FAQs

1. What is the difference between the Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness (PCE) and the integrated 3-Week course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics?
The Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness (PCE) is designed for physician (fellows and faculty), who desire training in the quantitative and analytic skills needed for clinical research. The seven-week program contains 17 courses. Students earn 15 credits by taking 5 courses, which includes three mandatory, core, daily morning courses in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics and afternoon electives. This program has successfully trained over 2500 clinicians over its 25 years of existence.

The integrated 3-Week course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics is aimed at the same general audience but is specifically designed for international physicians whose clinical schedules make it difficult to attend a summer long program. This single course is modeled on the mandatory, core, daily morning courses in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics required in the Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness. This 7.5 credit course meets all day for 15 sessions during the three-week period.

2. Who is eligible to take the Integrated 3-Week Course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics?
The primary audience for this course is physicians (faculty and fellows) who desire training in the basic quantitative methods that are needed for clinical research, but whose schedules limit their participation in longer certificate or degree programs. For more information about the target audience for this course see the “Who Should Apply” section of this website.

3. What is the difference between mandatory core courses in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics of the Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness and integrated 3-Week course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics?
The two Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness introductory courses in clinical biostatistics and epidemiology are directed at clinical investigators and comprise the core of that program. These courses are inter-related, present the students with exercises in “active learning,” and provide experience in many aspects of clinical research. They meet daily during a seven-week period. The introductory courses in this program are:

The Introduction to Biostatistics courses of the Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness provide a detailed introduction to the theory and application of statistical techniques that commonly are used in clinical research. Topics include probability distributions, significance testing, confidence intervals, sample size calculation and power, measures of association, chi-square tests, stratified and matched analyses, t-tests, non-parametric analyses and analysis of variance. By the end of the course, students should be able to conduct all of the basic statistical tests, recognize the assumptions behind their analyses, and interpret the results.

Lectures are supplemented by homework and computing labs to acquaint the participants with different methods for conducting analyses. The SAS statistical program is taught during classes and used to carry out analyses.

The Introduction to Clinical Epidemiology course of the Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness covers core epidemiologic concepts and study designs from the perspective of clinical research. Topics include the design and analysis of cohort, case control, randomized controlled trials and quasi experimental studies; minimization of bias; assessment of effect modification; and the identification and control of confounding. Other classes cover related topics such as test evaluation, measuring quality of life, assessing the reliability and validity of questionnaires, propensity scores, and prediction rules. One class is devoted to the writing of proposals and scientific papers.

Students use this methodology training to prepare a clinical research study proposal. Students receive feedback from senior investigators in office hours and small-group workshops, make a formal presentation of their research plan during class, and submit a final written proposal in the form of a grant application. Ideally, these proposals provide the foundation for future research projects.

The integrated 3-Week course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics is designed to cover most of the material of the core courses of the Program in Clinical Effectiveness. A syllabus and schedule for this course can be found in the “Learning Objectives” section. However, because of its shortened time schedule, the integrated June course will not cover a few of the topics studied in the Clinical Epidemiology course of the Program in Clinical Effectiveness. The integrated June course will contain fewer computer labs and will use JMP rather than SAS statistical program for its computer assignments.

The largest difference between the integrated June course and the core morning courses of the Program in Clinical Effectiveness is the amount of time spent on the development of a study protocol for a research question identified by the students. The seven-week schedule of the Program in Clinical Effectiveness provides time for students to meet on two occasions in small workshops with experienced clinical investigators to brainstorm and develop the foundation for their research proposals; to follow these with individual office hours meetings with faculty to refine their proposals; to present a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation to faculty and a subset of their fellow students; and to submit an eight-page document at the end of the summer for final evaluation.

Because of its shortened time schedule (three weeks), the integrated June course will provide each exercise but in less detail. Each student will still be required to submit a research proposal at the end of the summer on a research question chosen by the student. However, less time is available for office hours, workshops, and oral presentations to develop these proposals. Therefore, the research proposal submitted at the end of the three-week June course is not expected to be as detailed and advanced as those submitted at the end of the summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness.

4. Are there separate applications to the Program in Clinical Effectiveness and the June course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics?
Yes. These are separate programs. Please see the “Application” section.

5. What is the deadline for applications?
February 1, 2014 is the deadline for the integrated June course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

6. If I am accepted into the June course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, will I be automatically accepted into a HSPH Master’s Degree Program, if I apply in the future?
No. Acceptance to the June course in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics is no guarantee of acceptance into the HSPH degree programs. However, tuition and academic credits obtained from the June course and subsequent distance learning courses can be credited towards an HSPH degree program, if a student applies and is accepted into a degree program within five application cycles after taking the June course.

7. Is housing available for summer students?
Yes, we will have limited housing that we can offer to students on a first-come first-serve basis. More information will be available during the Spring.

8. Is there financial aid available for attending ID 207?
Financial Aid from HSPH is not available for students enrolled in the Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics course. Students are encouraged to seek institutional sponsorship, but organizational support is not a requirement. Detailed information on sponsored billing can be found on their website.

9. Are computers required? What software requirements should I expect?
It is recommended that students bring a laptop to class. Copies of PowerPoint slides will be posted on the course website prior to lectures to allow download, if desired. However, HSPH has a number of computer labs. These labs will be used for all computer sessions, and students will have access to labs after class.

Computer labs will use the JMP software package. Students enrolled in the integrated June course will be able to download a copy of this software when the course begins.

10. How much work should I expect outside of class, and what will be the nature of the assignments?
Last summer, 42.9% of the students in the integrated June course reported spending 7-12 hours per week outside of class on course activities. 35.7% reported spending more than 12 hours. Outside activities will include reading background material, completing course assignments, and working on a required study proposal.