News Release

FAU awarded $1 million NIH grant for Florida Summer Institute in Biostatistics and Data Science

Institute first in southeastern U.S., one of only 10 sites nationally

Grant and Award Announcement

Florida Atlantic University

Florida  Summer Institute in Biostatistics and Data Science

image: Inaugural class of the Florida Summer Institute in Biostatistics and Data Science. Katherine Freeman, Dr.PH, principal investigator, pictured in front and center. view more 

Credit: Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine received a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to launch the first Florida Summer Institute in Biostatistics and Data Science in the Southeastern United States – and one of only 10 sites across the nation. FAU is working in collaboration with the University of Miami and Florida International University on the program, which is focused on health disparities related to cardiovascular and infectious diseases. The summer program runs annually from mid-May through June, with a new cohort for each of the five-years of funding.

The NIH Summer Institute in Biostatistics and Data Science, which is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy, offers an extensive six-week summer training experience centered on biostatistics, epidemiology and data science. The program includes relevant examples from data collected in real research studies of prevention and treatment of infectious, immune-mediated and chronic diseases. The program introduces college students and recent graduates to the principles, methodologies, uses, and applications of statistical methods in biomedical and clinical research.

Both FAU and FIU have received federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education, and UM is a leading private institution with significant diversity. The innovative Florida Summer Institute in Biostatistics and Data Science introduces rigorous quantitative careers to young adults from varied backgrounds through the combined efforts of these three ethnically diverse institutions.

“We successfully recruited students nationally from groups typically underrepresented in the biomedical sciences for our inaugural program, which ended in June,” said Katherine Freeman, Dr.PH, principal investigator, professor of biomedical science in FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine, and biostatistics collaborative core leader at FAU. “Although the curriculum encompasses basic, advanced and cutting-edge statistical and data science methods delivered in ways to engage students, it also highlights scientific communication, collaborative skills, project teamwork, social interactions and career guidance.” 

Participants in the summer program learn the principles of applied biostatistics and data science from recognized experts in the field, meet and learn from practicing biostatisticians and investigators engaged in clinical research, and gain hands-on experience working with data collected in internationally recognized studies. In addition, students benefit from a stimulating environment of education and mentoring to introduce and explore an ever-growing field that makes a positive impact on health and quality of life.

The Florida Summer Institute in Biostatistics and Data Science’s diverse leadership team and faculty have unique complementary skillsets in biostatistics, epidemiology, health economics, computational biology, AI, machine learning (ML), and big data analytics. The intensive six-week training experience is driven by research questions that highlight health disparities and social drivers of health, using current cardiovascular, COVID-19, congenital toxoplasmosis and medical marihuana databases.

“This National Institutes of Health grant, which launched the Southeastern U.S.’s first Florida Summer Institute in Biostatistics and Data Science, will help to address the critical shortage of biostatisticians and the inclusion of a pipeline of qualified young adults to grow our workforce of the future,” said Julie Pilitsis, M.D., Ph.D., dean and vice president for medical affairs, FAU Schmidt College of Medicine. “Our senior biostatistics faculty are committed to teaching, collaboration and conducting clinical and translational research. Students enrolled in the program will benefit from their expertise and gain important insight to help them achieve their career goals.”

The Florida Summer Institute in Biostatistics and Data Science will continue to recruit nationally over the next four years to enroll about 75 qualified undergraduate and early graduate students with requisite mathematics, statistics and science coursework and a budding interest in health. In addition, alumni will retain mentorships with faculty and have access to revised curriculums for five years after completion of the program.

- FAU -

About the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine:

FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine is one of approximately 156 accredited medical schools in the U.S. The college was launched in 2010, when the Florida Board of Governors made a landmark decision authorizing FAU to award the M.D. degree. After receiving approval from the Florida legislature and the governor, it became the 134th allopathic medical school in North America. With more than 70 full and part-time faculty and more than 1,300 affiliate faculty, the college matriculates 64 medical students each year and has been nationally recognized for its innovative curriculum. To further FAU’s commitment to increase much needed medical residency positions in Palm Beach County and to ensure that the region will continue to have an adequate and well-trained physician workforce, the FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine Consortium for Graduate Medical Education (GME) was formed in fall 2011 with five leading hospitals in Palm Beach County. The Consortium currently has five Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residencies including internal medicine, surgery, emergency medicine, psychiatry, and neurology. The college’s vibrant research focus areas include healthy aging, neuroscience, chronic pain management, precision medicine and machine learning. With community at the forefront, the college offers the local population a variety of evidence-based, clinical services that treat the whole person. Jointly, FAU Medicine’s Primary Care practice and the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health have been designed to provide complete health and wellness under one roof.


About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students across six campuses located along the southeast Florida coast. In recent years, the University has doubled its research expenditures and outpaced its peers in student achievement rates. Through the coexistence of access and excellence, FAU embodies an innovative model where traditional achievement gaps vanish. FAU is designated a Hispanic-serving institution, ranked as a top public university by U.S. News & World Report and a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit


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