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Your Environment. Your Health.

Columbia University

Superfund Research Program

Data Management Core

Project Leader: Diane Levy
Grant Number: P42ES010349
Funding Period: 2006-2017

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Project Summary (2006-2011)

Modern epidemiological research is collaborative and data intensive. Sophisticated data collection, storage and quality control techniques are available and capable of greatly enhancing the efficiency and scientific precision of such projects. However, advanced expertise in utilizing these resources does not typically fall within the skill set of the individual investigator. As a result, the engagement of proficient personnel and centralization of the data management resources, making them available to a set of investigators with similar needs, can achieve great benefits and efficiencies. In addition, if the programmers and data managers involved work in a specialized area for a period of time, they gain unique familiarity with the methods and needs of the investigators. Since April, 2001, the SBRP has benefited from the data management unit that is an integral part of Columbia University's NIEHS P30 Center. Due to the substantial workload associated with this endeavor, individual SBRP projects contributed to an expansion of the NIEHS Center data management unit. The unit has been collaborating with Drs. Ahsan, Graziano, and Gamble, as well with the Trace Metals and Biogeochemistry Laboratory Cores on a regular basis. Standard operating procedures for data entry, storage and quality control were developed. As a result of these procedures, and because data were validated as they were entered, the data cleaning effort that was required at the end of the data-entry cycle for these projects was substantially reduced. In addition, since all data were stored in one location, the process of creating required datasets for analyses was greatly expedited. Direct communication was also established between the unit and the projects' statisticians, allowing the data management unit to gain a clear understanding of the specific dataset requirements for each project. Ultimately, data quality was greatly enhanced and the time to completion from the beginning of the data-entry process through to the submission of manuscripts was substantially reduced. The extensive research activities of the other projects in this SBRP require continued support of the data management systems currently available to them. This goal can be readily accomplished by building a new SBRP Data Management Core upon the comprehensive infrastructure that has already been created for the NIEHS center. The Data Management Core includes a highly secure network, various project management software tools that have been developed by the data management unit, database storage systems, and an extensive data-entry facility. All of these resources have already been utilized by various SBRP projects and are being expanded in order to encompass the growth of the projects that are planned.

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