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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

WashU Opens StatLab

Public health students who are nervous around numbers are getting help from the StatLab, a pilot  project at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.


Jenine Harris

[Photo:  Dr. Kimberly Johnson (left) and Dr. Jenine Harris]

The new program helps students master the numeric skills that are vital to the development of evidence-based research and practice. Conceived by faculty members Dr. Kimberly Johnson and Dr. Jenine Harris, who teach epidemiology and biostatistics courses at the Brown School, the StatLab pairs students with second-year peers who have an expertise in statistics. They meet in the StatLab for help with homework and guidance on using computer software.

The one-year pilot program began on September 1, and Dr. Johnson says early feedback from students has been encouraging.

“They think it’s a really great thing to have,” she said. “It’s providing them with extra support so we can increase the rigor of our classes.”

Dr. Johnson said the Lab is good for students who need a boost in statistics, but it also can benefit students who are already good with numbers and who would like tips to get even better.  “And it’s really going to benefit the tutors,” she said, because explaining statistical concepts will strengthen their own understanding of them.

Ultimately, she said, the Lab will give students a better grasp of statistical skills that are “critical” to the public health and social work professions.