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Biostatistical and Research Design Consultation

Biostatistical ConsultationWhat Can We Do For You?

Faculty members in Biostatistics and Epidemiology provide assistance for health science researchers. We support proposal development, study design, data form or questionnaire development, data management, statistical analysis, and report preparation. We are actively involved in research projects ranging from brief consultations to long-term collaborative research.

Any studies using statistical analysis, especially those using the ICTS Data Warehouse and/or involving health economics, may use our services.

We also support comparative effectiveness research (CER). Adjusting for selection bias is key when conducting CER. We have developed new methods to do just that. This new approach for developing instrumental variables, based on zip code-level practice patterns in prescription drug use, performs better than prior instrumental variables.

Our large administrative databases and the ability to link these data to clinical data from electronic medical records offers new opportunities to compare the effectiveness of alternative therapies in practice settings.

We offer researchers free assistance with grant preparation when the Biostatistics Core will be included on the grant. An hourly fee is charged for all services except for consulting related to grant proposal development (as described below). Clinical Research Unit approved protocols and other projects approved by the Director of the ICTS may also be supported cost-free.

Schedule an Appointment

Contact us to set up a consultation (see contact information at right).

Professor MM. Bridget Zimmerman. Bridget Zimmerman, a full-time faculty member, directs the Biostatistis Consulting Center and is Associate Director of the ICTS Biostatistics Core. Graduate students in Biostatistics support her work and may also provide consulting services.

Subject to their availability, Department of Biostatistics faculty members can serve as consultants to BCC staff and to all faculty members, staff, and students of the health science colleges.

Kathryn ChalonerKathryn Chaloner, PhD Professor and Head, Department of Biostatistics, directs BRCD. She has been actively involved in the design and analysis of clinical studies for 20 years and brings particular expertise in study design, use of Bayesian methods, and establishing biostatical core resources. Dr. Chaloner provides backup for Professor Zimmerman.

Elizabeth Chrischilles, PhD is Pomerantz Professor of Epidemiology and our CER expert. She is especially skilled in the use of electronic Betsy Chrischillesmedical records and large national administrative databases with expertise in pharmacoepidemiology, complex patients, and cancer. She is the PI for Iowa CERT, PI for Iowa DEcIDE, and Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Associate Director for Population Science.

 We give priority to Translational Biomedicine Trainees regarding grant preparation assistance when the Biostatistics Core will be included on the grant. Limited time is allocated for these free consultations every week, so please plan ahead when scheduling your consulting appointments.


Consulting fees for statistical consulting services provided by Dr. Zimmerman, or another faculty member, are $100 per hour. Statistical consulting work provided by Biostatistics graduate students under the supervision of Professor Zimmerman is $60 per hour. Long term student consulting services are charged at the following rates:
20 hours a week = $3,200 a month
10 hours a week = $1,600 a month

Priorities and Guidelines

  • Translational Biomedicine Trainees receive priority regarding free consultation for grant preparation. Trainees are expected to include support for the Biostatistics Core in their K-award budgets (and coordinate with Professor Joe Cavanaugh). K awards generally do not provide faculty salary, but biostatistics faculty support can be budgeted as hourly fees in the supply budget or as a biostatistics graduate research assistant. (The BCC has a mechanism and rates for charging in place).
  • Senior researchers writing grant proposals are the next in line to receive free consultation, as long as Biostatistics faculty and/or students are written into their budgets if they are funded (which can occur as percentage salary support or hourly charges).
  • Senior researchers must pay on an hourly basis for assistance writing grant proposals if Biostatistics support by the Core is not included in the budget of the grant proposal. NOTE: If Biostatistical support is not being written into the grant, then we require notice of at least 30 days, and preferably 60 days, prior to the grant submission deadline. These deadlines are subject to change.
  • We will provide guidelines for support from grants either as a) a percentage effort for Biostatistics Core faculty or, b) hourly charges.
  • Help with manuscript preparation and revision is provided for free as long as a Biostatistician ICTS member is a co-author. Co-authorship is expected for contributions to the paper and affiliation with ICTS acknowledged.
  • Short (about one hour) consultations on methods for publications are charged on an hourly basis.