Davis takes on leadership of CSCC

September 17, 2012
Dr. Sonia Davis

Dr. Sonia Davis

Sonia Davis, DrPH, has been appointed director of the Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center (CSCC), part of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Department of Biostatistics. A UNC biostatistics alumna, Davis is now Professor of the Practice in the department.

“We wanted [as CSCC director] a biostatistician with both a strong scholarly record and significant leadership experience in coordinating large, multicenter collaborative studies, including clinical trials and/or observational studies,” said Michael Kosorok, PhD, professor and chair of biostatistics.
The mission of the CSCC is to improve public health by coordinating important health research, developing innovative research methodology and providing practical training in the application of research methods. Established in 1971 and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the center has coordinated the activities of more than 30 multi-site clinical trials and epidemiology studies in the U.S. and other countries.
“I come to the CSCC with experience in both the pharmaceutical industry and in NIH research,” Davis said. “My experience across both areas places me in a unique position to lead the CSCC to further success in community cohort studies and also strengthen the CSCC expertise in conducting state-of-the-art clinical trials.”
Prior to coming to UNC, she spent 17 years at Quintiles Inc., most recently as senior director of biostatistics. While there, she gained expertise in clinical trial design, planning, implementation, analysis and reporting.
“I want to use my expertise in designing, implementing and analyzing rigorous clinical trials to bring important public health clinical trials to UNC and the CSCC, and also maintain and enhance state-of-the-art analytical and operational methods for clinical studies,” Davis said.
The CSCC has been at the forefront of research projects that arguably have changed the practice of medicine, including:

  • The ARIC Study, ongoing at the CSCC for about 20 years, pioneered the non-invasive imaging of atherosclerosis (ultrasound of the carotid arteries) in large cohort studies. It has provided valuable information about population trends in cardiovascular disease event rates.
  • Since the 1980s, CSCC has been a leader in electronic data capture. In collaboration with the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TrACS), the center developed the Carolina Data Acquisition and Reporting Tool (CDART), a new software application for clinical research data management.
  • The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), a multi-center epidemiologic study, began in 2006 in Hispanic/Latino populations to determine the role of acculturation in the prevalence and development of disease and to identify risk factors playing a protective or harmful role in Hispanics/Latinos. It will contribute significantly to better understanding the health issues in this rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population.

“Dr. Davis comes to us with significant experience in large collaborative studies,” Kosorok said. “She is an excellent scholar and a wonderful human being with tremendous leadership talent. She will do great things for the CSCC, the Department of Biostatistics, the Gillings School of Global Public Health and the university.”

Davis succeeds Lisa LaVange, PhD, who directed the center from 2005 to 2011.



UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Linda Kastleman, communications editor, (919) 966-8317 or linda_kastleman@unc.edu.