The department of Biostatistics was formally organized in 1964 with the untiring efforts and leadership of Dr PSS Sundar Rao. Prior to that Dr PSS Sundar Rao (in 1955), Mr G Jesudian and Dr J Richard (in 1961) were appointed in the department of Preventive and Social Medicine. The Biostatistics department was created primarily to teach and provide statistical consultation for the medical faculty and other components of the health sciences departments. The department has become a prominent place in the newly emerging field of biostatistics, adopting rigorous academic standards and producing landmark papers, carrying out research studies, and training programs.
The department of Biostatistics at CMC is recognized as a leading department in research and practice. Members of our faculty are actively involved in both the development of statistical methodology and application of statistics in applied research. The mission of the department today is to forge advances in science that benefit human health through profound and paradigm-shifting innovations in biostatistical methodology, as well as the appropriate implementation of biostatistical methods in practice. The past decade has seen a broadening and strengthening of the faculty and a recommitment to the fundamentals of basic statistical research motivated by scientific collaboration.
Christian Medical College, Vellore is the first medical college in India offering Masters level course in Biostatistics in 1986. Demography, and Research Methodology including Epidemiological thinking to students were included from the beginning. Currently, the Master’s program is recognized by The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai. The most prominent and distinctive feature of the Master’s program in Biostatistics is the involvement of students in the journal club wherein each and every faculty imparts innovative methods that have been recently developed in peer reviewed journals and, helps the students to update their knowledge.
From the beginning till date, lecture notes and handouts are prepared and distributed liberally. Subsequently, a manual, “An introduction to Biostatistics” was produced in 1978 which soon became highly popular nationwide. The second and third editions of this Manual were brought out in 1983 and 1996 respectively. The experiences of eminent teaching faculty in Biostatistics were collected and this resulted in publishing the book “Biostatistics: Principles and Practice” with immense wealth of knowledge in the year 2010.
The department was recognized for PhD in Biostatistics (interdisciplinary) by the University of Madras from 1977 and later on transferred to The Dr MGR Medical University, Chennai in 2006. The department was also recognized for PhD in Biostatistics under the Biostatistics Resource and Training Center by the Thiruvalluvar University, Vellore from 2011. Currently 4 candidates each in both the universities have been pursuing for PhD.
The department currently continues to offer courses in Biostatistics to Medical, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. These vary in duration and content, depending on the needs of trainees in the undergraduate and postgraduate programs within the institution.
Biostatistics Resource and Training Centre (BRTC)
The untiring efforts, interest and enthusiasm of each and every faculty of Biostatistics led to the establishment of the “Biostatistics Resource and Training Center (BRTC)” in the year 1998, initially funded by International Clinical Epidemiological Network (INCLEN). BRTC aimed to train the clinical, health and research workers in Medical Research both in National and International institutions focusing on Advanced Biostatistics, Research Methodology, Epidemiology / Clinical Epidemiology, Clinical Trials and Clinical Data Management. Training programs in BRTC are conducted with qualified and experienced medical, bio-statistical faculties from National and International institutions which includes McMaster University, Canada and University of North Carolina, USA.
BRTC conducts about 12-15 training programs in a year. Some of these short courses can be listed as Fundamentals of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Multiple Linear Regression, Logistic Regression, Survival Analyses, Clinical Trials, Meta Analyses, MLM, GEE, Sample size calculation, Bootstrap technique, Bayesian Methods, SAS software, R and Clinical Data Management, etc., These courses enable each participant to individually handle research projects within their institutions without any hassles in scientific knowledge.
Clinical Data Management Centre (CDMC)
In 2007, CMC Clinical Data Management Centre (CMC-CDMC) was established in collaboration with World Health Organization CDM / TDR network to support the conduct of clinical data management for clinical trials in compliance with ICH-GCP, FDA and relevant international regulatory requirements. CMC-CDMC services includes creation of Data Management Plan (DMP), Case Report Form (CRF) development, Database Design, Electronic Data Capture (EDC), Data Validation, Query Management, Audit Trail, Data Lock and Archival. This centre has been audited by WHO and recognized for clinical data management. In 2013, with support from PATH (Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health), this centre was promoted as Advanced Centre for Clinical Data Management and Training (ACDMC) to build nation’s capacity in clinical research by providing training and facilitating infrastructure for quality data management.