Biostatistics Resource at Nationwide Children's Hospital (BRANCH)

The Biostatistics Resource at Nationwide Children's Hospital (BRANCH) is an extension of The Ohio State University's Center for Biostatistics. BRANCH provides collaboration and assistance for grant development, data analysis, publication-ready results and statistical education. Our goal is to bolster the quality of research conducted within NCH and The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s.

About Us

Our group consists of a mix of faculty members and biostatisticians with expertise in a variety of areas including clinical trials, complex observational studies, and high-throughput statistical bioinformatics.  We are experienced in both intramural and extramural grant submissions including NIH, DOD, AHRQ, PCORI, NSF and foundation grants.  Our team will work with investigators starting from the genesis and formulation of research hypotheses to assisting with the design of the study and writing a statistical analysis plan. This also includes selecting appropriate study populations and control groups, measures of exposures and outcomes and datasets for secondary data analysis.

BRANCH members can also provide information and referrals for data management, bioinformatics, epidemiological methods, qualitative analysis, community engagement, subject recruitment and other resources within Nationwide Children's and OSU’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS).  In addition to applied biostatistical work, BRANCH members also develop new biostatistical methods inspired by collaborative work with investigators.

We offer two types of support: subsidized support (funded by The Research Institute) and charged support (funded by grant or internal funding).

Subsidized Support

Consultation: The initial consultation meeting typically lasts one hour and is always free. Biostatisticians use the initial consultation meeting to gather information from the investigators in order to develop a statistical analysis plan and a cost estimate.

Grant Application: Statistical support for all types of grant applications is free. However, the grant budget needs to include a biostatistics budget that is mutually agreed upon by the investigators and the biostatistician(s).  

Walk-in Clinic: A free two-hour walk-in clinic is offered twice a week on Nationwide Children’s campus. Each visitor will have a 30-minute slot to discuss any dataset or statistical questions related to their study. Walk-in clinic time and location for 2019 is as follows:

  • Tuesday, 12-2 pm, FB3C.4 (excluding holidays)
  • Thursday, 1-3 pm, FB3C.2 (excluding holidays)

Charged Support

Hourly Charges: BRANCH charges an hourly rate based on expertise of the biostatisticians (see below). Projects directed by Nationwide Children's trainees (e.g. fellows, residents post-docs), will be discounted by 50 percent.

  • $110/hour for staff biostatisticians
  • $140/hour for research scientists
  • $200/hour for faculty

Percent Effort on Grant:  Biostatistical support related to a grant should be captured if possible by dedicating a percent effort of the biostatistician on a grant application.  The percent effort allotted by the individual to the grant should be commensurate with the anticipated work load.  Discussions regarding reasonable effort levels should be conducted well in advance and may involve the BRANCH director.   Please see ‘Budget Recommendations’ below for general guidelines.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU):  Another mechanism for supporting biostatistics effort is to sponsor them on an MOU for an annual dedicated percent effort.  This route is suggested for groups that anticipate working with BRANCH biostatisticians on a consistent and regular basis, to ensure that rapport is built between the biostatistician and the group and to allow the biostatistician to participate in weekly meetings, journal clubs, and other activities in addition to biostatistical analyses.  Please see ‘Budget Recommendations’ below. In general we recommend an MOU of at least 20% total FTE.

Budget Recommendations

Funding should be matched to the size, scope and complexity of the data analysis and study design.  Key factors include the quality of the supplied data, the number of study variables and planned analysis, and the complexity of the statistical analysis and requisite programming needed to assemble the data and conduct the analysis (both descriptive and inferential).  In general, we recommend 10% or more total effort per faculty / staff statistician per time period on a project.  A 5% annual effort on a grant (2 hours / week) is insufficient to provide regular analytic support on a project and should only be used if needs and expectations for a biostatistician are solely consultative in nature (and this arrangement is agreeable to the biostatistician).  We reserve the right to refuse to participate on a project if we feel the funding is insufficient to ensure proper and adequate analysis of the study data.  Examples of budget recommendations for projects are given below.

  1. Large or Complex Projects: Total biostatistics FTE 50–100+% (20% or more of PhD biostatistician plus 30–100% of an MS biostatistician)

    High level of statistician involvement in the design of the study and implementation of the research project, which could include:
    1. Development and implementation of complex study designs
    2. Development or application of innovative statistical methods requiring advanced programming
    3. Assembly of datasets from large databases (administrative, survey, registries, etc.)
    4. Coordination of analyses for multi-site projects
    5. Oversight of complex clinical trials which include e.g. adaptive designs, interim data analyses 
    6. Active participation in publications, with opportunity for first authored papers
  2. Regular Projects: Total biostatistics FTE 20-50% (10–15% PhD biostatistician plus 20–40% of an MS biostatistician)

    This effort is recommended for projects that include standard statistical analyses and common study designs.  The statisticians are actively involved in the study design, data processing, statistical analysis, results dissemination and manuscript writing throughout the course of the study.  Regular participation of the statisticians in research meetings is supported at this level of effort.
  3. Limited Scope Projects: Total biostatistics FTE 10-20% (5-10% of PhD biostatistician plus 10-20% of an MS biostatistician)

    This level of effort is only recommended for projects involving straightforward or minimal statistical support.  Involvement of the PhD biostatistician is primarily consultative in nature and does not guarantee regular participation in research meetings.  Inclusion of an experienced and capable MS biostatistician at sufficient FTE is needed to ensure smooth workflows and data analysis.

Policies

Investigators are expected to agree to the following policies when they make a project request.

Authorship: Consideration of co-authorship must be given to biostatisticians who make an intellectual or scientific contribution to a publication or otherwise meets the authorship guidelines for a given journal, regardless of how the costs of biostatistics work are covered. Examples of scientific contribution from biostatisticians include but are not limited to:

  • Assistance on forming hypotheses and/or re-structuring the study questions
  • Study design including creating and maintaining the randomization scheme
  • Preparation of a statistical analysis plan
  • Data cleaning and quality check of outlying data or data errors
  • Statistical modeling and other types of analysis
  • Preparation of publication-ready tables and figures
  • Interpretation and explanation of study results
  • Writing the statistical methods section of the manuscript
  • Writing and editing the results section of the manuscript
  • Reviewing and editing the final manuscript prior to submission
  • Responding to reviewer’s comments

Timeframe: Investigators should contact BRANCH as soon as possible concerning their biostatistical needs, and as early as possible during their study timeline.  Although we will make our best effort, because we provide support to a large number of investigators we cannot promise completion by your grant or abstract deadline unless we are given adequate time.  The following minimum time frame for each type of request is suggested to guarantee the delivery of our service.

  • Intramural grant: 4 weeks
  • Extramural grant: 8 weeks
  • Abstract submission: 4 weeks
  • Manuscript submission: 8 weeks

Project Prioritization

As projects accumulate we will assign them work priorities in the following order from highest to lowest priority:

  1. Extramural grants and grant applications
  2. Intramural / pilot / seed grants and grant applications
  3. Manuscripts / abstracts related to future research projects
  4. Unfunded short term research projects

Project Request

To make a project request, visit https://redcap.nchri.org/surveys/?s=RPRH7AEXRE  or email us at biostats@nationwidechildrens.org.