Good News

Dan Byrne was one of six faculty elected into the Vanderbilt Academy for Excellence in Teaching this year. The academy provides a forum to foster higher levels of participation and promote excellence and scholarship in the delivery of medical education.

Ben Saville’s paper, “Estimating covariate-adjusted log hazard ratios from multiple time intervals in clinical trials using nonparametric randomization-based ANCOVA,” will be published in a special issue of Statistics in Biopharmaceutical Research commemorating Gary G. Koch.

Frank provided a brief report on the annual CTSA meeting in Washington, DC. The meeting included several excellent statistical talks; Frank’s talk on Bayesian statistics was well received.

Dale Plummer has been promoted to manager of health information systems.



Christopher Barr has accepted a position at Harvard, so is no longer a candidate for our group.

Because of the delay in launching our graduate program, Robb Muirhead will not be joining our group. Everyone involved is disappointed that Robb’s recruitment did not work out; however, without a graduate program in place, Robb is not a good fit at this time, due to his relative lack of interest in collaborative projects.

David Afshartous, PhD, currently assistant professor in the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, has accepted a position with the department, and a start date is being finalized.

We are continuing to work on the recruitment of Wenyi Wang. Wenyi has turned down several other offers, with one additional offer (in addition to ours) still outstanding. Last week, Wenyi’s husband, Jichao Chen, made a formal visit to Vanderbilt as a candidate for a position in the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology. We are hopeful that we will be able to recruit this talented couple to Vanderbilt.

Diversity plan

Vanderbilt encourages diversity in each department, and asks that each department develop a diversity policy. To increase our diversity, we will invite a more diverse group to give Wednesday seminars.


NIH now requires all investigators to include a disclaimer statement on any publication that results from NIH-funded research. For the wording of the disclaimer, please see:

A supervisors’ retreat was held on April 14th. Frank, Yu Shyr, Ayumi, and Jeffrey all gave talks. Frank reported that each supervisee will be surveyed about his/her supervisor every two months. Frank will receive unblinded results from this survey, to use in evaluating supervisory skills; the results of this evaluation will affect performance reviews and promotions for department members who have supervisees.

We are working on developing department-specific pillars, analogous to the Vanderbilt-wide pillars. We will develop approximately 12 pillars, and then choose five to emphasize, for review by Dean Balser in two months. The pillars will reflect the department’s long-term goals.

Dan Byrne, Chun Li, Bryan Shepherd, and Bill Dupont have formed a committee to develop a publication metric for evaluating the department’s productivity in publishing papers in high-impact journals; Dean Balser has encouraged all faculty to publish in high-profile journals with wide exposure.


The launch of our graduate training program will be delayed for one year. Biostatistics faculty will continue to teach courses in other programs, and we hope to resolve all budget issues with our program this summer.

Robert Greevy is taking the lead in developing a new biostatistician IV staff position. Frank’s expectation is that candidates for this position will have excellent technical skills, but will not be interested in taking on a significant role in developing and independently collaborating on research grants. This latter criterion will be one of the primary distinctions between a biostatistician IV and an assistant in biostatistics, who is expected to work with project PIs in developing and collaborating on research grants.

The Biostatistics Collaboration Center (BCC, or recharge center) has been officially established. All new grant proposals should use the BCC mechanism; this means that only faculty members should be named on grants, with all support for staff (staff biostatisticians, systems analysts, etc.) charged through the BCC.

Best regards,
CQI Communications Team
Frank Harrell, Yu Shyr, Dan Byrne, Linda Stewart, Tatsuki Koyama, and Lynne Berry

-- JohnBock - 01 Apr 2011
Topic revision: r2 - 26 Apr 2013, JohnBock

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