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Originally from Southern California, first-generation American, Caitline Phan, obtained her undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Kentucky in 2022. She is the first woman in her family to get a bachelor’s degree and is currently in graduate school at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health (CPH).

Caitline is enrolled in the Master of Science in Biostatistics (MSBST) program at CPH, which trains students in methodological skills that are foundational in biostatistics and to work as team scientists.

“Our program was made for students of all backgrounds, including diverse educational backgrounds,” says Caitline. “When the pandemic began, I grew an interest in public health, but with my education background in anthropology, I knew it would be a large change to pursue a degree in biostatistics.”

“After speaking with Dr. Amanda Ellis, the Director of Graduate Studies for Biostatistics at CPH, I felt confident in this program because there is an emphasis on attracting candidates from diverse backgrounds and different majors,” adds Caitline.

The MSBST program, housed in the department of biostatistics department at CPH, belongs to a group of passionate academicians working to develop and apply biostatistical methods to improve public health.

Students, staff, and faculty in this department work on many research topics including substance use disorders, injury surveillance, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular health, team science, and big data analytics.

“The Biostatistics department is simply phenomenal. Every professor wants you to succeed, and I feel truly supported in my studies,” says Caitline. “The students additionally want to work together and help one another.”

“My professors are accessible outside of class, and the department looks for opportunities for its students outside of the classroom. There is a clear focus on getting students ready for the workforce with marketable skills and real-world application,” adds Caitline.

Recognizing the current and future demand for more advanced biostatisticians, the MSBST program offers a unique mix of core and electives courses, real-world projects, experiential learning/training opportunities, and strong campus partnerships to prepare our graduates to make an impact in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the region, and beyond.

“My goal is to be a data analyst,” says Caitline. “The MSBST program places an emphasis on building skills that are in demand, such as learning to code in multiple languages and obtaining a Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) certificate. This program teaches you many foundational skills, but also how to adapt, as real-world data analysis will continue to rapidly evolve throughout our careers.”

The MSBST program launched the first cohort in Fall of 2022, which carries a certain prestige and honor for students like Caitline.

“Being a part of the first MSBST class is an honor,” says Caitline. “I know this program will continue to grow and thrive with its incredible leadership and passion from both the department and students. It has been exciting to watch the beginning of the MSBST here at UK, and I am equally excited to watch it develop.”

To learn more about our programs, people, and passion for public health, visit us at For more information about the MSBST program, visit