The Department of Biostatistics at Christian Medical College, Vellore was established in 1964, the first of its kind in India. Since then, it has been actively involved in teaching and research activities. This is the only medical school in India that runs a Master’s level Biostatistics Program. The program trains four graduates every year and is recognized for conducting a Ph D program in Biostatistics from 1972. The Biostatistics Resource and Training Center (BRTC) was started in this department in 1998, with funding from INCLEN and later on from USAID as part of an Infectious Disease Initiative. The department runs a series of biostatistics workshops for INCLEN network members, and also a short course in Biostatistics for five weeks, dealing with various topics in biostatistics and epidemiology for researchers and faculty from Indian medical colleges.

The department established capacity to handle data management for multi-center studies from 1999, as well as analysis and report writing. BRTC has managed four multi-center studies in India and the data management / analysis aspects of a multi-country study. It is currently staffed by nearly 20 personnel, that include two Professors and three teaching staff (Reader / Lecturer) and two with Masters in Computer Applications, five biostatisticians who are Associate Research Officers and five data-entry personnel. The others are support staff.

Current departmental research includes, Methods of Evaluation of Primary Health Centers, Patterns of Health Expenditure, Socioeconomic and Demographic Correlates of Medical Care, Utilization and Health Behavior, Population dynamics, Studies on Protein Energy Malnutrition with special reference to growth development and morbidity pattern in children and Longitudinal studies on Growth Development of Indian Children During Adolescence.

The Department of Biostatistics has established expertise in developing data entry systems, verification and report preparation. Software is developed by the department for local applications; using Visual Basic / Visual FoxPro as front end with Access or Visual Foxpro as back end is used for data entry. The department hence undertakes data management for research projects in other departments in the institution and for agencies outside the institution.