CTSI Training Module

New CTSI-supported online training module released for University of Minnesota research community

A new online biostatistics module, “A SMART Way to Develop Adaptive Intervention Strategies,” is now available for clinical research professionals, biostatisticians, and other faculty who wish to learn about the experimental research design called Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial (SMART).

The self-paced course was created by CTSI and David Vock, PhD, Associate Professor, Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, with the assistance of Janet Shanedling, an instructional designer who partners with CTSI.

“SMARTs are a relatively new experimental design, and there is a tremendous desire to learn more about this type of design,” said Vock, who was recently awarded a McKnight Presidential Fellowship. “Having this expertise at the University of Minnesota is unique, as it is something that is replicated at only a handful of other institutions. This course really tries to pull all the relevant information together in one place that is accessible to people with a wide range of academic backgrounds.”

Adapting interventions

The first part of the course provides an introduction to adaptive intervention strategies. Adapting interventions (or treatments) in response to patients’ evolving characteristics is routinely done in clinical practice, especially in the context of chronic or long-term diseases (e.g., cancer, diabetes, hypertension, depression, substance abuse, and obesity).

“A natural question for us is how can we better adapt interventions to produce better patient outcomes,” said Vock.

Experimental design

The second part of the course aims to introduce an experimental design—SMART—which is ideally suited to building and improving an adaptive intervention. The module, which runs 45 to 60 minutes, is presented with text, graphics, and interactive examples to help ensure understanding for researchers and clinical research professionals with a range of previous knowledge and experience with adaptive intervention and SMART studies.

Go to the University of Minnesota Training Hub at training.umn.edu, click “Course Catalog,” and search the course title to find it and enroll.