Multidisciplinary Training Grant
The Interdisciplinary Training for Biostatisticians Program, funded through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences representing several institutes at the National Institutes of Health, is designed for students entering the Boston University Biostatistics PhD program at the post-bachelor level. The purpose of the program is to integrate traditional courses in statistical theory, study design, and applied statistical analysis with practical experiences gained through internships working with investigators in the biological sciences. The ultimate goal is to provide students with a breadth of education and experience as practicing biostatisticians. The training award provides funding for all coursework in the PhD doctoral program up to 64 credits. Students who are accepted into the Biostatistics Training Program receive a full education in biostatistics as well as exposure to the biological sciences and the practice of biostatistics in the biomedical sciences.
2010–11 Training Grant students
I think the real advantage of the training grant program is that you can really focus on your coursework, while not getting distracted by other part-time obligations. Not only does it enable you to accelerate your time spent on coursework, but it also allows you to concentrate on your classes and absorb all the materials learned in each class. In addition, as many other former trainees have mentioned, the opportunity to explore different areas where biostatistics are applied is an invaluable experience as well and gives you the flexibility to think about where you want to pursue your career. So far, I have enjoyed my experience being a part of the program and I look forward to my next two rotations in genetics and bioinformatics.
The biggest benefit of the training grant is that it gives you an opportunity to work in areas that you never would have gotten to otherwise. While research assistantships limit you to working in whatever area your supervisor is in, the training grant allows you to gain experience in statistical genetics, bioinformatics, clinical trials, and/or observational studies. It also gives you a great opportunity to take on more of a course load so that you can get through your classes more quickly.
Being a recipient of the training grant is an honor. It has given me an opportunity to complete almost all required coursework in 2 years. While I have completed one rotation out of the required four, I can already tell that the experience I have gained is one of a kind. Even though I am primarily interested in the field of clinical trials, I am appreciate the opportunity to be exposed to other fields that I probably would not have had otherwise.
My experience with the training grant has been extremely positive. I am enjoying the opportunity of learning many different tracks of biostatistics, and meeting and working with new colleagues. My previous career experience was in providing family services at a community center and evaluating program outcomes. The rotations are helping me to explore my research interests, and are offering an easier transition into a new career direction. I believe by the end of this training period, I will have a more solid foundation to participate effectively in research activities.