collaborative biostatisticians outlines our strategy for training collaborative biostatisticians and developing the essential skills needed to be a successful collaborative biostatistician.
- Mentorship – BERD ensures that all staff have dedicated project oversight from faculty and/or senior-level staff biostatisticians on all projects. BERD biostatisticians are part of a large network of staff and faculty across Duke to help navigate methodological or informatics challenges.
- Professional Development – BERD fosters a community atmosphere among biostatisticians and many opportunities for career growth that lead to high job satisfaction. Long-term collaborations facilitate strong partnerships between biostatisticians and clinical and translational scientists, while ensuring appropriate advancement opportunities for biostatisticians. Biostatisticians are evaluated by biostatisticians with input from collaborators to foster salary and advancement equity.
- Flexible Effort Allocations – Most BERD staff and faculty split their time among more than one collaboration. This model gives investigators the opportunity to fund part of a biostatistician’s effort if they do not need 100% effort. This gives biostatisticians the opportunity to work in multiple scientific areas to make broad impact.
- Management and Administration – The BERD’s management and administration is supported by the CTSA and Department of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics. The BERD has dedicated managers who oversee professional development for all staff. BERD managers train all staff on policies, procedures, computing infrastructure, templates, and guidelines that facilitate high integrity and reproducible research.
Preparing for a Career in Biostatistics
Undergraduate studies: Most people major in a mathematical and scientific area to prepare them for graduate school. See our department’s admission requirements for more information.
Graduate school: Most biostatistics careers require a masters or PhD degree in biostatistics, statistics, or a related field. Duke offers both masters and PhD program in Biostatistics.
Internships and training opportunities: These opportunities are available for students interested in biostatistics:
- Summer Institute in Biostatistics (SIBS) and Data Science
- BERD Core Training & Internship Program (BCTIP)
- The Effective Statistician
- Duke graduate and undergraduate summer opportunities
- CUBE: Collaborative Undergraduate Biostatistics Experience
If you are aware of other training opportunities that should be listed here, please contact us at BERDCore@duke.edu.