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Characteristics of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design Programs in Institutions With Clinical and Translational Science Awards



To learn the size, composition, and scholarly output of biostatistics, epidemiology, and research design (BERD) units in U.S. academic health centers (AHCs).


Each year for four years, the authors surveyed all BERD units in U.S. AHCs that were members of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Consortium. In 2010, 46 BERD units were surveyed; in 2011, 55; in 2012, 60; and in 2013, 61.


Response rates to the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 surveys were 93.5%, 98.2%, 98.3%, and 86.9%, respectively. Overall, the size of BERD units ranged from 3 to 86 individuals. The median FTE in BERD units remained similar and ranged from 3.0 to 3.5 FTEs over the years. BERD units reported more availability of doctoral-level biostatisticians than doctoral-level epidemiologists. In 2011, 2012, and 2013, more than a third of BERD units provided consulting support on 101 to 200 projects. A majority of BERD units reported that between 25% and 75% (in 2011) and 31% to 70% (in 2012) of their consulting was to junior investigators. More than two-thirds of BERD units reported their contributions to the submission of 20 or more non-BERD grant or contract applications annually. Nearly half of BERD units reported 1 to 10 manuscripts submitted annually with a BERD practitioner as the first or corresponding author.


The findings regarding BERD units provide a benchmark against which to compare BERD resources and may be particularly useful for institutions planning to develop new units to support programs such as the CTSA.

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