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CTSI: Design, Biostatistics & Quantitative Research (DBQQR)

Vision

The vision of the DBQRR is to harness the diverse interests and substantial expertise across CTSI-participating institutions to create an integrated and interactive resource for clinical and translational researchers to ensure that statistical and quantitative analyses are appropriate and rigorous; provide training programs in quantitative methods to strengthen the skills of the UM clinical and translational researchers; and create an environment in which quantitative scientists can share skills, resources, and ideas and thereby stimulate the development of innovative quantitative methods for clinical and translational research.

Specific Aims

  • The DBQQR will serve as a resource for expertise in quantitative methods to ensure that UM CTSI clinical and translational research designs are sound and that statistical and quantitative analyses are appropriate and rigorous.
  • The DBQRR will provide a range of training programs in quantitative methods to strengthen the skills of the UM clinical and translational researchers.
  • The DBQRR will create an environment in which quantitative scientists can share skills, resources, and ideas and thereby stimulate the development of innovative quantitative methods for clinical and translational research.

Overview

The partner institutions involved in the UM CTSI include recognized experts in a wide range of quantitative areas, including but not limited to general biostatistics, genomics, comparative effectiveness research, cost effectiveness analysis, scale development, clinical trials, and survey research. The “Design, Biostatistics and Quantitative Research Resource” (DBQRR) was created to harness the skills of these experts in support of quality clinical and translational research.

The DBQRR serves the CTSI in three broad ways. First, it provides quantitative expertise for research projects to improve the quality and efficiency of translational research. Second, the DBQRR creates an environment in which quantitative scientists can interact, share resources, and collaborate in the development of innovative quantitative methods that can enhance the quality of clinical and translational research. Third, the DBQRR provides career development training for faculty, fellows and staff. This proposal seeks resources to enhance and expand the activities of the DBQRR and to work in an integrated and synergistic fashion with other key functions of the UM CTSI.

An innovative aspect of an enhanced DBQRR will be the formation of “Specialty Groups” which will include experts in the areas of Genetic Epidemiology, High Dimensional and Genomic Data Analysis, Health Economics and Cost-Effectiveness, Survey Development, Measurement and Scale Development, and Analysis of Imaging Data. The creation of these groups and implementation of their services will have several purposes. First, by identifying specialty groups, we will increase the campus-wide visibility of these varied areas of expertise. Second, the groups will provide an environment and structure in which people who perform similar work across UM CTSI institutions can meet, interact, and form productive research partnerships. Third, the groups can be the focus and source of educational efforts and seminars in each specialty area.

Experts in the DBQRR will be accessed by researchers via a port in the Research HARBOR as discussed below. Thus expansion of DBQRR and integration with all other UM CTSI key functions will transform the ways in which quantitative expertise is accessed and utilized at the University of Maryland by unifying a diverse group of experts and making their skills and areas of specialty more visible and available to clinical and translational researchers.

Quantitative Expertise at UM and Partner Institutions

UM and its CTSI partners have internationally recognized experts in quantitative methods who reside in several different schools and departments. All the UMB, UMCP and UMBC schools have expertise in biostatistics and quantitative methods as does Geisinger Health System (GHS), but each have somewhat different strengths, many of which are complementary across institutional boundaries. The School of Medicine (SOM) has the largest group of biostatisticians, with expertise in study design, clinical trials, and genomics. The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UMCP has experts in the cutting edge areas of genomics analysis, high dimensional methods, and bioinformatics, in addition to longitudinal and survival analysis. The School of Pharmacy (SOP) includes a large group of experts in health services research and cost effectiveness analysis. The School of Social Work (SOSW) has strength in the areas of qualitative research, measurement, scale development, and survey research. The School of Nursing (SON) has a concentration of expertise in measurement, Web-based surveys, and program evaluation. The Robert H. Smith School of Business at UMCP has experts in the areas of decision analysis, health economics, and policy. GHS has expertise in comparative effectiveness, cancer biostatistics, and study design for and use of electronic health records and analysis of the resulting large datasets.

Leadership

The leadership of the enhanced DBQRR will include individuals from three CTSI-participating institutions: UMB (Larry Magder, PhD and John Sorkin, MD, PhD), UMCP (Mei-Ling Lee, PhD), and Geisinger Health System (H. Lester Kirchner, PhD).

The organizational structure reflects the three main functions of the DBQRR: Collaboration, Innovation, and Education.

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