Skip to main content
Sign In

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 ( 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 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 listed below and designed to be relevant to many MSA projects. 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.  Questions in the hands on session do not have to align with the clinic topic. Example consulting support in the clinics includes peer review of primary and secondary hypotheses, choosing a study design, identification of needs for creating a sample size justification, developing an analysis plan, interpreting analysis output, review of results sections, and addressing reviewer comments.

Dates and Topics Fall 2015




M, 10/26


General terminology

F, 11/6


Identifying and writing a testable hypothesis.

T, 11/10


Types of studies and design considerations

M, 11/16


Tables: summary measures and confidence intervals

M, 11/30


Tables: testing and p-values

F, 12/4


Sample Size

Students must register 48-hours prior to attending any clinic at​.

Questions? Write​.

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