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Title: Face-to-Face: Educating Our Colleagues

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MaryBanach - 16 Nov 2011 - 14:50

We might want to share small film clips of our work at the Face-to-Face Meeting and upload them to CTSpedia. I worked with Rogers Hall, when he was at Berkeley, taping professional education workshops for HIV clinicians. We would present small snippets (2 or 3 minutes) of Mark Holodniy\x92s workshops at professional meetings, then talk for 4-5 minutes about our tape, and finally open the floor to discussion. Rogers is now at Vanderbilt. I know that the has filmed some of Frank and Dan Bryne\x92s work. A workshop with Vanderbilt\x92s Studio, Laurel Beckett\x92s Tuesday workshops, Peter Bacchetti\x92s work with biostatistics consultants. etc could provide a nice forum to discuss what works well and not so well in our consultations. Using your university\x92s filming equipment and uploading it to You Tube or sending it to me, we could put together a nice presentation.

LaBeckett - 9 Nov 2011

Bill Brown was like a cross between Mr. Rogers and Perry Mason. He would ask these penetrating questions, and suddenly the whole problem would unfold before one's eyes, just like the climactic courtroom scenes. But his demeanor was gentle and kind, and everyone from the most timid young fellow to the most arrogant endowed professor regarded him with a kind of loving awe.

We have a weekly drop-in workshop for biostatistics help. It would be presumptuous to say I try to model myself on Bill, who was my advisor and mentor, but perhaps it's safe to say we compare ourselves to the guys on "Car Talk" on NPR. We diagnose problems, help folks to understand, and send them along to the shop for the actual repairs. We have quite a strong following now amongst the mouse-and-rat folks, and a branch office out at the primate center and center for comparative medicine. As Frank notes, the graduate students and post docs are especially keen to learn more, and quite a few of them have become interested in R and taken or audited a stat course (not typically required for their basic science doctoral programs for some weird reason.) They are also quite happy to learn about better experimental design, because they are always short of funds, resources, and time.

Sometimes the reviews of grants and papers give helpful feedback on the need for better deasign and analysis, but other times you just have to shake your head in wonder. We helped one grad student with analysis of a study with multiple sequential measurements in a sort of crossover study. She submitted paper and got a review that said, in effect, "I don't know why you did this repeated measures analysis, that is wrong, you should just calculate all the means and report them." Huh?? Then there was the one that said that log transformation was sort of Satan's spawn, hiding interactions, and that logs had nothing to do with multiplicative relationships. Clearly there is an ongoing need for remedial education out there. Laurel

Judith Goldberg - 9 Nov 2011

I have been following this conversation with great interest. We have found that the best motivator for any basic/translational scientist to work with us is a failed grant application and/or manuscript rejection. Some of these scientists have become important long term collaborators and have learned from their failures. Our efforts to provide guidance and input into grant resubmissions and manuscript revisions have resulted in valued long term collaborations.


ChrisLindsell - 8 Nov 2011

Great strategy, and one that I fully endorse. It is a slow culture change though and, as you state, relies on resources being made available. We are having some successes here, and I am ever more frequently asked how successful clinical research departments got that way, and what biostats had to do with it. That is now being followed with fiscal (and other) resources and requests for help. I am curious how you handle the situation with the more senior PIs; who are adamant they need no help, particularly those in the more basic science focused departments? I have found that the clinical research departments are very receptive, but the less removed from people the research becomes the less the investigators are willing to collaborate and the more they want a service.


Phlip Lavori - 8 Nov 2011

Chris - One positive step that has worked for many of us at Stanford is to volunteer as mentors for our faculty colleagues and trainees in other Med School departments. That involvement tends to inoculate us against the worst of the problems you and others have discussed. Once physicians discover how pleasant it is to explain their science to an attentive, unbiased audience, they don't wait until they have a specific problem to solve. But the environment (including fiscal arrangements) has to be conducive to this involvement. That's the job of leadership. We have to press for supported time for our faculty and senior staff to engage with their clinical colleagues as mentors, rather than relying on fee-for-service. The name for people who provide 'service' is 'servant'. phil

DiscussionBERDForm edit

Title Face-to-Face: Educating Our Colleagues
Description - Problem to be explored I love this idea - the robust discussions we have been having really show that there is a need for educating our clinical colleagues about how to interpret our product. I sometimes wonder if we spend too much time teaching researchers and clinicians how to do a t-test in every piece of software imaginable, but fail to challenge them to think about how to make sense of what the results mean. I can't count the number of times I have had PIs show up in my office with reams of statistical output asking me to point them to the p-value that counts. In essence, we focus too much time on doing rather than thinking. The planned breakouts on education should be a great place to discuss causes, consequences and solutions. Do you have suggestions on a focus if this were to form a theme in a didactic or the keynote address? Chris
Contributor/Email ChrisLindsell
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Topic revision: 09 May 2013, MaryBanach
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