Message from the Interim Chair

Message from the Interim Chair

The Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM), founded in 1765, was the first medical school in the United States, and the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics is one of its youngest departments, established in 1994. We have grown tremendously since then and have recently added an already-thriving Division of Informatics to the original divisions of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, which continue to produce groundbreaking findings and new methodologies across a broad range of biomedical research and across all three disciplines.

Biostatistics is the development and application of statistical methods to understand biological phenomena, including human health and disease. Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and causes of health and disease in populations. Biomedical and health informatics applies principles of computer and information science to the advancement of public health, life sciences research, education of health professions, and patient care.

These three complementary disciplines all focus on quantifiable relationships among biomedical phenomena; these relationships can be used to identify predictors and causes of those phenomena and to find interventions that mitigate their negative effects. The underlying principle of these disciplines is that rigorous evaluation of the causes, treatment and prevention of disease is essential to improving the human condition. 

As the primary faculty for quantitative methods and biomedical data science in the PSOM; we advance state-of-the-art methodological research and collaborate with clinical and basic scientists across the School, as well as in other Schools of the University, who have interests in population science and statistical, informatics and epidemiologic methods for clinical and public health research. We are closely allied with the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB), which includes members with shared interests both internal and external to Penn. Our faculty also lead multiple Centers of Excellence within the CCEB.

Our educational offerings include PhD and master’s programs in biostatistics and PhD programs in epidemiology, administered through the Graduate Group in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, as well as a master’s program in clinical epidemiology, administered through the CCEB. Our faculty also offer a certificate program in clinical research that focuses on the basic skills needed to design, conduct and analyze clinical studies.  You can find more information about these programs in the Education section of this website.

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To understand health and disease today, we need new thinking and novel science —the kind  we create when multiple disciplines work together from the ground up. That is why this department has put forward a bold vision in population-health science: a single academic home for biostatistics, epidemiology and informatics. MORE

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