We need more biostatistician

I feel like Malaysia is lacking biostatistician. We do have a lot qualified biostatistician but not enough practicing biostatistician. In Malaysia, in most universities especially UKM, UM & USM, biostatistics is taught together with epidemiology. Eventhough there are similarities between epid & biostat but they are different. I am not practicing epid that much now so my knowledge on epid is disappearing. But talking about biostatistician, for medical & health research in Malaysia, we need to produce more and more biostatistician.

The issue now is whether we produce non-doctor biostatistician or doctor biostatistician? For some, they said it is a waste for medical doctor to do anything else other than medicine. Well….then Dr Mahathir is the example of major waste in the country. So do few of other leaders, oppositions alike.

I feel that medical doctor should take up biostatistic with epidemiology as elective (rather than core subjects) if they want to be a biostatistician or medical statistics. We know the lingo. We can easily understand what clients want. For non-doctors, they need to practice longer time to understand medical & health terms.

Secondly, being statistician, even though we need to learn mathematics & know the basics of everything but when talking to clients, we should speak their ‘language’ i.e. medical & health language and not statistical jargons. Just hide certain details like covariance, estimate, likelihood etc. Convert these terms to miningful meaningful terms for the clients.

Thirdly, educate the clients. Tell them when to use standard deviation and when to use standard error for example. But tell them slowly & must provide example.

Lastly, don’t print all the statistical output to them. Select relevant tables & graphs only. Guide them on how to report those findings.


  1. Noah February 5, 2009 at 10:56 am #

    Typo: meaningful

  2. Jamal Rahman February 5, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    Thanks Nik

  3. hasmanizam February 6, 2009 at 8:55 am #

    I like this template…….yg kerawang tu jiwang sgt ler…. :)

  4. Aimir February 17, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    Yup, I like this template too…

  5. cik kmar February 19, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    i am thinking to further my postgraduate study in biostatistic, but i am afraid if there is no/only a few prospects in biostatistic for me in the future. so do i have to continue my interest in biostatistic.

  6. einiel March 23, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    I have been graduate in statistics for about 5 years. Recently, i am learning biostatistic as it is very related to my work but it’s quit difficult. I have to learn and understand those medical terms and also involve in their research to. Sometimes it makes me ‘pusing kepala’. Can anybody give me some tips how to improve my learning and can be succesfull biostatistics in the future, hope so…

  7. Jamal Rahman March 23, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

    Hi Einiel….that’s why I said, it’s easier for a doctor to do biostatistics. Just gain more & more experience doing medical reseach. It will be slow but that’s how to do it.

  8. PY April 26, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    can i know that where u choose for continue study in biostatistic?
    i want to continue it but i dont know where i can continue..

  9. Jamal Rahman April 26, 2009 at 9:06 pm #

    In Malaysia, you can do Biostatistics in UKM, UM & USM. Its MPH tho’. If you have the opportunity….try asking for a place in US. Harvard for example has a good biostatistics programme. In biostatistics, self learning also extremely important.

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  11. cik kmar May 21, 2009 at 12:40 am #

    i have decided already. i am furthering my study in biostatistics this july insyaAllah. in Malaysia u can apply for this course in USM, UKM, UM. the one that i will do is in USM.

  12. Lim October 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    I plan to further biostatistic in phd in UM.
    But from the program list that i saw in UM, it not have any biostatistic course.
    So is that UM provide this course?

  13. Jamal Rahman October 17, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    Sorry Lim. I do not know about UM programme.

  14. anora October 17, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    I am quantitative students,now in my 3rd year..doing decision science.i learn a lot about statistical method in my course.i love biology anf stats very much..im thinking about being a biostatistician.can..i?or this biostatistics are only medical students.

  15. Jamal Rahman November 7, 2009 at 9:00 am #

    Nope. Biostatistician is for all. But those with medical background & experience will have huge advantage.

  16. stat_lover December 23, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    I agreed with you that in we are lacking of experiences statistician/biostatistician especially in healthcare/medical area. Just my suggestion for the freshies, if you interested in biostat, I feel that it is doesn’t matter your qualification is stat/biostaT. I am a biostatistian with zero medical backgrd. At the beginning stage, it is a bit suffer, but as long as you interested and willing to learn,nothing is impossible…

  17. Jamal Rahman December 30, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    Very true. Keep on learning & understand the situations or scenarios.

  18. Lianwee January 28, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    My company (Malaysian company at Serdang, has a laboratory at Universiti Malaya) needs a biostatistician badly. If you know anyone, introduce the person to me through my email: lianwee@hotmail.com

  19. munawwarah March 10, 2010 at 5:50 am #

    My Biostatistics professor once commented, “We need more physicians to be in public health division” simply because he’s not enjoying working with people without medical background on his team. “We need smart people to study epidemiology and biostatistics”. that inspired me to join him one day. but im still not sure how things are going on in Malaysia.

  20. Jamal Rahman March 10, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    The demand for biostatistician is a lot in Malaysia but so far only few doctors are interested.

  21. Hor May 30, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    I was graduated in University of Malaya year 2009 with Statistics degree.

    As you said, biostatistician demand is high in Malaysia but the demand is it mainly in CRC MOH? I am interested to be biostatistician but not sure where can i start for it. Any guide for it?

  22. Jamal Rahman June 1, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    Most request are at universities or MOH for researches. CRC is one of the place. Just check their website.

  23. Hor June 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    I see.. Last year saw that CRC biostatistician position entry requirement is at least master degree in statistics/mathematics/biostatistics.

    Maybe try to take a master degree in statistics soon then only consider for it.

  24. naqie July 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    hye sir…its hard to find a biostatistician nowadays.currently i am doing my thesis and i am quite confuse in data analysis section especially when it is related to statistic.may i refer to you for several questions and how can i contact you..thanx 4 ur cooperation =)

  25. munirah November 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    salam, hi !ji would like to have some opinions i have biomed degree and now working in doing data analysis . is it posible for me who have little knowledge in stats doing master in biostats? Also, my friends keep telling me that it has a very good prospect,but i am not so sure about that?

  26. maisarahkzo December 16, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    Salam,,i’m a diploma student in statistic now.I’m very interested with biostatistic subject.I plan to further study in Biostatistic in Degree, can i know which University provide this course..please..

  27. Stanley February 20, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    Hi there I’m an A Level graduate and considering biostatistics as my career in the future. It seems that biostatistics is a field which is not known by a lot of people. So are the job opportunities wide? Besides, I am also planning to take Bsc Major in Statistics and minor in biochem. Do you think this combination will help me on my lack of medical knowledge in the future?

  28. Jamal Rahman February 20, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    Hi Stanley, stat can go with any field. As long as you want numbers to support it. Job opportunity is wide but many are making money in banking sector. Some, like me, involve in research & academics. If you are talking about biostat, knowing health, biology or medicine is important advantage. So biochem is OK.

  29. Stanley February 20, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    It’s true that many of statisticians went into the banking sector. Is master degree a compulsory for me to become a biostatistician? Besides, what is the average starting salary for a biostatistician in Malaysia? How about experienced biostatistician?

  30. jump4ever August 12, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    hi,may I know if I’m taking stat with elective of biology,can I be a biostatistician?

  31. Jamal Rahman August 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Yup. Just do Master in Medical Statistics. Are you Malaysian? You can do it in HUSM.

  32. anis October 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    salam Dr..saya terjuma blog ni bila saya medical statistician,malaysia..saya lulusan medical statistics,usm 2008..skrg saya berminat utk buat phd in medical statistics or biostatistics so sy sdg mencari tajuk2 yg sesuai n mana2 lecturer/prof/mdical statisticians/biostatisticians yg blh jd supervisor saya(selain usm).yg saya tahu prof awang bulgiba n prof karu frm UM..kalau boleh saya ingin minta pandangan Dr sekiranya Dr kenal mana2 biostatisticians dr mana2 uni selain usm?terima kasih.

  33. anis October 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    salam Dr..saya terjuma blog ni bila saya medical statistician,malaysia..saya lulusan medical statistics,usm 2008..skrg saya berminat utk buat phd in medical statistics or biostatistics so sy sdg mencari tajuk2 yg sesuai n mana2 lecturer/prof/mdical statisticians/biostatisticians yg blh jd supervisor saya(selain usm).yg saya tahu prof awang bulgiba n prof karu frm UM..kalau boleh saya ingin minta pandangan Dr sekiranya Dr kenal mana2 biostatisticians dr mana2 uni selain usm?terima kasih

  34. Jamal Rahman October 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Anis, memang tak ramai biostatistician. Itu sahajalah yg saya juga kenal.

  35. elena December 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    hai,Dr can i be a biostatistician with master degree in statistic?..not with biology background.?how i can find company with biostatistician job related as from what i know there aren’t many opportunity in malaysia.?thank you.

  36. Jamal Rahman December 31, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Hi Elena, yes, there is not many opportunity working as biostatistician in Malaysia. Only research centres require such expertise and coming from non-biological or non-medical also not gonna help you. My suggestion is for you to get programming skill e.g. like SAS Programming. Get up to Level 3. If you are good, many companies might be interested. Banks are looking for such skill.

  37. azie November 16, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    i just graduated in degree of MLT and i’m very interested to pursue my master in biostatistic course soon. May I know how long it will take to finish this study in master??anyone? is it mixmode course or basically research or maybe available for coursework study?

  38. Jamal Rahman November 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Dear Azie, master in biostat is at the moment available in HUSM Kubang Kerian & if not mistaken also in UM. But I am not too sure. You need to ask the respective institution.

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