Food and Drug Administration
Silver Spring, MD
B.S., Applied Mathematics, Norfolk State University (1993)
M.S., Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1995)
Ph.D., Biostatistics, Emory University (2000)
John is an 18-year old allergy sufferer. Jane is a 52-year old mother of three who suffers from migraine headaches. The physicians of both Jane and John prescribed medications to their patients. Are the prescribed drugs safe for John and Jane? Will John and Jane find relief from allergies and migraines, respectively?
The questions posed exemplify the daily work of scientists at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The mission of CDER is to assure that safe and effective drugs are available to the American people. This mission is accomplished as a collaborative effort between representatives from academia, industry, and government. Specifically, a company, research organization, or research group will submit a new drug application to the FDA. The applications detail the drug development process and are assigned to a FDA review team consisting of medical doctors, statisticians, chemists, toxicologists, and representatives from several other disciplines. As a statistician on the team, I evaluate the design of the studies and the statistical methodologies utilized for analysis. During my evaluation, I seek to answer many questions that may include the following: Are there sufficient numbers of persons included in the data to draw conclusions to a larger population? Are patients enrolled in the studies in such a manner as to reduce bias? Are the statistical methodologies employed appropriate for the data? The questions are answered via utilization of my analytical and communication skills in addition to frequent deliberations with other team members.
As a statistician at the FDA, I am constantly applying the knowledge and skills gained throughout my educational pursuits. I began my educational journey as an applied mathematics undergraduate at Norfolk State University, a small university in southeastern Virginia. While an undergraduate, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to intern at the National Institutes of Health where I was introduced to the field of biostatistics. I was immediately enthusiastic about a field where I could apply my mathematical skills to real-world problems in the medical and biological sciences. As a result of my interest, I decided to pursue graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Emory University. The Department of Biostatistics at Emory University provided me with the knowledge, skills, and training that I needed to pursue a successful career in biostatistics. Moreover, the department exposed me to the vast and abundant career opportunities available to biostatisticians. Upon graduation, I accepted a position as a mathematical statistician at the FDA. Although I am no longer a student, I am continuously learning new and exciting information in the statistical arena as well as the medical and public health arenas. Most importantly, I enjoy my work and feel as if my work as a statistician is making a positive contribution to the lives of many people.
Page Updated 04/1/08