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Kung-Yee LiangKung-Yee Liang, PhD

Heritage Award

President, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan

Kung-Yee Liang is an international leader in biomedical research and education. From 1982 to 2010, he was a faculty member in Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he became one of the most important and highly cited biostatisticians of his generation. Liang developed seminal theories for conditional likelihood inference, inference on the boundary of a parameter space, and estimating equations. He co-developed a widely used regression method called GEE for correlated responses from genetic, cohort, and sample survey studies, and has also made distinguished contributions in genetic epidemiology and mental health science.

Deeply dedicated to his students and teaching, many of Liang’s advisees went on to high-ranking positions in academia. He directed the Department of Biostatistics’ Graduate Program and was an outstanding mentor to junior faculty.

After serving three years as vice president of Taiwan’s National Health Research Institute, Liang was appointed president of National Yang-Ming (medical) University, where he was instrumental in educating Taiwan’s medical leadership, as a precursor to the creation of a National Health System. His Center for Health and Welfare Policy Research is now an Asian leader in evidence-based health policy.


Who were your most important mentors?
Professor Charles Rohde at JHSPH.

What did you do to relax and have fun while at JHSPH, and what do you miss most about Baltimore?
Watching and talking about sports with my colleagues; the things I miss most about Baltimore: the Orioles, Ravens, and steamed crabs.

How did your time at JHSPH influence your career?
I learned the importance of consensus building, mutual respect for each other, and of course, public health in saving people's lives.

What do you consider your most important accomplishments?
Perhaps the work with Scott Zeger on developing statistical "tools" for analyzing correlated data, which are common in public health research; also the opportunity to work with colleagues to help build the graduate program in biostatistics at Hopkins as one of the better ones in the United States.

Ten years from now, where do you hope to be and what do you hope to be doing?
By then, I will be 75 and I would hope to be with my grandkids more and to travel around the world with my wife, Yung-Kuang.

What is your advice to people who are considering a career in public health?
It would be a very rewarding career from the view point of advancing people's health and quality of life, which in many ways, is probably the ultimate.

In your experience since leaving JHSPH, what do you think makes the school unique?
The collegiality and the sense of reaching high goals through integrated and cohesive efforts.