Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Clinical Effectiveness Award

Rebecca Bell, MD

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to participate in the Program in Clinical Effectiveness (PCE) at the Harvard School of Public Health this past summer. The program is designed for clinicians who have completed residency and are interested in developing the analytical skills necessary for clinical research. All participants take courses in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and then two elective courses. I chose to take Decision Analysis as well as the follow-up course, Methods in Decision Making based on a project idea I had developed during residency.

Having no background in clinical research myself, I found the courses to be extremely practical and useful. The Biostatistics course includes training in SAS programming. The Epidemiology course is geared towards guiding each student through the development of an epi-based research project with scheduled meetings with mentors and other students to present project ideas. The Decision Analysis classes were very practical as well with the first course covering theory and the second course covering the use of TreeAge software with an individual project presentation at the end. By the end of the Decision Analysis courses I had a running model that I am hoping to refine over the course of my fellowship. Faculty involved in all the courses are approachable and are dedicated to mentoring students through the process of developing and implementing a research idea.

Those who would benefit most from this course are faculty or fellows about to enter their research years. The course is very much geared towards busy clinicians who have a very specific project idea in mind but need the analytical content review and mentorship that PCE provides. The program is an excellent stand-alone experience and students can expect a productive summer. In addition, those who are interested may consider pursuing a full MPH with the summer program counting towards the degree.

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