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Archived E-Newsletters

Spring 2015

In Memoriam

Frank Hurley, 1944-2015​

Frank HurleyIn January we were stunned by the loss of our great benefactor, Frank Hurley.  Together with his wife, Kit, Frank endowed the Department Chair and has been a continual source of friendship and counsel.

For more information on the life and work of Frank Hurley and how to donate gifts, please visit the Frank Hurley Memorial Site: [Link Here]

Department News

Honoring 50 Years: Charles Rohde

Charles Rohde 50th Year SymposiumOn April 18, 2015 the Biostatistics Department hosted a symposium to celebrate Dr. Charles Rohde's Fiftieth Anniversary as a faculty member in the Department

​On April 18, 2015 the Biostatistics Department hosted a symposium to celebrate Dr. Charles Rohde's fiftieth anniversary as a faculty member in the Department.  Dr. Rohde received his PhD degree from North Carolina State University in 1964, was appointed as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department thereafter, and has served as a faculty member in the Biostatistics Department since the following year.  He led the Department as its Chair between 1981 and 1996, establishing a departmental culture and making a series of hires that shaped the Department into one of the leading Biostatistics programs in the country.

Dr. Rohde has played a major role in the Department's and School's education programs throughout his career.  He has supervised many MPH, Master and PhD students, a number of whom have become leaders in biostatistics and public health.  He continues to direct students and to teach in the Department.  In research, he has advanced knowledge and practice on generalized linear models and likelihood analysis and theory, most recently publishing a Springer volume, "Introductory Statistical Inference with the Likelihood Function" (2014).

The symposium, entitled "Charles Rohde: Cultivating Generations of Leaders in Academic Biostatistics and Public Health," featured alumni, faculty and former faculty who exemplify the role of Dr. Rohde's outstanding mentorship in producing generations of leaders in academic biostatistics and public health.  It was held on the campus of Johns Hopkins Medical  Institutions.

Support Biostatistics

Initiative Launched to Honor Former Faculty

The Ross-Royall Initiative has been established to support the next generation of scholarship and training continuing in the line of these luminary faculty.  A Centennial Symposium will kick it off.

We all were saddened by the loss of Alan Ross in 2013, but, thanks to alumni generosity, a compelling legacy in support of the Department's future has arisen:  The Ross-Royall Initiative on Population-based Inference in Public Health.  This exciting initiative aims to sustain a critical mass of faculty, students, and post-doctoral fellows who will advance the next generation of scholarship in the tradition of luminary former faculty members Alan Ross and Richard Royall.  IT will do this by providing funding for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows pursuing research to characterize, monitor and improve health on a population scale, facilitate the recruitment and early support of junior faculty with these interests, and support pilot research providing proof of concept evidence to leverage subsequent major grant funding.

A major symposium to kick off the initiative is being planned to occur in early 2016, coinciding with the School's upcoming Centennial -- Inaugural Ross Royall Symposium: From Individuals to Populations.  The Symposium will engage leading researchers from around the world whose recent work exemplifies the fascinating challenges the current day is presenting for population-based inferences -- how to develop these from electronic health records or internet data; how to "transport" inferences from clinical trials that frequently exclude key subgroups (say, older adults) to make estimates of treatment effectiveness in these subgroups; inferences from internet polling; implications for the long-standing debate on sampling-based versus model-based inference.  We hope that many of you will join us: Keep an eye out for more information to come shortly!

​The Department is grateful for the outstanding start our generous alumni have given the Ross-Royall Initiative and Fund, with the base of $200,000 already established.  We also are grateful to our Steering group who have been working hard to vision and plan for hte initiative: Dennis Dixon, Jay Herson, Tom Louis, Chuck Rohde, Liz Stuart and Michael Rosenblum together with Karen Bandeen-Roche. Whether by your thoughts or by a contribution, please join with us to further our exciting initiative: With tightening government funds available for research and training, funds like this initiative will provide to worthy faculty, students, and fellows are more crucial than ever.

Faculty Spotlight

Peng, Leek Engage in NAS Discourse

Biostatistics Faculty members Roger Peng and Jeff Leek recently have been engaged by National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in its outreach on reproducible research, highlighting their long-term leadership in this area.

Biostatistics faculty members Roger Peng and Jeff Leek recently have been engaged by National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in its outreach on reproducible research, highlighting their long-term leadership in this area.  On February 27, they participated in an NAS panel on the topic.  The panel, co-organized by Roger Peng, brought together statisticians from a broad array of perspectives to propose and discuss new approaches to moving the cause of reproducibility foward.  It addressed many angles ranging from statistical methodology to academic and national policy.

Earlier this month, Drs. Leek and Peng published an opinion peice on the topic in the organization's premier journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  In that piece Leek and Peng write that "Reproducibility -- the ability to recompute results -- and replicability -- the chances other experimenters will achieve a consistent result -- are two foundational characteristics of successful scientific research... Yet, of late, there has been a crisis of confidence among researchers worried about the rate at which studies are either reproducible or replicable."  They go on to argue that efforts to provide for reproducibility and replicability on a study-by-study are insufficient and, rather, a preventative approach grounded in data analysis education and the provision of supportive software tools is needed.  Learn more by reading the full text of their thoughts: [LINK HERE].

From the Magazine

Personalizing Health Care Through Big Data

Ask Biostatistician Scott Zeger about the revolutionary changes he sees on the horizon for medicine, and the first thing he does is rewind to the 1600s.

For the full story on 'Personalizing Health Care Through Big Data', written by Jim Duffy, please visit the Johns Hopkins Magazine site in the Spring 2015 issue: [LINK HERE].