UNMC to offer doctorate degree in biostatistics

by Elizabeth Kumru, UNMC public relations | December 12, 2011

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has approved a new doctoral program in biostatistics for the UNMC College of Public Health.

The program, which will begin next fall, is the fourth doctoral program in the College of Public Health. The other doctoral programs include:

  • Health promotion and disease prevention research;
  • Health services research, administration, and policy; and
  • Environmental health, occupational health, and toxicology.

Critical player

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Kendra Schmid, Ph.D., teaches a biostatistics course at UNMC. A Ph.D. program in biostatistics was approved Friday by the UNMC Board of Regents.
"Modern public health practice requires multidisciplinary teams of professionals. Biostatisticians are critical members of those teams," said Ayman El-Mohandes, M.B.B.Ch., M.D., M.P.H., dean of the College of Public Health. "They serve academic health centers, researchers and departments of health to ensure accurate interpretation of data related to biosciences and population health."

Biostatistics is vital to the correct design and interpretation of research, especially in human and biological sciences, Dr. El-Mohandes said. A biostatistician creates and applies methods from across the spectrum of mathematical and statistical science to support quantitative research in the health sciences.

Accurate analysis and interpretation

"After all the results are in, biostatisticians provide the research team with analysis of the data along with accurate interpretation of what it means and any inferences it might have," Dr. El-Mohandes said. "This is especially useful in clinical trials and other medical research where valid conclusions must be drawn from complex data sources."

Students interested in this program include graduates with a master's degree in biostatistics, statistics, mathematical sciences, or a related field with substantial mathematical training, computing experience and an interest in public health and biomedicine, he said.

Career opportunities

Career options for professionals with a Ph.D. in biostatistics include:

  • Government and private agencies;
  • The biomedical industry; and
  • Academic health centers.

A fifth public health doctoral program in epidemiology and two more master's programs are scheduled to come before the board for approval in 2012.

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