Once thought to be somewhat dry, statistics-related subjects have become all the rage once more to organise unprecedented amount of information in a highly-digitised world. Healthcare relies on accurate data and information for better treatments and improving future outcomes, whether on an individual or large population groups. This is what biostatistics is all about: merging statistical theories and methodology with research to pioneer new ways of improving health and reducing illness.
“Biostatistics is the discipline of data, which provides people with data-driven information to understand what’s happening in the world. There is a question, and biostatistics uses the data to answer the question. Biostatistics is a practical discipline, thus with more job opportunities,” says Dr. Jihnhee Yu, Professor of Biostatistics at the University at Buffalo. The university is among the top 1% higher education institutions in the world and ranks 31st among American public universities. Its School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP), where the study of biostatistics takes place, is ranked in the top 40 of its kind in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
“The Department of Biostatistics at the University at Buffalo has well-established graduate programmes in biostatistics, and there is an overall great environment here. The department is also a great place for faculty to pursue their research interests,” says Dr. Lili Tian, the Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies, as well as a biostatistics professor at the university. Aspiring students in the field can begin with their master’s studies at the department from one of the following options: the Master of Arts (MA) in Biostatistics, the Master of Public Health (MPH) in Biostatistics, or the Master of Science (MS) in Bioinformatics and Biostatistics.
A world of opportunities
At the core of all three programmes are hands-on, interdisciplinary approaches to theoretical and applied research projects that students will have the opportunity to be a part of. “In addition to theoretical work, the courses at University at Buffalo focuses on statistical application and research in health-related institutes and industries. This really provided me with valuable hands-on experiences for my future career,” says Chong Wang, who graduated from the MA route in 2017. Students at SPHHP work closely with faculty members and community partners, including the Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center — the first institution in the US to specifically focus on cancer research.
The school is only one of a few public health schools in the US to include health-related professions where students are exposed to different health disciplines they might encounter in their career. This helps them to envision their career trajectory within the industry, allowing students to outline their courses and research accordingly. Besides learning from a dynamic faculty, students can access the school’s facilities that include over 30 research centres and state-of-the-art laboratories. More importantly, the school provides practical training through field placements, clinical assignments, and health department internships for students to apply their statistical knowledge directly to the health sector.
“Biostatistics students not only gain a theoretical understanding of the field, but they apply what they have learned in class to practical research,” explains Darryl George, an MA graduate from the class of 2013. “The most enjoyable aspect of the programme was the profound sense of belonging in a group of like-minded, passionate people who challenge and support one another.”
Here, support is also given in the form of flexible learning options. The school’s Master of Public Health (MPH) degree can be individualized to meet your interests after gaining a solid foundational knowledge on public health through the programme. To make it easier for you to become a public health expert, you can also select the customisable Online Individualised MPH option, paired with off-campus activities that provide comprehensive training in core public health principles, advocacy, as well as planning and implementation for advancing community health.
The outcome for SPHHP graduates? A 100% job placement rate in their respective fields, thanks to the school’s strong emphasis on experiential learning and community engagement. A sustained collaboration and engagement between the students, faculty members, and the school’s immediate community members result in ground-breaking perspectives on wider health issues, preparing practitioners to solve some of the most critical health challenges encountered today.
Other than public health and biostatistics, the school offers related programmes such as the Master of Science in International Development and Global Health, Health Services Administration MPH, Environmental Health MPH, and Epidemiology MS. To know more about how you can become one of SPHHP’s illustrious alumni in global healthcare, click here.