UTMB Campus Photo II

Biostatistics Track




Americans die sooner, are unhealthier, and have poorer quality of life than those in other high-income countries. The profession of public health continually strives to improve the health of communities and populations by preventing infectious and chronic disease, promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors, protecting against environmental hazards, preventing injuries, responding to disasters and assisting communities in recovery, and assuring the quality and accessibility of health services. In fact, the Bureau of Labor statistics projects that the workforce will add 15.6 million public health jobs by 2022.

Public Health Program

The Public Health Program at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) is fully accredited since 2002 by the national accrediting body, the Council for Education on Public Health (CEPH).  Our department investigates the interplay of individual biological and behavioral factors with aspects of the physical, social, and policy environments in both clinical and community settings.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Public Health Program at the UTMB is to contribute to the protection and promotion of health in human populations by:

  • Preparing students to practice skillful and evidence-based preventive medicine and public health;
  • Conducting and communicating research that informs the diverse fields within public health; and
  • Providing interdisciplinary expertise in the service of academic, professional, and community-based public health organizations.

Goals Statement

Our established values, goals and objectives guide us in our efforts to accomplish our stated mission. We have developed broad goals and measurable objectives for the program and for each of its major functions: instruction, research, and service, as well as workforce development, resources and administration, and diversity.

MPH -  Biostatistics Track

The Public Health Program provides MPH students with the knowledge, skills, and values needed to succeed in careers in federal, state, and local government; hospitals and healthcare systems; and nonprofit or non-governmental organizations. We offer a one-year accelerated program for students who qualify. This includes students with at least two years of full-time, post-baccalaureate, health-related work experience or dual-degree students (e.g., MD-MPH, PhD-MPH). 

We offer small class sizes, very low faculty-to-student ratios (1:3), and the ability to tailor the degree plan to meet individual student interests and career goals. The program integrates preventive medicine and community health throughout the curriculum with integrated classroom- and community-learning. 

As of Summer 2017, 144 graduates have earned the MPH degree. The instructional and related educational activities of the Public Health Program are supervised by the Graduate Program Director for the Public Health Program (Cara Pennel, DrPH, MPH).  The coordination of the Public Health Program with other PMCH graduate programs and curricular tracks is directed by the Vice Chair for Education (Kristen Peek, PhD). 

This track of the public health program provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in quantitatively oriented careers that bridge medicine and public health. Graduates earn the Master of Public Health (MPH) Degree. While the program is designed to be completed in two years, it can also be completed as an accelerated 1-year MPH. (UTMB Medical students complete the public health degree as part of a five-year MD-MPH dual degree program. Graduate students working towards the Ph.D. may integrate public health training into their doctoral studies to complete the PhD-MPH dual degree program.)

The mission of the Biostatistics track in the MPH program at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is to train our students to be leaders in contributing to the protection and promotion of health in human populations. This is done by: 1) preparing students to practice skillful and evidence-based preventive medicine and public health; 2) developing students’ skills in analyzing relevant public health data, and in interpreting published statistical analyses of these data; 3) providing interdisciplinary expertise in the service of academic, professional, and community-based public health organizations.

Biostatistical tools are widely applied in the practice of Public Health; they are used, for example, in quantifying the effects of interventions, conducting analyses of both primary and secondary data, translating and communicating results of analyses to broad audiences, and designing valid statistical hypotheses and study designs.

Graduates of the Biostatistics will have a skill set attractive to local, state and federal government, non-profits organizations, academic research, and the pharmaceutical industry.

Specific Areas of Strength

Health services research is a multidisciplinary field that uses administrative and observational data to examine population-based patterns in health care delivery, with particular focus on utilization, cost, and the outcomes of care. Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) translation to Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) seeks to identify the right treatment, for the right patient, in the right setting. Health Informatics is the use of healthcare information in cultivating better inter-provider collaboration in patient care. The knowledge gleaned is also used in informing healthcare reform. Both fields are highly interdisciplinary, and includes aspects of information technology, biostatistics, and medicine. Both survival analysis and multilevel analysis are widely used in this field. To address selection bias in CER/PCOR, analytical methods such as natural experimental design, propensity scores, instrumental variables, and sensitivity analysis are used. Students choosing to focus on health services research will learn how health and biomedical data are collected and processed into health information and knowledge and how they are applied to support clinical decision making. Our faculty has extensive experience analyzing a variety of data types, such as large survey data, Medicare, Medicaid, commercial insurance data, disease registry data and Electronic Medical Record data. Further, they have been involved in using such data to help guide public policy, investigate readmission rates, and examine how health care utilization varies or is influenced by factors such as ethnicity, income, education and marital status. Our faculty has received substantial federal funding in this area.

Faculty Interaction:

Our small class sizes allow for one-on-one interaction with faculty, and the possibility for students to work with faculty directly on biostatistical research and consulting projects. As Galveston is a small city, the department is well integrated into the local community, giving opportunities for highly relevant public health practicums in the MPH.





Steps for Graduation




Other Resources

The Office of Biostatistics (OBIOS) http://pmch.utmb.edu/clinics-services/biostatistics-statistical-consulting
The Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) Key Resource http://www.its.utmb.edu/resources/comparative_effectiveness_research.html
The Institute of Translational Science Biomedical Informatics Program http://www.its.utmb.edu/resources/biomedical_informatics/index.html
The Discovery and Innovative through Visual Analytic Laboratory (DIVA)http://www.skbhavnani.com/DIVA/contact.html

Yong-Fang Kuo, PhD  Yong-Fang Kuo, Ph.D.  
Director, Office of Biostatistics
Email: yokuo@utmb.edu
Phone: 409-772-5276

Briley, Richard  Richard Briley, M.Ed.
Admin Education Coordinator
Email: rlbriley@utmb.edu
Phone: 409-772-6635

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