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Mentoring in biostatistics: some suggestions for reform

Authors Odueyungbo, Thabane L

Received 10 July 2012

Accepted for publication 11 September 2012

Published 15 October 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 265—272


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Adefowope Odueyungbo,1 Lehana Thabane2

1Department of Biostatistics, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, MA, 2Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, and Biostatistics Unit, Father Sean O'Sullivan Research Centre/Centre for Evaluation of Medicines, St Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, ON, Canada

Abstract: Mentoring is routinely used as a tool to facilitate acquisition of skills by new professionals in fields like medicine, nursing, surgery, and business. While mentoring has been proposed as an effective strategy for knowledge and skills transfer in biostatistics and related fields, there is still much to be done to facilitate adoption by stakeholders, including academia and employers of biostatisticians. This is especially troubling given that biostatisticians play a key role in the success or otherwise of clinical research conducted for evidence-based decisions. In this paper, we offer suggestions on how mentoring can be applied in practice to advance the statistical training of future biostatisticians. In particular, we propose steps that academic statistics departments, professional statistical societies, and statistics organizations can take to advance the mentoring of young biostatisticians. Our suggestions also cover what mentors and mentees can do to facilitate a successful mentoring relationship.

Keywords: mentoring, biostatistics, career development

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