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Epidemiology and Biostatistics of Aging Training Grant (NIA-T32)

Director: Karen Bandeen-Roche
Co-Director: Thomas Glass
Associate Directors: Michelle Carlson, Paulo Chaves, Dani FallinRavi VaradhanQian-Li Xue

Sponsoring Agency: National Institute on Aging

Given the substantial health-related issues of an aging population, it is a national imperative that we determine how to prevent or delay the morbidity and disability currently associated with aging. Such a goal will be met through leading-edge research conducted by multidisciplinary teams trained to evaluate the multidimensional factors that affect health and quality of life for older adults. Essential leaders and members of such teams include quantitative public health scientists and professionals; their expertise is key in the design, conduct and analysis of the population-based studies that can determine the causes of adverse health outcomes and successful preventive approaches. Specific training and expertise in the gerontologic content and methodology for prevention in older populations is needed to help meet these goals.

The Epidemiology and Biostatistics of Aging training program offers such training in the methodology and conduct of significant clinical and population-based research in older adults and the special expertise in gerontologic issues essential to this. Training in a program which includes numerous investigators actively involved in multidisciplinary research can provide experience in the successful conduct of the collaborative work essential in studies of health in older adults and the mentoring that leads to career dedication to these issues. The specific mission of this training grant is to prepare epidemiologists and biostatisticians who will be both leaders and essential members of the multidisciplinary research needed to define models of healthy, productive aging and the prevention and interventions that will accomplish this.

The EBA training grant has as its aims:

  1. Train pre- and post-doctoral fellows by providing a structured program consisting of a) course work, b) seminars and working groups, c) practica, d) directed multidisciplinary collaborative experience through a training program research project, and e) directed research.
  2. Ensure hands-on participation in multidisciplinary research bringing trainees together with infrastructure, mentors, and resources, thus developing essential skills and experience for launching their research careers.
  3. Provide in-depth knowledge in established areas of concentration, including a) the epidemiology and course of late-life disability, b) the epidemiology of chronic diseases common to older persons, c) cognition, d) social epidemiology, e) the molecular, epidemiological and statistical genetics of aging, f) measurement and analysis of complex gerontological outcomes (e.g, frailty), and g) analysis of longitudinal and survival data.
  4. Expand the areas of emphasis to which trainees are exposed by developing new training opportunities in: a) clinical trials; b) causal inference; c) screening and prevention; and d) frailty and the integration of longitudinal physiologic investigation into epidemiology.
  5. Integrate epidemiology and biostatistics training to form a seamless, synthesized approach whose result is greater than the sum of its parts, to best prepare trainees to tackle aging-related research questions.

These aims are designed to provide the fields of geriatrics and gerontology with biostatisticians who have an appreciation for and understanding of the public health and scientific issues in human aging, and who have the experience collaborating across disciplines that is essential to high quality research on aging.

Current Biostatistics fellows include:

  • Emily Huang
  • Jenna Krall
  • John Muschelli
  • Sarah Salter
  • Therri Usher

To find out more about the training program, please visit our website. You may also contact our program administrator, Brian Buta, at bbuta@jhmi.edu or 410-502-3412.