Good news
  • Hank Domenico has accepted our offer as Biostatistician II and will begin work on Sept 1.
  • Hui Nian has accepted our offer as Biostatistician II and will begin work on Sept. 1.
  • Ning Chen has accepted our offer as Biostatistician II and has a tentative start date of Oct. 1.
  • Lynette Zickl turned down our offer and accepted a job at Harvard.
  • Frank mentioned that we had a good presence at JSM this year.
  • Steven Chen’s proposal has been funded.

People

Yu Shyr has been named an American Statistical Association fellow. According to the association by-laws, “each year the Committee on Fellows can elect no more than one-third of one percent of the total ASA membership as Fellows. Individuals are nominated for the honor by fellow members and must have an established reputation and made outstanding contributions in some aspect of statistical work to be selected.”

Please welcome, Michael Matheny, who joined our department as an adjunct faculty member.

http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/MichaelMatheny

Announcements

The department summer picnic/ potluck party planned for earlier this month was postponed until September given the extremely hot weather.

Service

If anyone has borrowed a book from the department library, please return until we complete an audit and reorganize.

Quality

Linda gave a report on Vanderbilt’s Export Compliance policy. When inviting a speaker from abroad or traveling internationally, make sure a knowledgeable administrative person is involved in the planning to ensure compliance. Facts to consider include the following:
  • There is a list of persons denied entry to the United States.
  • When traveling internationally, one may have to bring clean laptop / cell phones / PDAs provided by Vanderbilt. This step is required to prevent a security breach and to ensure compliance (e.g., installed software on a computer may not be licensed for use in a certain country).
  • Attention to compliance is especially important to if you are traveling to an unfriendly country. Information is available at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/exportcompliance/.

In addition, all faculty and staff must register for Vanderbilt’s “Travel Registration Program” before traveling internationally. Information and registration is available here: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/vio/

Audrey presented a report on the status of the Biostatistics Department library. Her findings included the following:

  • The majority of the library’s periodical holdings are incomplete.
  • Some books are missing.
  • The library contains obsolete manuals (e.g., "Using Microsoft Windows 97").
  • The list of the library’s journals is available online on the "ResResource" page of the Biostat Wiki: http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/ResResource.

It was noted that perhaps we should go paperless on journals available electronically and devote space to books. Some journals, however, have lags before recent issues become available online.

Linda also presented a report on travel policy.

Effective 5/1/2010, the Department of Finance requires that requests for a prepaid travel expense (e.g. airfare, registration fee) be made at least 30 days prior to the travel. This only applies to reimbursement before the travel.

Other recent changes in travel policy include the following:

  • An itemized receipt is required for any expense over $25. Below $25, a credit card statement still suffices.
  • Some department members feel per diem reimbursement would be better. Linda will check if Vanderbilt policy allows per diem reimbursement and will explore an increase in meal allowances.

The recent R conference held in Gaithersburg, MD, was a success, with about 500 participants. Frank attended, along with Diane. Our department will host the UseR conference in 2012. We plan to have the event in the spring of 2012. The conference will be held on campus and hotels within walking distance will be reserved for attendees.

Faculty and staff biostatisticians should be on the alert for investigators “shopping” for a statistician who is willing to perform a requested analysis that may be inappropriate for the study design or objectives.

Innovation

A new policy is being drafted for scientific observational research (MainObsResProc). Under the policy, we will require statistical analysis plans to be developed and documented before actual analysis takes place, to avoid “fishing expeditions.” A team consisting of Chris Slaughter, Mario Davidson, Dan Byrne, Chris Fonnesbeck, and one additional member to be named will review and finalize the policy.

Please review the following policy:

http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/ObsResProc

Consider reading the following paper: Rubin, D.B. (2007), The Design versus the Analysis of Observational Studies for Causal Effects: Parallels with the Design of Randomized Trials, Statistics in Medicine, 26, 20-36.

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

-- JohnBock - 01 Apr 2011
Topic revision: r2 - 15 Nov 2011, ColeBeck
 

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