May 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 May meeting can be found at If you have suggestions or questions to be answered in future updates, please add your comments here: CommunicateatAllLevels.

Good News!

Frank was pleased with participation in challenge grants; Cindy may hold the record at six, with Jonathan a close second. Please update information for challenge grants (RC1s) in the wiki (

Frank reported a great visit to Harvard as part of a CTSA and health policy visit. Harvard has five CTSAs with annual funding of $40 million. The campus includes five major medical centers, all of which are performing significant research. Some of the real pluses for Vanderbilt's CTSA are scientific review committees, clinics, and strong leadership by Gordon Bernard. In addition, Vanderbilt’s single campus makes coordinating of activities much simpler than at Harvard.

The department's summer picnic is scheduled for Saturday, May 30th at Centennial Park. Lisa Kaltenbach is chair, and details are forthcoming!

The department's softball team, Ragin’ Bayesians, has been formed, with over 20 department members participating. The first practice is Friday, May 8th.


Vincent Agboto's appointment has been approved by the Office of Faculty Affairs and Career Development. Please welcome Vincent to the Department of Biostatistics as secondary faculty; his e-mail is

The following faculty members are participating in the school of medicine graduation ceremony on Friday, May 8th, 2009: Cindy Chen, Frank Harrell, Chuck Federspiel, Tatsuki Koyama, and Ayumi Shintani. Frank also will attend the university ceremony and invites others to join. Chancellor Zeppos will be the keynote speaker for graduation; on Senior Day (today, May 7th), historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin will speak at Memorial Gym.

Please check with Diane regarding the full schedule of graduation events. If you are not participating this year, please do so next year.


Faculty and staff are encouraged to document participation in department and university service activities (CQI involvement, teaching short courses, leading workshops, faculty senate, promotions and tenure committee, etc.) in their CVs. Through his role on the school of medicine executive committee, Frank has learned that department chairs weigh department service very heavily. For biostatistics, department service is an important criterion for promotion. Activities that receive payment, such as design studio expert advice, are not considered department service.


Continuous quality improvement (CQI) is open to all department members. Meetings are held the first Thursday of each month, and everyone is invited. CQI offers an opportunity to address issues of importance to you, as well as providing an invaluable service to the department ( ).


Lily submitted an internal grant application to the Diabetes Research and Training Center (DRTC) and anticipates hearing results soon. Frank commented on Lily's very good application. Jonathan is in the process of writing a summary due May 22nd, for review of his rapid-response R01 application scheduled for June 5th (a day before his wedding). We wish you the best!

Because of huge success with grants, the department will re-energize its recruitment efforts, including placing an ad in /AMSTAT News/ and advertising on the University of Florida web site. Frank urged faculty to let him know about leads and potential candidates.

Frank is reconsidering attendance at JSM due to department recruitment needs. The best results from JSM have been faculty recruits, due to relatively low attendance by MS graduates. For the department, recruitment of the latter is gearing up, targeting six new positions at biostatistician I, II, and III levels. Please use your contacts to help us recruit highly-skilled biostatisticians.

With regard to current faculty recruitment, Kim Crimins (currently at Wyeth) is visiting next week and is being considered for the PhD lead in the Emergency Department collaboration. An offer has been extended to Joshua Sampson to become a faculty member in Cancer Biostatistics. Josh is weighing two or three offers, with Vanderbilt a strong contender.

Development packages will be available for tenure-track faculty, but the department is seeking individuals who can achieve 30% to 50% external funding fairly quickly. The data coordinating center (DCC) director remains a challenging recruitment opportunity and is still open. Frank maintains contact with lead candidates and recently brainstormed ideas with Jeffrey Blume, who was assistant director of a DCC.


The administrative team has performed admirably in responding to internal audit recommendations in a timely fashion.

Based on these recommendations, the department is in the process of establishing a recharge service center that will offer significant benefits, such as less stringent effort reporting for staff, and recoupment of direct and indirect costs such as computer replacement and professional meeting expenses. Frank will meet with one of the department's long-time collaborators, Wes Ely, as well as Ayumi Shintani, to gain additional perspectives on potential benefits and drawbacks of the proposed recharge center. An executive committee meeting was held recently, and Svetlana Eden and Terri Scott represented staff biostatisticians in the discussion of establishing a new recharge service center.

Bottom line: The recharge service center is a must-do for the department!

Best regards,
CQI Communications Team

Frank Harrell, Yu Shyr, Dan Byrne, Linda Stewart, and Lynne Berry
Topic revision: r3 - 26 Apr 2013, JohnBock

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