Public Health Sciences Services
The Department of Public Health Sciences offers core services in the areas of research computing and data management, as well as collaboration and consultation in biostatistics, epidemiology and health services research, to researchers and students.
The Research Computing Section within the Department of Public Health Sciences consists of two groups of information technology professionals: an applications development group and a networking and systems administration group.
Research Computing develops and supports Information Technology solutions for the research and educational missions as well as for operational requirements of the Department and the College of Medicine.
The Research Computing Section also provides IT infrastructure and support services for the Department's Data Coordinating Center activities for large multi-center clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The network and systems administration section maintains the department’s IT Infrastructure and also has a national network role that resides within the Data Coordinating Center function of the Department.
In addition, the group provides helpdesk support to faculty and staff within the department and also to the Clinical Research Center.
The applications group designs and authors specialized, custom database-driven applications to collect clinical trial information and provide numerous services to meet the needs of a variety of clients. The group has experience in database development on Oracle, SQL, MySQL and Access platforms and will work with groups or individuals to design and deploy a database application suitable for the customer’s needs. In addition, the applications group currently maintains over eight discrete, complex web sites in support of Public Health Sciences, the College of Medicine and several clinical trials. PSUCOM Departments or personnel with specialized research project needs are encouraged to contact the Research Computing Manager for further details.
The Data Management Section within the Department of Public Health Sciences consists of a group of professionals providing expertise in the collection, processing and management of clinical research information, ensuring both data integrity and quality.
This group also works closely with Research Computing in the design, development and support of custom applications critical to the various missions of the Department.
In addition, the Data Management Section provides ongoing data management services for many clinical research projects within the College of Medicine, Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, and Penn State’s main campus at University Park. Another area of responsibility includes all data management activities as part of the DPHS Data Coordinating Center (DCC) for large multi-center clinical research networks established by the National Institutes of Health.
The Data Management Section provides the following services to clinical researchers:
- Consulting with researchers during the grant application process by developing a data management plan and identifying resources that are appropriate for the research project.
- Designing forms to facilitate the collection and tracking of data, subjects, study drugs, biological specimens, and study procedures.
- Designing database management system applications for data processing such as data entry, verification and validation of data, error identification, and data edits.
- Performing all data processing tasks such as entering data, verifying data, identifying problem data, generating queries to clinical staff, editing data, preparing data for statistical analysis, tracking subject recruitment and accrual, and tracking protocol violations.
- Planning and implementing data quality audits, including clinical center site visits.
- Training research staff in how to perform data processing tasks.
Faculty and professional staff in the Department of Public Health Sciences offer collaboration and consultation in biostatistics, epidemiology, and health services research to researchers and students. Collaboration and consultation may include, but are not limited to:
- Design and analysis strategies for research proposals.
- Sample size and power calculations for research proposals.
- Advice on the selection and implementation of appropriate statistical methods for research data.
- Statistical analysis and graphical analysis of research data.
- Statistical reviews of grant proposals, protocols, and manuscripts.
Funding is not required for grant or contract proposals where PHS personnel will be written into the proposal for future funding. To receive proper attention, requests should be received well ahead of the submission deadline.
Limited un-funded consultation is provided for medical students working on their Medical Student Research projects. Generally, a few hours is provided free of charge for MSR projects.
For further information, medical students should view the MSR guidelines.
Hands-on assistance with data analysis is generally not provided without funding.
To being the consulting process, please complete and submit the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Epidemiology, and Health Services Research Collaboration Request Form.
The information collected on this form will enable PHS to best meet your projects goals. Within two business days of receiving your Request Form, the PHS faculty or staff member handling your project will contact you to schedule an appointment.
In cases of emergency, and subject to the availability of personnel, PHS can provide limited assistance on short notice.