Public Health Sciences - Services

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Penn State graduate students from the Department of Public Health Sciences attend the College of Medicine Commencement Ceremony at the Hershey Lodge on May 20, 2018. The students are pictured standing in caps and gowns, holding programs.

Department of Public Health Sciences

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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.


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PHS Services Offered Research Computing Services Tab

Research Computing

Research Computing develops and supports Information Technology solutions for the research and educational missions as well as the operational requirements of the Department of Public Health Sciences.

The unit consists of two groups of information technology professionals: a networking and systems administration group and an applications development team.

Collectively, the Research Computing teams provide 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).

Networking and Systems Administration

The network and systems administration team maintains the Department of Public Health Sciences IT infrastructure and on-site data center while also fulfilling 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 to personnel within the Clinical Research Center.

Secured Collaborative Research: The network and systems administration team supports a Citrix research environment that encapsulates and secures all collaborative research and has the ability to apply security configurations tailored to the specific requirements of a given study and data provider. In each instance, the Citrix session will be captive, meaning no data can be copied externally from electronic storage or from within a software application hosted by the secured Citrix environment. Most software packages used within the department can be published and launched through Citrix. However, the software and data displayed on the menu is based on the permissions and access level of each researcher.

Application Development

The applications development team 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 application and database development on multiple platforms and will work with groups or individuals to design and deploy a database application suitable for the customer's needs.

Services include:

  • Meeting with clients to analyze requirements for an application.
  • Designing, developing and testing high-quality software solutions.
  • Performing risk analysis and adhering to security requirements.
  • Providing training and support to end users.
  • Monitoring and tuning applications to achieve high-performing solutions.

Featured applications include:

  • Clinical Trials Application: Our custom-built Clinical Trials Application (CTA) is a secure, robust, web-based application used for clinical research studies. It is composed of multiple, customizable modules that perform specific functions related to electronic capture of participant data and biospecimens, clinical data management activities, and clinical trial management.
  • REDCap Interfacing: Our applications development team is experienced with scheduling jobs that automatically interface with the REDCap application to push or pull data to supplement REDCap functionality.

Contact Us

For more information about systems administration, contact Steve Brown at or 717-531-4246.

For more information about application development, contact Aimee Merchlinski at or 717-531-4122.