Two Pills Podcast: Increase Your Confidence (interval) Teaching Biostatistics!
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Happy fall y’all! Two Pills Podcast is back from summer break and better than ever!



Can you increase your confidence (intervals) in teaching biostatistics?! 


Oh, biostatistics. A subject that strikes fear into anyone studying for an exam that contains them, someone presenting a journal club, or even analyzing your own data for research. Today, I am going to be describing a systematic approach to biostatistics that may help you in teaching the content and help your students with application. 


Healthcare professionals are required to continuously update their knowledge; therefore, our students need the skills for life-long learning, as well as an appreciation for the scientific method. Biostatistics is the “basic science” of quantitative evaluation of evidence and students will need to require evidence for methods of: prevention, diagnosis, and therapy/management in the treatment of medical conditions. Students need to know how to interpret diagnostic procedures and apply them to individual patients. Students need to develop the skills to read the medical literature with confidence in their ability to evaluate the validity of articles. 


Often, students are taught biostatistics in a lecture-based format. When I was taught biostats in professional school, I think I had last seen statistics in high school during AP statistics. As we’ll discuss, repetition is key for understanding and applying biostatistics. After they initially learn about biostatistics, their first presentations on statistical analysis may be in the high-pressure environment of a journal club. I think we have all seen the spectrum of confidence that students have when presenting statistics in a journal club.  


I first became interested in augmenting my teaching of biostatistics in an interprofessional setting. I was working with a medical residency and they wanted to increase the structure of their journal club/biostatistics curriculum. The milestones that I attempted to address were: 

PBLI -1: Locates, appraises, and assimilates evidence from scientific studies related to the patients’ health problems  

Level 1: Describes basic concepts in clinical epidemiology, biostatistics, and clinical reasoning Categorizes the design of a research study  

Level 2: Identifies pros and cons of various study designs, associated types of bias, and patient-centered outcomes Formulates a searchable question from a clinical question Evaluates evidence-based point-of-care resources  

Level 3: Applies a set of critical appraisal criteria to different types of research, including synopses of original research findings, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and clinical practice guidelines Critically evaluates information from others, including colleagues, experts, and pharmaceutical representatives, as well as patient-delivered information  

Level 4: Incorporates principles of evidence-based care and information mastery into clinical practice 

Level 5: Independently teaches and assesses evidence based medicine and information mastery techniques 


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