Biostatistics and Research Awareness Network, Inc (BRAIN) is the product of a proposal submitted to the Biometrics Section of the ASA (American Statistical Society) in November 2013. The Section called for proposals “Developing The Next Generation Of Biostatisticians” which sought to fund projects that both provide an awareness of the field of biostatistics and encourage students to pursue it as a possible career choice. Although interest in the field of statistics is on the rise, the percentage of under-represented minorities (URMs) earning degrees in this field is still low. BRAIN is therefore a pipeline program designed to increase high school URM students’ awareness of and participation in biostatistics and health care/medical fields.
Biostatistics and Research Awareness Initiatives Network, Inc can be summed up as follows:
B-Biostatistics. This is the branch of statistics that involves analyzing data from health-related fields. Specifically it applies statistical methods to medical and biological problems.
R-Research. Every study should be based on sound research design. This includes ethical concerns, consideration of how many participants or subjects should be tested or observed, what variables should be included and how should they be measured, and how should the information be collected (survey, questionnaire, focus group, etc), just to name a few significant factors. Therefore, before any research is started, a biostatistician should always be consulted!
A-Awareness. Most young people (and some adults) from URM groups have little or no awareness of the applications of mathematics and statistics as career options. These applications are broad indeed and include the fields of business, marketing, economics, agriculture, education, psychology, sociology, anthropology, biology, genetics, and pharmacology. As you can see, statistics are used in virtually any field imaginable. We live in a data-driven global society so demand is high for individuals with data analysis knowledge, skills, and abilities.
I-Initiatives. According to the dictionary, initiatives is defined as “an act or strategy intended to resolve a difficulty or improve a situation.” African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives, as a group constitute nearly 25% of the US population, but these three groups account for less than 9% of nurses, 6% of physicians, and only 5% of dentists! The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has recommended increasing the number of minority health professionals who will research and eliminate persistent racial and ethnic health disparities. Thus, support for initiatives that prepare, support, and mentor students towards these goals is paramount.
N-Network. We often hear the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” and it seems self-explanatory. Yet given our inter-connected world, the necessity of the bigger village is even more critical. This village may consist of teachers, advisors, mentors, health/medical professionals and most importantly other biostatisticians.
Biostatistics and Research Awareness Initiatives Network, Inc. (the “Corporation”) is organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code. The corporation promotes safe practices in healthcare while providing educational opportunities to underrepresented minority (“URM”) students through the use of research and basic biostatistical analyses. These activities will include, but not be limited to, providing awareness in the field of statistics and biostatistics through immersion of data analysis and research by implementing statistics, biostatistics and health sciences research programs to expose URM students who possess an aptitude for mathematics and sciences to careers in the fields of statistics, biostatistics and health sciences. This also includes establishing a statistics, biostatistics and health sciences summer research program collaboration between URM students and community hospitals, motivating URM students’ interest in statistics, biostatistics and health science research. The Corporation’s goal is to (1) increase the knowledge, skills and assessments of URM students in the fields of statistics, biostatistics and health sciences, (2) increase the number of URM students entering the field of statistics, biostatistics and health sciences by engaging URM students in scientific research projects with hospital clinicians, accessing and collecting data, using statistical software for data analyses, and mentoring by statisticians, biostatisticians and health care professionals, and (3) encourage URM students to pursue careers in statistics, biostatistics and health care as well as STEM fields.