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Center cores

From the blog

The Center for Biobehavioral Clinical Research is composed of three cores. Learn about each in the sections below.

  • Administrative

    Mary Jo Grap, Ph.D., serves as the director of this core. Her responsibilities include:

    • Overseeing and coordinating all activities of the center, including its fiscal management
    • Providing support and guidance for the implementation of center projects including coordination of access to and use of university services available to project directors
    • Implementing the plans for shared resources of the center
    • Establishing and maintaining a center website focused on resources, outcomes and outreach
    • Implementing the evaluation plan
    • Developing and initiating plans for sustainability of mature programs of research in biobehavioral science
  • Biobehavioral science

    Nancy L. McCain, D.S.N., serves as the director of this core. Her responsibilities include:

    • Expanding biobehavioral knowledge relevant to nursing science by supporting project directors and future center scientists in integrating current and evolving biobehavioral paradigms into the advancement of their programs of research
    • Integrating knowledge of complex biobehavioral factors across projects
    • Contributing to the enhanced methodological rigor of biobehavioral clinical research including:

    *Assisting project directors and other biobehavioral scientists in the exploration and development of novel or innovative biobehavioral symptom measures for expanded and new programs of research and independent investigator-initiated research

    *Providing expert consultation to interdisciplinary biobehavioral scientists outside the P30 Center of Excellence in selection, design and development of biobehavioral measurements and methods appropriate for study of symptom management, including fatigue and related symptoms in diverse populations

    • Facilitating the dissemination of biobehavioral scientific information related to fatigue and associated symptoms to various audiences, including current and emerging biobehavioral researchers, the larger scientific community, health care providers and the public
    • Providing direct service for performance of assays related to immune function and general biochemical assays and interface with the DSAC for biological and behavioral data acquisition, storage and interpretation
  • Biostatistics and Data Services

    This core is located within the School of Nursing and offers a complete line of design, analysis, data management and data entry services. BDS currently supports a variety of research and clinical data for faculty and doctoral student research.


    • Design of clinical studies: The lynchpin of any clinical study is the study design. BDS assists in the choice of optimal design, multiplicity correction, power and sample size analysis, statistical analysis plan and randomization schedules.
    • Analysis of clinical data: Missing data, repeated measures and non-randomized subjects are typical complications of clinical data. Using a variety of statistical methodology, BDS will bring meaning to the data, often creating graphical illustrations of the statistical conclusions. BDS will also assist in the creation of presentations and in the publication of study conclusions.
    • Data management:
      From form design, and question and answer formats, to the organization and dissemination of the data collection tools, to data entry and review, BDS coordinates the data collection process. We use a variety of data collection options including paper, electronic, automated data retrieval and scanning. Data files are prepared for statistical analysis and exported in a variety of formats including SAS, JMP, SPSS and MS Excel. All databases are routinely checked for validity and accuracy using established and proven protocols. In addition, all databases are backed up to an offsite location on a daily basis.
    • Data entry: Data come to BDS in a variety of formats including paper forms, TeleForm, MS Excel data files, PDA data files and other electronic data formats. All data that come to BDS are entered into the appropriate database in a timely manner, regardless of origin. Data entry is always done in the most accurate and efficient way possible with data monitoring and checking built in to ensure accuracy. All data are kept on a secure server, and all electronic devices are encrypted to ensure the safety and security of the data.


    Contact us

    BDS services are available to tenured and tenure-track School of Nursing faculty and doctoral students by arrangement though their dissertation advisor. Other faculty can access BDS services for a fee. For more information, contact R.K. Elswick at rkelswic@vcu.edu.

VCU School of Nursing
Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU School of Nursing | Sadie Heath Cabaniss Hall
Box 980567 | 1100 East Leigh Street | Richmond, Virginia 23298-0567
Phone: (804) 828-0724 | Fax: (804) 828-7743 | Email: vcu_nurse@vcu.edu

Updated: Edit Created by VCU University Relations

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