NESR Systematic Review Biostatistician Job Description
Panum Group, LLC
Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion (CNPP)
United States Department of Agriculture
Nutrition Evidence Systematic Review (NESR)
What is the Nutrition Evidence Systematic Review?
Nutrition Evidence Systematic Review (NESR) (https://nesr.usda.gov/) is housed within the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP). The NESR team collaborates with stakeholders and leading scientists to conduct food- and nutrition-related systematic reviews that answer important public health-related questions relevant to Federal policy and programs, including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Questions addressed by the NESR team primarily focus on prevention (rather than treatment), necessitating objective review, evaluation, and synthesis of both epidemiological and intervention research to answer the research question. NESR is a team of scientists who have expertise in systematic review methods and technology. Team members hold advanced degrees in subjects like nutrition, public health, epidemiology, and library science. NESR has extensive training and experience conducting systematic reviews of food and nutrition-related public health research, but are looking to expand our processes to include meta-analyses.
The primary responsibility of the NESR Systematic Review Biostatistician is to guide and support the planning and execution of meta-analyses on topics related to diet-health. The NESR Biostatistician will be responsible for developing and updating meta-analytic methods and quantitative procedures to be used in conjunction with existing NESR systematic reviews methods. The Biostatistician will support the NESR team and expert groups or stakeholders by developing, executing, and documenting analytic plans to conduct meta-analyses on diet and health, or related topics. This Biostatistician will also serve as a biostatistical resource for interpreting analyses and findings presented in nutrition literature included in NESR systematic reviews.
The NESR Biostatistician:
- Serves as the Biostatistician supporting the NESR team and expert groups or stakeholders by developing and executing analytic plans to conduct meta-analyses on diet and health, or related topics.
- Works closely with the NESR team to develop and maintain rigorous, current meta-analysis methods and procedures.
- Supports the NESR team in determining when meta-analyses are appropriate, develop meta-analysis protocols, which include an analytic framework, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and an analytic plan.
- Assists the NESR team in conducting meta-analyses of evidence on diet and health, or related topics and present results appropriately.
- Maintains detailed documentation of the analyses to ensure reproducibility, transparency, and accessibility of the meta-analysis.
Desired skills and expertise needed include the following:
- Meta-analysis expertise: Developing meta-analysis protocols and conducting meta-analyses primarily in Stata and R. Understand and guide statistically appropriate decisions regarding data preparation and management, data analysis, and data visualization. Analytic techniques include but are not limited to fixed and random effects models, moderator analysis, analog to the ANOVA, and meta-analytic regression.
- Background in diet, health, or related topics (e.g., some experience working with health and nutrition data; experience with intervention and observational data preferred).
- Working in a team: Ability to work both collaboratively and independently within a research team conducting systematic reviews with meta-analyses on research topics, supporting publishing efforts, and showcasing bio-statistical expertise and knowledge.
- Documentation: In order to ensure that NESR analyses plans are transparent and reproducible, all steps of the meta-analyses are documented, and as required, are prepared for posting on NESR’s website. The Biostatistician documents the final analysis plan including the statistical code, and works with NESR analysts to document inclusion and exclusion criteria, and the results. The NESR Biostatistician should have familiarly with best practices in documenting and reporting of meta-analyses, such as Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) standards for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
- Software/Technical Expertise: Skilled in using Stata and R, or other statistical software.
- NESR Interest Groups: Participates in NESR and CNPP interest groups, which explore topics relevant to conducting meta-analyses on food-and nutrition-related topics, attending meetings and contributing to the process.
- CNPP Collaboration: The NESR biostatistician may also have opportunities to collaborate with the Nutrition and Economic Analysis team within CNPP.
- Training & Professional Development: Stays current with research and systematic review and meta-analyses trends and tools. Attends training webinars and tutorials when possible on advancing methods for performing meta-analyses, use of software (e.g. Stata, R) and research methods. Provides team training, as required.
- Continuous Quality Advancement: Keep up to date on the most current methods and meta-analytic techniques being used in the literature and by others in the field and recommend enhancements in meta-analysis procedures.
- A minimum of a Master’s Degree in Biostatistical Sciences, or related field
- Advanced skills and at least, three years of experience conducting research and meta-analyses of observational data required
- Experience working on both short-and long-term systematic review and meta-analyses projects and being involved in the entire life-cycle of a project, preferred
- Experience collaborating and working as part of team
- Strong communication skills, both verbal and written, including record of publication
- Excellent knowledge and skills working in Stata and R
- Excellent organizational skills and ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously
- Experience operating in a fast-paced, deadline-oriented environment