About the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology (DBE)
The Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology (DBE) was created in 1994. Its primary objectives are to provide: 1) an academic home for biostatisticians and non-clinician epidemiologists and 2) an academic structure to support primary research in biostatistics and epidemiology.
Together, the DBE and Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB) provide consultation on issues of study design and statistical analysis within UPHS; facilitate collaborative research involving clinicians, biostatisticians, and non-clinician epidemiologists; and provide training in biostatistics and epidemiology. Now consisting of more than 500 individuals, the CCEB and DBE are the primary home for epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Structure & Leadership
- Harold I. Feldman, MD, MSCE, is Interim Chair, DBE
- J. Richard Landis, PhD, is Vice Chair, DBE; Director, Biostatistics Division
- Stephen Kimmel, MD, MSCE, is Interim Vice Chair, DBE; Acting Director, Epidemiology Division
Faculty with appointments in the DBE may have primary appointments, secondary appointments, or adjunct appointments.
Numerous biostatisticians and non-clinician epidemiologists hold primary appointments in the DBE. Faculty with primary appointments who are primarily independent investigators and/or methodologists have appointments in the tenure track. Those who are primarily collaborative researchers have appointments in the clinician-educator track.
Clinician epidemiologists generally hold secondary appointments in the DBE while maintaining primary appointments in clinical departments.
Those with adjunct appointments have a primary affiliation with another academic institution or in private industry. Biostatisticians, clinician epidemiologists, and non-clinician epidemiologists may hold adjunct appointments.
The mission of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is to be an international leader in the academic fields of biostatistics and epidemiology and to collaborate with biomedical researchers throughout the University of Pennsylvania.
Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in populations, while biostatistics is concerned with the development and evaluation of methods for estimation and making inferences about target populations using data from appropriate samples of those populations. These two disciplines are the basic sciences underlying much of public health and preventive medicine. Epidemiologists investigate the frequency, outcome, prognosis, etiology, treatment, and prevention of disease. The field of epidemiology focuses on the measurement and translation of risk for the general public in order to promote, protect, and restore health. The breadth of biostatistics includes the development of statistical theory and methods and their application to the biological and clinical sciences, including assessing the magnitude, reliability, validity and precision of associations, typically between exposures and disease. Biostatistics plays a crucial role in the research process, from inception of the research plan through the analysis and publication of the study results.
The objectives of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine are to provide a primary home for biostatisticians and non-clinician epidemiologists, provide an academic structure designed to support primary research in biostatistics and epidemiology, and work with the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Graduate Group in Epidemiology and Biostatistics to provide undergraduate and graduate-level training in epidemiology and biostatistics.
The Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology works closely with the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics to accomplish the objectives identified above. Both entities have been structured to enhance each other's missions. The strategies to be used by the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology to accomplish its objectives are to:
- conduct primary research in the fields of biostatistics and epidemiology;
- conduct applied epidemiologic studies;
- participate as collaborative researchers with investigators from other basic science and clinical departments within the School of Medicine, including collaboration on grant-funded research initiated by investigators from other departments;
- provide input to other investigators in the preparation of grant proposals, including study design, feasibility, sample size requirements, and preparation of the statistical analysis and data management sections of the proposal;
- support the School of Medicine's education program by teaching epidemiology and biostatistics to medical students;
- teach clinical research methods and biostatistics courses for the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics' master's-level training program and non-degree programs in epidemiology;
- provide leadership for the Graduate Group in Epidemiology and Biostatistics' doctoral-level training programs in biostatistics and epidemiology