Strategies for Success: Early-Stage Collaborating Biostatistics Faculty in an Academic Health Center

Heidi Spratt, Erin E. Fox, Nawar Shara, Madhu Mazumdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Collaborative biostatistics faculty (CBF) are increasingly valued by academic health centers (AHCs) for their role in increasing success rates of grants and publications, and educating medical students and clinical researchers. Some AHCs have a biostatistics department that consists of only biostatisticians focused on methodological research, collaborative research, and education. Others may have a biostatistics unit within an interdisciplinary department, or statisticians recruited into clinical departments. Within each model, there is also variability in environment, influenced by the chair's background, research focus of colleagues, type of students taught, funding sources, and whether the department is in a medical school or school of public health. CBF appointments may be tenure track or nontenure, and expectations for promotion may vary greatly depending on the type of department, track, and the AHC. In this article, the authors identify strategies for developing early-stage CBFs in four domains: (1) Influence of department/environment, (2) Skills to develop, (3) Ways to increase productivity, and (4) Ways to document accomplishments. Graduating students and postdoctoral fellows should consider the first domain when choosing a faculty position. Early-stage CBFs will benefit by understanding the requirements of their environment early in their appointment and by modifying the provided progression grid with their chair and mentoring team as needed. Following this personalized grid will increase the chances of a satisfying career with appropriate recognition for academic accomplishments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-230
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Statistician
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017


  • Career choice
  • Career progression grid
  • Career satisfaction
  • Collaborative biostatistics faculty
  • Faculty promotion
  • Leadership as statistician

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • General Mathematics
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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