Dear Colleagues,

With this email, we begin what will be a monthly update that you will receive the first Wednesday of every month.

The purpose is to improve communication between different levels within the medical center and also within the work groups in our growing department.

Yu Shyr will be leading this continuous quality improvement project. If you have suggestions or questions to be answered in future updates, please add your comments here: CommunicateatAllLevels.

Good News

Chun Li and Bryan Shepherd are co-authors of an article that will be published in JASA.


Department of Biostatistics’ First Vice Chair

Before announcing the appointment of a new vice chair, Frank acknowledged department leadership: Jeffrey Blume, Director, Graduate Studies; Yu Shyr, Division Chief; Dan Byrne, Director, Program Evaluation and Quality Improvement and Linda Stewart, Department Administrator. In Bill Dupont’s new role appointment as Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, he will be responsible for faculty affairs including promotions. Bill is well-equipped for this role having served on the Faculty Appointments and Promotions Committee (FAPC) for six years. David Raiford, Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs supports the appointment enthusiastically.

Faculty Promotions

Chun Li’s promotion to Associate Professor with tenure has been approved by the Board of Trust. Fei Ye has been promoted from Instructor to Assistant Professor in the Basic Science Educator track. Congratulations Chun and Fei!

Staff Extra Pay

VU provided an extra-pay bonus to staff in November; criteria were an employment date of 7/1/08 or earlier for full bonus; an employment date of 1/1/09 for partial bonus, and a performance rating of 3 or higher. Thank you to all staff in the Department of Biostatistics for your hard work and dedication.

Staff and Faculty Biostatistician Retreat

JoAnn Alvarez, Dana Blakemore and Meridith Blevins are coordinating a retreat to be held on 2/19/10 at Cheekwood. Primary themes are education; morale/team building; and quality improvement/strategic planning. Faculty are providing financial sponsorship of this important event.

Supervisor Mini-Retreat

Linda is planning a supervisor mini-retreat. Please e-mail Linda with ideas/comments.

Faculty Retreat

Frank will start initial planning for a faculty retreat to brainstorm strategic planning for the department.

January Faculty Meeting

Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean, School of Medicine will hold a town hall meeting for the next faculty meeting scheduled for 1/6/10. Faculty is requested to come up with thoughtful questions related to global issues and strategy.


Faculty Biosketches

Effective 1/1/2010, a personal statement describing why/how the co-investigator is particularly suited for the role he/she is to serve on grant is a new requirement in section A of the NIH biosketch. Each statement must be tailored to that particular project. In addition, the PMCIDs for publications resulting from a Federal project must be included in the biosketch. More details can be found in the wiki page created by Sherry Stokes (


2009 Faculty/Staff Community Survey

Linda demonstrated reports using the tool (ActionPro) provided by the vendor, HR Solutions. Results are confidential and only available for work groups of five or greater. Dan Byrne, Pengcheng and Linda will review data and gather more information from department members in order to use survey data to implement improvements. The department will submit an Action Plan to the School of Medicine during December 2009. The survey is benchmarked against other organizations, health care and other. Frank serves on the Measurement committee which selected the new vendor and requested feedback for improvements. The Department of Biostatistics’ response rate (98%) is likely to be the highest in the Medical Center.


Graduate Program

The graduate program has a wiki page that was created by Diane Kolb. The program’s official start date is Fall 2010 and the proposal continues to be reviewed by various constituencies and will receive final review by the executive faculty of the School of Medicine in December, hopefully. Jeffrey Blume’s exceptional work on the proposal was commended. Robert Greevy is teaching the first “kickoff” course through the Epidemiology program, which is going remarkably well. Chris Slaughter will teach the regression modeling course in Spring 2010.

Recharge Center

Rates have been approved (unofficially) by the Office of Research and are undergoing an additional iteration. Requests for cost centers will be issued, and a proposal to request start up funds will be completed. All new grants must include the recharge line item for MS biostatisticians participating in the recharge center.Jeffrey and Linda will finalize language for a standard template to be used in grant applications.

PC/Laptop Charges to Federal Projects

The Office of Grants and Contracts Management recommends strongly that PC or laptop purchases from Federally-sponsored projects be charged to the project in direct proportion to percent effort on the project, i.e. 10% effort = 10% PC charge to Federal project.



Mike Stein, Gail Mayo, Dan Byrne, Frank Harrell and others are working on a CTSA supplemental grant that proposes a “boot camp” for research training. Biostatistics has been requested to design a 10-hour program. A certificate program is another discussion topic. There are numerous versions of virtually the same courses being taught by Biostatistics. Please consider how teaching programs can be consolidated and/or improved and send suggestions to


The department is taking action regarding e-mail concerns and it is requested that all employees experiencing difficulties call the IT Help Desk (3-HELP or 3-4357) to report e-mail problems/delays.

Discussion ensued about voice mail. Faculty and staff are requested to provide a business case, i.e. document number of business calls for one month to provide a business justification for voice mail and/or speaker phone. The department’s intention is to manage costs effectively, not to hinder productivity. It was mentioned that telephone communication is minimal for some employees as e-mail is the primary mode of communication. Please send business justification requests to Linda.


Frank Harrell, Yu Shyr, Dan Byrne and Linda Stewart

-- LindaStewart - 04 Dec 2009
Topic revision: r3 - 26 Apr 2013, JohnBock

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