At the heart of basic and clinical biomedical research is the need to carefully gather data, analyze it and interpret it in order to validate the stated objectives of a research study. Since 1985, the Biostatistics Unit has played an important role in the Northwell Health research program by providing support to investigators in the design, implementation, data management, statistical analysis, and publication of basic science and clinical research studies. This is accomplished by applying established statistical and mathematical methods to the analysis of research data, as well as developing new methods to address complex research problems.
Additionally, members of the department teach biostatistics, epidemiology, and research study design to faculty, residents, medical students, and other staff throughout the system and its affiliated medical schools. The Biostatistics Unit at the Feinstein Institute is unique in that it is one of only a handful of biostatistics departments in the US that is administratively part of a health care system that is not a medical school or university.
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The importance of biostatistical support in biomedical research is recognized by the medical community, as well as funding and regulatory agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other disease-oriented foundations. For these reasons, the Biostatistics Unit plays an essential role in the grant application process. The department’s contributions to NIH grant applications over the past several years have been an important factor in the funding of many of those grants, most notably the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) and the Advanced Centers for Intervention and Services Research (ACISR) grants.
Members of the Biostatistics Unit are routinely authors or co-authors on many scientific publications and presentations. Papers are presented by staff at a variety of scientific and statistical meetings.
Another important function of the Biostatistics Unit is teaching. Unit staff participate in numerous didactic and journal club presentations to faculty, fellows, residents, medical students and other research and clinical staff.
Martin L Lesser, PhD, manages the biostatistics unit. Dr. Lesser is also a member of the Cancer Biomarkers Study Section at the National Cancer Institute and serves on several committees of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
Dr. Lesser is also chair of the Northwell Health Institutional Review Board (IRB), which oversees the protection of all human subjects enrolled in health system research studies. Dr. Lesser’s areas of statistical interest are design and analysis of clinical trials, clinical epidemiology, longitudinal data, non-parametric and robust methods, diagnostic testing and screening, and classification problems. Much of his career has been devoted to oncology, HIV/AIDS, OB/Gyn, and cardiovascular disease.