CANSSI Saskatchewan Health Science Collaborating Centre

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CANSSI Saskatchewan Health Science (CANSSI-SKHS) Collaborating Centre, launched on April 1, 2018, is a CANSSI-designated group, initiated by the faculty members from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina. CANSSI-SKHS Collaborating Centre is comprised of researchers, investigators and trainees committed to carry out research in statistics with applications in health sciences, such as public health, clinical medicine, veterinary medicine, health services, and occupational/environmental health. The overall aim of Collaborating Centre is to stimulate and facilitate innovation by building collaborative relationships between the statistical and health sciences in Saskatchewan that engages statistical and health scientists and statistical science trainees.

Objectives of the Collaborating Centre include:

  • Promoting research collaborations between statistical science researchers and health science researchers from U of S and U of R and beyond;
  • Identifying opportunities for student placements from the health science organizations and/or local research organizations for statistics students;
  • Securing funds (either from the related health organizations or from the national and provincial funding agencies) to financially support the trainees’ research work.
  • Identifying and securing dedicated seats for CANSSI-affiliated students in local education and training events of value for the students.

Researchers at the centre lead and actively participate in a variety of projects in collaboration with researchers from health sciences for improving the health care system and new ways to prevent disease. In their academic programs, graduate students acquire expertise in a substantial selection of the following areas:

  • Computational statistics
  • Longitudinal data analysis
  • Survival analysis
  • Analysis of geocoded and spatial data
  • Bayesian modelling
  • Multivariate Data Analysis
  • Advanced Experimental Design
  • Advanced Topics in Analytic Epidemiology
  • SAS and R programming

CANSSI-SKHS Collaborating Centre will also organize two events (semi-annually) for student seminars/posters to support students to disseminate their research work, promote graduate student placements, and develop professional skills.

The CANSSI Saskatchewan Health Science Collaborating Centre is led by:

Director: Juxin Liu: Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at U of S. She will be responsible for overseeing the placements/internships and funding opportunities (at international, national, provincial, and university levels) for trainees associated with the proposed centre.

The Steering Committee also consists of the following members:
• Cindy Feng: Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at U of S. She will be responsible for organizing the workshops/seminars that promote the collaboration between health scientists and statisticians and provide training opportunities for students. Her role also includes internship placements by seeking out opportunities from her established collaborators, who are medical and public health professionals and researchers at CCHSA, College of Nursing, College of Medicine at the U of S and SHA.

• Shahedul Khan: Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at U of S. Dr. Khan will act as an intermediary among the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, School of Public Health, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and the proposed centre. He will also establish collaboration with SHA. He will supervise and train students in modeling and analyzing time-to-event and longitudinal data, and will provide computing support in R and WinBUGS.

• Nathaniel Osgood: Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the U of S and Chief Methodologist of SCPOR. Dr. Osgood will serve as the liaison for linking the proposed centre with SCPOR, and thenceforth with activities with SHA and Saskatchewan Ministry of Health (Program in Community and Connected Care). Dr. Osgood will further provide opportunities for students to attend the several annual Data Science, Big Data and Dynamic Modeling events sponsored yearly by the Computational Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics Laboratory, for which he serves as director.

• Michael Szafron: Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at U of S. Dr. Szafron will liaise between the Centre, the School of Public Health, and various public health agencies. Additionally, he will play a significant role in identifying health-related internships/work placements for our statistics students.

• Yang Zhao: Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at U of R. She will be responsible for coordinating some of the graduate courses offerings in the two statistics programs of the two universities. As a faculty member from U of R, she will also be responsible for connecting the trainees from U of R with appropriate placements at both U of S and U of R.

Besides the Steering Committee members, there are other faculty members who will be actively engaged with the proposed center. Dr. Punam Phawa, professor from the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology (U of S), has numerous collaborations with provincial and national health organizations and will provide placements for trainees. Dr. Longhai Li, professor from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, will provide training opportunities via his established collaborations with health science organizations (e.g., Global Institute of Food Security). As an awardee of a CFI (Canadian Foundation for Innovation) fund, Dr. Li will also provide high-performance computing facilities. Dr. Chris Soteros and Dr. Raj Srinivasan have complementary expertise in stochastic process modeling that is widely used in health science research (e.g. waiting time for surgeries).

Affiliated universities and organizations:

University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina

Training Program:

This graduate training is offered at both the PhD and MSc Thesis levels, in Statistics/Biostatistics either through the Mathematics and Statistics at the U of S or U of R, or the Collaborative Biostatistics Program offered in collaboration with the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, College of Medicine; the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, College of Arts and Science; and the School of Public Health at the U of S. Mathematics and Statistics at the U of S also offer four different undergraduate programs in Statistics are offered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics: BSc Honours (four year) in Statistics, BSc (four Year) Major in Statistics, Double Honours in Statistics together with another subject, and Double Honours in Mathematics and Statistics. The Centre will provide experiential learning environment to the trainees at all levels, including undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows by creating opportunities for student placements from the health science organizations and/or local research organizations, such as Canadian Centre of Health and Safety in Agriculture , Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR), and Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Contact Information:

Dr. Juxin Liu
Professor
106 Wiggins Road
Office: Room 221 McLean Hall
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5E6, Canada
Email: liu@math.usask.ca
Phone: (306) 966-6101

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