The Biostatistics Epidemiology Summer Training Diversity Program (BEST) was established to expand and diversify the behavioral and biomedical sciences’ workforce by introducing undergraduates from underrepresented populations to biostatistics and cardiovascular and pulmonary disease research. Students representing racial and ethnic minority groups, disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with disabilities join the Department of Biostatistics at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health’s for eight weeks of research, training, academic and career planning, and social activities around New York City.

Following the success of the seven-student, 4-week pilot in 2008, BEST received a five-year grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to expand the program to host 14 students for eight weeks each summer. All participants will receive a $2800 stipend as well as some funds to offset costs of food and travel to and from New York City. Students living outside of the NYC area have the option for free housing.

Program Components

Participants undertake an individualized research project with a Columbia University faculty mentor, including a project symposium at the program’s conclusion.

Other components of the program include:

  • Course work in Introductory Biostatistics and Statistical Computing 

  • A seminar series presented by Mailman School faculty and administrators

  • Graduate school admissions counseling

  • Training in research conduct and ethics

  • Training in skills essential for graduate school success

  • Social activities

The BEST Diversity Program is funded by a grant from NIH/NHLBI 5R25HL096260-12, the Office of the Dean, and the Department of Biostatistics at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.