CTRI Expands On-site
Biostatistics Services to Rady Children's Hospital
2015 | Patti Wieser
UC San Diego
Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) is now offering
biostatistics services on-site at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego—and demand
"I'm delighted we were able to
bring CTRI biostatistics services on-site at Rady Children's," said Christina
Chambers, PhD, Director of Clinical Research at UC San Diego's Department of
Pediatrics and Associate Director, CTRI Center for Clinical Research at Rady
Children's. "Biostatistics consultation is an essential tool for both fellows
and experienced investigators."
Through a collaboration between CTRI and Rady Children's, the CTRI biostatistics
team provides free consultations to Rady Children's investigators on
statistical support. This includes study design and proposal writing, study
implementation and management, statistical analysis, and publishing and
communication. Projects have ranged from reviewing outcomes data regarding a multidisciplinary
approach to treating children with feeding disorders, to evaluating BMI and other factors as
predictors of the ambulatory status of spina bifida patients at UC San Diego, to examining how patients report the
severity of their psoriasis during pregnancy and hormonal changes.
CTRI biostatistician James Proudfoot staffs the biostatistics office at Rady Children's.
"It's been busy. So far, we have 14 projects," said CTRI biostatistician
James Proudfoot, who is staffing the new biostatistics office at Rady
Children's four mornings a week. "Researchers seeking our services are those
who need help with data analysis or with putting together a proposal,
manuscript or grant."
One of these
researchers is George Chiang, MD, a pediatric urologist at Rady
Children's who consulted
with Proudfoot on the project, Ambulatory Status in Spina Bifida Patients.
to work directly with James has helped us tremendously with our clinical
research efforts looking at the influence of obesity on mobility in children
with spinal dysraphism," Chiang said, noting the benefits of having services at
Rady Children's. "Having on-site statistical expertise not only educates me and
our trainees, but it provides an opportunity for open discussion on research
methodology and output."
Chambers stressed the importance of
biostatistics support for fellows and junior investigators at the front end,
when they are designing their studies and writing research proposals. And
experienced investigators need biostatistics assistance to do power
calculations for grant proposals. "Biostatistics helps to grow the clinical
research process," she said. "The purpose of this was to be able to fulfill one-off needs such as doing a small
clinical trial or providing help with a proposal."
Chambers joined Ronghui
(Lily) Xu, CTRI Biostatistics director, and
Christine Moran, director of Research Administration at the Rady Children's
Clinical Trials Office, in developing and establishing the biostatistics
services at Rady Children's.
"We are glad to be able to provide statistical support for
the Rady Children's Hospital researchers," said Xu. "There are many unique
research questions and methodologies for the pediatric population, and we look
forward to working on those with the Rady investigators."
Biostatisticians assist investigators at every stage of the research
process to produce results that are rigorous, meaningful and easy to
communicate. Proudfoot described
statistics as a balance between efficiency and quality. Most projects, he
explained, have a sense of urgency driven by deadlines, but coupled with that
urgency is the need to ensure that the analysis is right. "All the analysis has
to be reproducible," he said.
from the dataset to the results can be tracked step by step. "Every project
starts with a dataset and aims, and I fill in the blanks. It's fun because it's
a puzzle to solve. Even tasks such as formatting data, cleaning up data and
performing quality control on the data itself are challenging," Proudfoot said.
Producing and analyzing is typically quick, but preparations take more time. When
the work is completed, the investigator can reproduce the results. "That's the
idea. Anyone can reproduce the results on a computer if they have the dataset
and the code."
ensure quality, the biostatistics team at CTRI, in addition to the project
researcher and a peer reviewer, reviews all the data analysis and proposals.
encouraged researchers to place their requests for statistics services as early
as possible to enable the necessary preparation and data reviews.
About CTRI biostatistician James Proudfoot: James Proudfoot received a
bachelor's degree in probability and statistics from UC San Diego and a
master's degree in statistics from the University of British Columbia in
Vancouver in 2012, joining CTRI's biostatistics staff the same year. He teaches
an elementary statistics course at Cuyamaca College. When he is not analyzing
data, he enjoys music, reading sci-fi and fantasy – his favorite authors are
Isaac Asimov, George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen King –
snowboarding and tennis. He plays bass in an original project and classic rock