Good news!

  • Papers. Cindy Chen has had a paper accepted for publication in Biometrika.

  • Grants. Cindy Chen and Leena Choi have submitted R21 grant applications.

  • Support for biostatistics at Vanderbilt. Frank Harrell provided an update on his visit to the University of Pennsylvania. UPenn and Vanderbilt share a similar setup, with biostatistics departments housed within medical schools, but Frank is happy to report that the level of support for the biostatistics department seems much higher at Vanderbilt.

Consulting policy

Department members are sometimes asked to provide letters of support for grant applications, specifying that they will serve as biostatistical consultants with 0% effort on the grant. In general, this practice is NOT recommended.

If you are NOT a full professor, you must get permission from Frank Harrell before agreeing to serve as a consultant with 0% effort.

The exception to this general rule is K awards, for which serving as a consultant with 0% effort is acceptable.


Help make good use of the resources available to the department: before ordering a book, please check the library first! If you do order a book, please consider placing it in the department library after your use, to minimize charges against your career development allowance.

Revised biosketch format

NIH has updated the biosketch format (as of 11/2007). Please check your current biosketch, and make sure you are using the current format (look for “Rev. 11/07” in the bottom left corner). If you need to update your biosketch, samples and forms are available at:

Once you have the correct template and have updated your information, always use rtf format for storage of the document in OpenOffice or Word. Please do not store in .doc format.

Inter-departmental collaboration

The Departments of Nephrology and Otolaryngology have expressed a strong need for statistical support. Frank is working with these departments to develop plans for collaboration.

Procedure for promotions

The department is working on formulating a procedure for promotion from biostatistician III (a staff position) to assistant in biostatistics (a faculty position). In addition, the department is considering the possibility of creating a biostatistician IV position, for biostatistician IIIs who wish to remain on the staff track. Please note that the department encourages all biostatistician IIIs to develop expertise in a specific area of statistics.

Suggestions for the promotion procedure are welcome. Please direct suggestions to Robert Greevy or Frank Harrell.

Poster contest

In total, 14 posters were submitted for the poster contest. Thanks to all those who submitted entries! The executive faculty committee will judge the entries soon.

ASA national salary survey

The ASA national salary survey will be published in the December or January issue of AMSTAT News. For the first time, the survey will include information about MS level staff biostatistician salaries.


All faculty: please update your CV on the TWiki!

Opinion survey

The department will be sending out a survey to collect opinions about the two options for our upcoming move: 1) a single move to Blakemore Avenue prior to the final move to the Life Sciences/Engineering Building, or 2) a brief stay on Blakemore Avenue, followed by a second move to the top level of the Central Garage, prior to the final move to the Life Sciences/Engineering Building. If we decide on option (2), minimal renovations will be made to the Blakemore Avenue building to accommodate the department during our brief stay. If we decide on option (1), intensive renovation will be conducted to adapt the building to our needs for the three to four years that we will occupy it.

Graduate program

Jeffrey Blume reported excellent progress on the development of the graduate program. The graduate committee has had several meetings, and Jeffrey is working on drafting a formal plan for the program. When this draft is complete, Jeffrey plans to post the plan to the TWiki and invite input.

Call for instructors

The Department of Biomedical Engineering is looking for a faculty statistician to teach course BME 260, an undergraduate course that will enroll about 35 students, primarily juniors and seniors. The course is slated to start this January, and the instructor will be paid. Please contact Frank Harrell if you are interested in this teaching opportunity.

Holiday party

The department’s winter holiday party will be held December 5th. Plans also are in the works for a potluck lunch prior to the party; details are not yet available.
Topic revision: r1 - 10 Nov 2008, LynneBerry

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