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Student Resources for the MSA

There are a number of resources available to help you successfully complete your MSA project. These include:


BIOSTATISTICAL support & Consulting for MSA Projects The Mentored Scholarly Activity (MSA) program has contracted with the Colorado Biostatistics Consortium (CBC) and the Department of Biostatistics and Informatics to develop a biostatistics consulting resource that is available to all medical students when wor​king on their MSA project. This document outlines this new resource.

Overarching goals:

  •  To assist medical students with developing statistical literacy as applied to their project.
  • Help the student develop a design and analysis framework that is doable by the medical student in consultation with their mentor and biostatistics faculty and graduate students.
  • ​Provide peer-to-peer and one-on-one feedback on the design and analysis aspects of the student’s project.

Collaborating with a biostatistician:

In instances where it becomes clear the project requires design or analysis methodology well beyond the skill set of medical student, the medical student and their faculty mentor will be referred to the Colorado Biostatistics Consortium (cbc.ucdenver.edu). The CBC will develop a scope of work with anticipated costs. It is the expectation that the faculty mentor will help the student identify mechanisms for covering the costs of implementing such a study.

Structure of the consultation:

Two hour consulting clinics will be offered approximately every 2 weeks over the academic terms. The medical student is required to register and fill out a form prior to attending any clinic (see cbc.ucdenver.edu to register). Students may attend as many clinics as they desire and are encouraged to attend many over the course of their project.  The main topics covered in each clinic are designed to be relevant to many MSA projects. 

Each clinic has two parts:

  1. A 20‐30 minute applied introduction to a statistical concept applicable to every MSA project. The first ~20 minutes of each clinic covers the topic -- the remaining time is group and individual based hands-on work with MSA students, and biostatistics faculty, and students.  
  2. A hands‐on portion dedicated to answering your specific questions.​ The Hands‐on portion is a mix of group and one‐on‐one interactions with peers and biostatistics graduate students and faculty. Questions in the hands on session do not have to align with the clinic topic.

 Examples of consulting support in the hands‐on portion of the clinics may include:

              o Review and assistance creating testable study hypotheses 

              o Choosing a study design 

              o How to calculate a sample size and create a justification 

              o Developing an analysis plan 

              o Reviewing analysis code or procedures 

              o Interpreting analysis output 

              o Review of tables and figures 

Students must register 48-hours prior to attending any clinic:

Questions? Write cbc.admin@ucdenver.edu​.


COMIRB - COMIRB approval is required for all students conducting human subjects research.  You will need to complete required training in order to submit a protocol or be added to an existing protocol.

This presentation by Warren Capell, MD, the Director of COMIRB at CU Denver, is a very helpful IRB Orientation to reference.


Health Science Library - The MSA program has a librarian assigned for each of the 5 thematic areas who can help with professional grade searches for background sections of proposals and with systematic reviews.

For Statistical Help, the Health Sciences Library has Statistical Workstation PCs for use:

1st Floor North Commons – Third Pod Group (you can ask at the Service Desk)
Four PC workstations: HSL-P27 to P30 (marked with signage)

  • Students using statistical applications have first priority. 
  • Students using VH Dissector Pro have second priority.
  • If you are not using statistics applications or VH Dissector Pro, you may be asked to relocate.

Statistical Software:  SASSPSSJMP Pro, and R with EpiTools

  • Epi Info: Suite of lightweight software tools, delivers core ad-hoc epidemiologic functionality without the complexity or expense of large, enterprise applications
  • Atlas.TI 
  • VH Dissector Pro (VH = Visible Human)
  • Cn3D: A helper application for the web from NCBI which allows you to view 3D structures
  • Microsoft Office Pro: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access
  • Web browsers: Chrome, IE, Firefox​ 


Projects Seeking Students - There are a number of longitudinal projects that seek students to take an active role.  This link will provide a brief project description as well as the contact information for either the mentor or a student working on the project.


Writing Center - The Writing Center is available to assist with your writing for your MSA proposals and with scholarly papers that may result from your MSA project.  The Writing Center is located in the HS library.


FAQ's about the MSA program 

Funding Opportunities for MSA projects 

Tips for finding and working with a mentor