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Leading the Way in Collaborative Science: The Yale Center for Analytical Science

January 10, 2023
by Denise Esserman, PhD

The Yale Center for Analytical Sciences (YCAS) is leading the way in collaborative science. partnership with the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI) and the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH), we combine existing academic strengths in biostatistics, epidemiology, health economics, health policy, health services, and big data research at Yale.

Directed by Biostatistics Professor Denise Esserman and Professor of Emergency Medicine and Biostatistics James Dziura, YCAS has a staff of nearly 50 that includes research faculty, biostatisticians/statistical programmers, epidemiologists, and data managers, as well graduate and doctoral level students and post-docs. We provide expertise in the design, conduct, and analysis of health and health care studies. YCAS faculty and staff aid in the submission of close to 100 grants as principle investigators or co-investigators and publish over 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts per year.

Our shared mission with YCCI and YSPH includes collaborating with investigators on studies to improve health and advance the development of innovative analytical methods while educating and training the next generation of researchers and methodologists.

One of our primary goals is to serve as a national resource for health research methods while becoming a world leader in the development and application of innovative biostatistical, epidemiological, and health services research methods. We are achieving this objective by developing collaborative research projects throughout the university and disseminating research results through various symposia, workshops, publications, and other media.

YCAS also houses the Yale Data Coordinating Center (YDCC) which was established in collaboration with the Yale Center for Medical Informatics (part of the YCCI Informatics Core) and the Program on Aging to provide statistical and data management infrastructure for large multisite studies.

Along with YCCI, the YDCC has developed additional expertise to coordinate multisite studies conducted under Investigational Drugs and Devices (IND/IDE) authorization. Over the past year, we have initiated data management and statistical collaboration for over 20 IND studies including two phase II trials of therapeutics for the treatment of COVID-19 in an outpatient setting (Chupp, 2022).

We are also currently coordinating three large trials -- dementia care, utility of clinical decision support to initiate buprenorphine for emergency department patients with opiate use disorder, and the Autism Biomarkers Consortium for Clinical Trials. We are also participating in the NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory, which is comprised of 11 clinical trials studying nonpharmacological approaches for the management of pain and common co-occurring conditions in military and veterans’ health care systems.

In 2018, we formally established a Methods Core to develop new methodology to improve the design and analysis of clinical research projects that will assist us in becoming leaders in pragmatic clinical trials, and to engage biostatisticians at other Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Programs while enhancing the speed at which we produce and disseminate the work. We recently expanded our Methods Core in conjunction with thought leaders at other CTSAs. Assistant Professor Fan Li (PI; Esserman co-PI) received a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) methodology award. A resulting paper on designing three-level cluster randomized trials to assess treatment heterogeneity appeared in Biostatistics (2022).

Another milestone for YCAS is the observation of our 9th year assisting clinical investigators to meet the university’s policy of clinical trial registration and results reporting compliance using, a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world. We oversee the registration and results reporting process while working with a centralized compliance team. YCAS continues to offer training to YCCI investigators in the requirements of In addition to serving as the lead administrator for the Yale University account, the group serves as part of the ancillary review committee at Yale’s integrated human research protection program (HRPP).

YCAS also continues to expand our Data Management (DM) core, a key component of clinical research. This has included the development of multiple REDCap databases -- a secure web application for building and managing online surveys and tracking data manipulation and user activity – as well as various reports and analytic datasets. The DM Unit co-directors have responded to the urgent need of Investigational New Drug (IND) data system reviews and our Triage Team reviewed over 200 requests for appropriate data management needs over the past year.

Submitted by Sabrina Lacerda Naia dos Santos on January 11, 2023