As the Dartmouth community holds its various Class Day ceremonies virtually this year, one highlight amongst the celebrations will be the graduation of the first Master of Science (MS) degree class of the Graduate Program in Quantitative Biomedical Sciences (QBS).
The QBS program—which spans both the Geisel School of Medicine and the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced studies and draws faculty from a number of departments across Dartmouth—trains highly qualified students in bioinformatics, biostatistics, epidemiology, health data science, and medical informatics for careers in academia and industry.
The talented group of 20 graduates, who hail from across the U.S. as well as Ethiopia, Greece, Ghana, China, India, Brazil, and Canada, formed the first cohort to begin the QBS Master of Science program in August 2018—with 18 students choosing the program’s Health Data Science concentration and two students the Epidemiology concentration. A third track, Medical Informatics, will become available in fall 2020.
“I’m very excited to see this outstanding group of students reach such an important milestone for their careers and for our QBS program,” says Duane Compton, PhD, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine. “They are well-prepared to make an immediate impact in some of the most critical and rapidly expanding fields within quantitative biomedical sciences.”
A number of the graduating class are already employed in exciting positions or are going on to further study, reflecting the dual vision for the MS program as providing a stepping stone to a career in industry or government that utilizes the skills embodied in health data science and epidemiology or to more advanced (PhD or MD) study.
“This is a significant moment as we have come full circle from when the QBS MS program was first imagined—we send hearty congratulations to all of our graduates,” says QBS Director James O’Malley, PhD. “The success of the program can be attributed to a very large number of entities including the support of the Geisel and Guarini Dean’s Offices, department chairs, faculty and students, and especially the fantastic QBS administrative team of Shaniqua Jones, Krissy Giffin, and Rosemary White who inject continual enthusiasm into all things QBS.”
Former MS Director Todd MacKenzie, PhD, adds: “Five years ago the data scientists in the medical school conceived of a master’s program to meet the rapidly growing need for data scientists in society. Welcoming budding data scientists to our program, instructing, guiding and collaborating with them, and now being part of their graduation has been a very fulfilling experience for all of us.”
The QBS MS program has been designed to provide students with a rigorous foundation that will allow them to adapt their skills to a changing world—meeting challenges such as those presented by COVID-19—enabling them to reach and stay at the cutting-edge of the fields in which they work.
“There is now unprecedented need for rapid but careful discovery and curation of data, savvy statistical analysis, rigorous epidemiological modeling, innovative informatics methods, and well-articulated quantitatively sound reasoning to policy-makers,” explains O’Malley. “These are among the skills that we have tried to impart on our students in preparing them to work in the many exciting fields that span biomedicine, the health sciences, and healthcare, as well as non-medical fields.
“We sincerely hope that our first QBS MS graduates will use the training they received here at Dartmouth to fulfill their career ambitions and to make a positive difference in the world,” he says. “We wish them all the best and look forward to hearing about their future adventures.”