About the Department

History of the Department

Located on the Harvard Medical Campus, the Department of Biostatistics was one of the first departments in the newly formed Harvard School of Public Health in 1922. Called the Department of Vital Statistics until 1946, it was a result of the work of Lemuel Shattuck in the last century. Shattuck founded the American Statistical Association in 1839, the oldest professional society in America; his name is preserved on a street that runs through the campus. The departmental location is central to its mission: to facilitate collaborations between the members of the Department and other medical scientists.

Now in its 93rd year, the Department is comprised of approximately 140 students, 65 faculty members, and 100 research scientists, research associates and fellows. Our size contributes to our ability to address a broad spectrum of biostatistical and public health issues.

Also see the 1997 Newsletter article on the History of the Department from the perspective of Nan Laird, Department Chair during that period.