Highlights of the 2023 Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design Forum

Researchers smiling for a picture

"This was one of the best implementations of a hybrid event that I have yet attended, so thanks for all the hard work!"

Uniting with the theme Advances and Challenges in Wearable Research, over 150 researchers and analytical experts registered to attend Georgia CTSA’s annual Biostatistics, Epidemiology, & Research Design (BERD) Research Forum held on November 3, 2023. The BERD Forum was a stimulating event that brought together experts and enthusiasts in the fields of biostatistics, epidemiology, and community-based research to share their latest findings and exchange ideas.

Attendees collaborated from institutions across Georgia including the CDC (GRASP, IHRC, NCHS, and NIOSH), Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, MSM, and UGA; across the country including NIH/NCATS, Colorado SPH, Duke, Georgetown, UAMS, U-M, and VCU; and across the world including Shri B. M. Patil Medical College and University of Pisa.

The Forum began with welcome remarks and BERD introduction by BERD Director John Hanfelt, PhD, Emory, and BERD Co-Director Robert Mayberry, MS, MPH, PhD, MSM. An engaging Keynote was presented by BERD Senior Biostatistician Julia Wrobel, PhD, Emory, Analysis of Wearable Device Data Using Functional Data Models.

Additional presentations included:

  • Evaluating Digital Health Interventions - Muhammed Idris, PhD, MSM
  • Moderation of Circadian Blood Pressure by Body Mass Index - Raphiel Murden, PhD, MA, Emory
  • Making Sense of Momentary Cardiovascular Health Data: The Integration of Wearable Sensors and Ecological Momentary Assessment - BERD Co-Director Allan Tate, PhD, MPH, UGA, and Jessica Knight, PhD, MPH, UGA
  • Multimodal Behavioral Monitoring of Stress, Autonomic Function, and Cardiovascular Disease Risk - Amit Shah, MD, MSCR, Emory/Georgia Tech

In addition to Q & A following each presentation, the forum closed with a dynamic Speaker Panel moderated by BERD Senior Statistician Mohamed Mubasher, MA, PhD, MSM. Responding to a post-forum survey, participants reported they would be extremely likely to recommend this event to a colleague.

Beyond fostering new collaborations during the forum, an ongoing goal of the Georgia CTSA BERD program is to provide value-added assistance to markedly improve the quality of the translational and clinical research of Georgia CTSA investigators. This is accomplished by having highly trained, service-oriented BERD personnel available to assist investigators in a timely manner. Study design, data collection, data management and development, and application of statistical methodology are all crucial elements of clinical and translational research.

The Biostatistics, Epidemiology, & Research Design (BERD) program provides comprehensive biostatistical and epidemiological support. Services include support for protocol development, statistical analysis plans, and sample size/power calculations. Research faculty are also available to solve novel innovative problems in the areas of design of experiments, clinical trials, and longitudinal cohort studies.

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Georgia CTSA is a statewide partnership between Emory, MSM, Georgia Tech, and UGA and is one of over 60 in a national consortium striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Institutes of Health's Clinical and Translational Science Awards, shares a common vision to translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train the next generation of clinical investigators.