April update

As part of our effort to continuously improve communication within the department, we are sending this email update.

There will be a similar email each month following the faculty meeting. The agenda for the April meeting can be found at http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/FacMtg1Apr09. If you have suggestions or questions to be answered in future updates, please add your comments here: CommunicateatAllLevels.

Good News!

Dan Ayers reported that Charles Manning's grant was funded.

Mary Dietrich reported that the Southern Community Cohort supplement (Bill Blot, PI) received funding.

Ayumi Shintani reported that Pingsheng Wu's K12 will be funded. Pingsheng has received the high honor of being selected as a BIRCWH against strong competition. This will fund 75% of her time.

Frank was named national chair of the CTSA Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) work group.


Aihua Bian has been hired as a biostatistician I and will be working with Ayumi Shintani and Tebeb Gebretsadik on Alp Ikizler’s and Mike Stein's research projects.

Meredith Blevins has been hired as a biostatistician II and will be working 100% with Bryan Shepherd and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health.

We are making great progress at improving effort reporting. Be sure that you are aware of your current percent effort and monitor your time to make sure that it matches your effort. If it does not, please speak to Linda.

We need to have more people participating in the graduation ceremony. Please sign up next year if you have not participated in the past few years.

If there is someone that you supervise who has provided exceptionally high-quality service, please nominate them for a recognition and reward at https://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/dbconnect.


There was discussion of the publication poster and the issue of including the graph of publications per biostatistician in the D hallway.

A compromise was reached in which there will be two versions of the publication poster. The version in the D hallway will not include this graph.

A second version with the graph will be posted internally in our department. If you have any publications from 2008 that have not been entered into dbconnect, please enter them now and email Yanna to see if they can be included in the poster.

Please review the current version of the graph by going to dbConnect Publications Yearly Report.

There was discussion of the new phones and the lack of voice mail and ability to mute for conference calls; fortunately, potential solutions were suggested.


Please stay in close contact with your PIs and other collaborators. Be proactive and communicate to monitor effort and work. Meet with your PIs on a regular basis.

Each person in the department needs to have an active continuous quality improvement project. If you do not have a project, please review the list on the Twiki (http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/CqiProjects) and pick one. If none of these projects interest you, please pick something that you are passionate about improving that is related to department goals. There is a strong need for two people to lead the following projects: 1) poster on grants, 2) poster on teaching.

The next CQI meeting is on May 6th at 9 am in D-2221 MCN. Please attend and share your project.


Please update our department web site with work you are doing on challenge grants, at http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/CollaborationPlanGrants.

Also, please update the status of other grants and projects. It is important to know which grants should have a status of pending vs. abandoned. This is very important for us to demonstrate the need for additional funding from the dean. To view projects and update status, please go to https://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/dbconnect Projects Projects Home.

We will be submitting a CTSA administrative supplement to implement sequential monitoring of selected VICTR-sponsored studies. The following biostatisticians (among others) will be involved: Frank, Jeffrey Blume, Ben Saville, Dan Ayers, and Leena Choi. If you are interested in participating, contact Frank. The proposal is only 5 pages with a maximum budget of $300,000, consisting mostly of biostatistics personnel.


Linda provided an update on the budget. Due to extraordinary effort by faculty and staff, the deficit has been greatly reduced. Thanks for your efforts! Please continue to reduce unnecessary expenses for the next few months.

Thank you all for the hard work and professionalism that you bring to Vanderbilt. We are making extraordinary progress as a department and university.

Best regards,
CQI Communications Team
Frank Harrell, Yu Shyr, Dan Byrne, and Linda Stewart
Topic revision: r2 - 03 Jun 2009, LynneBerry

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