Harvard Catalyst: 2018 Year-End Update

The Harvard Catalyst Biostatistics Program had a stimulating and eventful year.

We were sad to bid farewell to Dr. Rebecca Betensky, who stepped down as Director of the Harvard Catalyst Biostatistics Program upon taking a new position as professor and chair of biostatistics at the NYU College of Global Public Health and were very delighted to welcome a new program leader, Dr. Garrett Fitzmaurice, who is director of the Laboratory for Psychiatric Biostatistics at McLean Hospital, professor of psychiatry (biostatistics) at Harvard Medical School and professor in the department of biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The Program saw many successes in 2018. Our biostatistician and bioinformatician consultants were hard at work, providing over 1,000 consultations. Investigators across Harvard and Harvard-affiliated hospitals were helped on various issues, ranging from designing a study or a clinical trial, to receiving advice on specific analytic techniques, or simply exploring a pilot study feasibility, to name a few.

In March 2018, we convened a Symposium titled Use of Electronic Health Records for Clinical Research: Issues of Study Design and Analysis that examined the complex issues involved in designing and analyzing studies that use electronic health record data. The event was a huge success, bringing together close to 180 attendees, who represented diverse audiences from biostatisticians, to clinical and social science investigators, to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows all across the Harvard community and beyond.

During the year, we also offered a variety of continuing education opportunities and engaged students and postdoctoral trainees in stimulating discussions at our monthly Journal Club meetings. We tackled causal mediation analysis and models for absolute risk, explored how machine learning can be used for data science, dived into Bayesian thinking, and introduced study designs and methods for human microbiome population studies, and many other interesting topics.

As we bid farewell to 2018, we invite you to stay in contact and hope to see you at our future events. If you’re not already on our mailing list, we invite you to join by sending a note to Ruslan Nikitin, Program Manager, at CatalystBiostat@hsph.harvard.edu.

Best wishes and happy holidays from all of us at the Harvard Catalyst Biostatistics Program!